HITS Daily Double


Rihanna’s ANTI at last appeared on Tidal Wednesday night (1/27), following a very odd rollout that included numerous false starts and at least one apparently accidental leak. This followed on the heels of the first official single from the set, “Work,” which zoomed at retail and radio. iTunes debuted the album on 1/29; it's currently #1 on the leaderboard.

A 16-track deluxe physical version is expected (though its release date is TBA); as with the iTunes deluxe version (not the 13-song standard, which was given away to Samsung users and first streamed on Tidal), it boasts new tracks "Goodnight Gotham," "Pose" and a consummation devoutly to be wished titled "Sex With Me."

Tidals homepage is all Rihanna, all the time, promoting ANTI and the single “Work” plus her videos and catalog. The 1/27 leak of Ri’s eighth studio album is clearly targeted at the audience that has yet to sample Jay Z’s fledgling streaming service.

Late at night on 1/27, Rihanna tweeted a download code to her 55m followers on Twitter that includes a 60-day free trial for Tidal. Samsung, with which she has a $30m deal, was involved in the setup of the promotion. Riri subsequently tweeted that the album had been downloaded 1m times in 15 hours.

The one track from the album available at iTunes, “Work” featuring Drake, immediately went to #1 on the overall singles chart in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France and more than 80 other markets.

The strategy here, was clearly to drive traffic at Tidal where “Work” first appeared hours prior to Apple, but its chart impact may be negligible. The first-day streams and the “Work” sales in the week ending 1/28 will count toward the 1/29-2/4 sales week for ANTI. Album sales are not counted until an album has a price tag and at least four tracks from the album have been released. Still, leading handicappers are forecasting first-week sales below those of her previous albums.

Rihanna has been promoting the new album since November with a Samsung-exclusive AntiDiary app and more recently flipped a coin in an ad for CBS that cross-promotes the Grammys, where it is likely she will be performing, and the Super Bowl. Otherwise, there were no pre-release significant hits to drive its retail bow.

Prior singles, including "American Oxygen" and “Bitch Better Have My Money,” are not among the 13 tracks on ANTI , though a 16-track deluxe edition could include those. Details on a physical release have not been announced, though insiders expect it will be released prior to Valentine’s Day weekend.