The Beyonce Impact: Artists Who’ve Dropped Surprise Albums

Bad Bunny‘s been a hectic bunny.

The Puerto Rican super star born Benito Martínez shocked fans on Nov. 27 when he launched a brand-new album, El Último Trip del Mundo, entirely out of the blue.

While launching three albums in one year is an accomplishment of superhuman creative strength, the practice of dropping them with zero promo is nothing brand-new.

However, though Queen Bey made the surprise drop a thing, you may be surprised to understand that she wasn’t the first one to do it.

Take a look at the history of the surprise album below, from its rock roots to its rap and pop present.

Getty Images; E! Illustration

XL Recordings

Radiohead, In Rainbows

The English rock band’s seventh studio album, announced on their blog site just 10 days before its October 2007 release, not only pioneered the surprise drop, it likewise started a “pay-what-you-want” sales design. Fans could pre-order a download of the LP for any cost they wanted– including ₤ 0.

The Null Corporation

Nine Inch Nails, Ghosts I-IV

Following an ugly severing of ties with Interscope Records, Trent Reznor‘s industrial rock band released this album individually– and totally free– on their main website in March2008 The only prior caution fans received was a post from Reznor that read “2 weeks!” The practically completely instrumental album was launched under an Innovative Commons license, which enabled listeners to legally edit and remix the material however they ‘d like.

The Null Corporation

9 Inch Nails, The Slip

Two months after the release of Ghosts I-IV, Reznor and Co. repeated the whole process with the surprise drop of this album. This time around, nevertheless, a single was released the day after the frontman’s “2 weeks!” post got here.


Kanye West & Jay-Z, Enjoy the Throne

While the existence of this collaborative album in between the two rap giants wasn’t exactly a secret to fans, its arrival in 2011 still came as a surprise. The set used false release dates to throw excited listeners off the aroma and avoid a leak prior to dropping the album in August.

Def Jam

Frank Ocean, Channel ORANGE

Following the hot reception of Ocean’s launching mixtape Nostalgia, ULTRA in 2011, fans were wild for his first studio album. Seeing how Watch the Throne had successful thwarted its own leak, Ocean picked to drop his LP a week ahead of its advertised release date in July 2012.

mbv records

My Bloody Valentine, m b v

With 22 years in between them and their last album, the Irish rock band amazed fans with a Facebook post in February 2013 announcing the impending arrival of their new LP. Within minutes, their main site crashed due to the frustrating traffic from enthusiastic listeners looking for a digital download.

Parkwood, Columbia

Beyoncé, Beyoncé

While she definitely isn’t the very first on this list, the truth that a pop star of Bey’s magnitude was not only able to tape-record a whole LP in trick, but movie matching video for each of the 14 tracks on her self-titled visual album and have none of it leak prior to its release in December 2013 is wildly outstanding. When the album arrived rather actually out of nowhere, it provided a seismic shock to the industry.

Island Records

U2, Tunes of Innocence

The biggest rock band worldwide teaming with a technology giant to surprise launch their 13 th studio album by making it readily available on everyone’s devices immediately and for free. What could go wrong? Well, as it ended up, there were plenty of Apple users who didn’t want to have a U2 album forced on them without their approval, as happened in September2014 So, there’s that.

Parkwood, Columbia

Beyoncé, Lemonade

Three years after she altered the game with that digital drop, Bey upped the visual album ante, providing a principle LP that debuted as part of an HBO movie in April 2016.

Atlantic, Goldmind

Missy Elliott, Iconology

Thirteen years after her last album, the iconic rapper surprised fans with her long-awaited return by means of tweet.


Taylor Swift, folklore

Written completely at the onset of the international coronavirus pandemic, T.Swift’s eighth studio album was just announced by the superstar a day before its July 24 release.


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