Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail is not so much an album as a co-branded multimedia content delivery platform, Presented By Samsung™ Galaxy™. He announced it, after all, during an epic commercial for the phone, and Samsung is giving away a million copies to people who download a special app by July 4th. But now another, more unsettling use for the new album has become clear: It's a massive data-mining operation. Fans used to obsess over album liner notes; now they freak out about terms-of-service.
Occupy-supporting Atlanta rapper Killer Mike noted on Twitter yesterday that when he tried to download the Magna Carta app—which has racked up more than a half million downloads, according to Billboard—it requested some oddly intrusive permissions from your Android phone. Why does Jay-Z need your GPS location? Is he going to cruise by on a platinum-coated jet ski, personally chucking out copies of the album to people who downloaded the app?
What the NSA needs to do, clearly, is start giving away Jay-Z albums. People will be lining up to turn their metadata over.