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Midnight, iTunes exclusive releases

Albums have been released digitally exclusive before, albums that weren’t nearly as big as this. This was done to defend the eventual early leak that occurs when the label eventually hands over the album to distributors days before the album is set to hit retailers. Jay-Z & Kanye West, being the big artists they were felt that they were big enough artists to take the hit. Their gamble paid off as its debut week served as the second highest debut week of 2011, while its first week digital sales of 321,000 downloads serve as the second highest one-week sales tally in digital history. Since then, Watch The Throne collaborator Frank Ocean released his album channel ORANGE digitally first to avoid a leak and saw similar success debuting at #2 on the Billboard charts.

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