Jay Z’s Magna Carta App Wants Access To Your Facebook, Twitter, And Address Book

So this is the result of that $20 million deal we talked about last month. In some sort of marketing partnership, Jay Z and Samsung decided to pre-lease Jay’s latest album, Magna Carta. Magna Carta releases officially on July 7th, but mobile fans were able to download the tracks beginning on July 4th.

Even though the download itself is free, it does come with a cost. The app itself basically gives full access to not only Samsung (as if they didn’t have it already), but to Jay Z’s team of marketers. The app logs your calls, your social networking accounts (i.e., Facebook and Twitter), your online friends, and does so in a manipulative way: in order to access the lyrics to the songs, you have to share a pre-recorded message via Facebook or Twitter with a relevant hashtag, #MagnaCarta.

A Jay-Z spokeswoman who spoke to the New York Times via email said, “We would like fans to share the content through social networking sites,” but that does not explain the access to phone records. Why would Jay Z want the numbers of the 500,000-1,000,000 people that have download the app so far?

In the world that we live in, data is money. As more and more companies are offering “free” apps, services, and products, they are coming with a cost. It’s marketing 101: give away something free, collect data, and sell them something they want later. This is something a lot of people are okay with, as long as it’s being done in an upfront way.

One final note that makes this Jay Z / Samsung endeavour more of a fail:  if you don’t have a Galaxy S 4, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II phone, you are shit out of luck. It seems that these three phones are the ones that are being pushed by Samsung at the moment (probably due to them being the three highest priced ones). My Galaxy Nexus (that runs the latest version of Android and has plenty of the latest features) gets a message “This app is incompatible with your device” when going to the Google Play page.