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Beyonce releases surprise album on iTunes

Beyonce appears in a video posted on Dec. 12, 2013 on her Facebook page in which she talks about her new 2013 visual album, 'Beyonce' - a surprise release. (Columbia Records)

December 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A big surprise for Beyonce fans! The singer announced and released her new album on the very same day.

Beyonce released her self-titled album exclusively on iTunes at midnight. Her fifth effort features 14 songs and 17 videos. Collaborators include her husband, Jay Z, Drake, Frank Ocean and Beyonce's baby daughter, Blue Ivy even makes an appearance.

Justin Timberlake co-wrote the songs "Rocket" and "Partition," and Pharrell, Timbaland, Ryan Tedder, Miguel and Sia also co-wrote tracks.

Her unconventional release mirrors how Jay Z released "Magna Carta Holy Grail" earlier this year - through a deal with Samsung where he gave the album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones days before its official release.

Beyonce's new album caused a stir on social media. Accordng to Twitter, early data shows that mentions of Beyonce spiked by 500,000-plus tweets after she announced the album. Diddy, Alicia Keys and Demi Lovato were among the celebrities tweeting about the topic.

Billboard said Friday that "Beyonce" will likely debut on top of its charts next week.

By Friday late morning, the explicit and clean versions of "Beyonce" ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the iTunes albums chart.

Beyonce calls the work a "visual album" and she filmed some of the videos in Paris, New York, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and her hometown of Houston.

"I didn't want to release my music the way I've done it," she said in a statement. "I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There's so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn't want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it's ready and from me to my fans."

Beyonce's last album "4" was released in 2011. It reached platinum success. "Beyonce" will be available in stores "in time for the holidays," her representative said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.