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Beyonce Album Breaks iTunes Sales Record

Beyonce's latest album, which was released unexpectedly last week, has become the fastest selling ever on iTunes.

Apple said nearly 830,000 copies of the self-titled album were downloaded globally in only three days, including some 617,000 copies in the US.

The singer unveiled the digital-only album on December 13 along with 17 accompanying videos.

"I didn't want to release my music the way I've done it (before). I'm bored with that," Beyonce said after the release.

"I feel like I'm 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 (for it to be) from me to my fans."

In January, David Bowie also used iTunes for the surprise debut of his first single in 10 years.

The "shock" strategy could become more common, partly because it helps prevent hyped-up albums leaking onto the internet before their official release.

Lee Ann Callahan-Longo, general manager of Beyonce's production company, said: "We had a multitude of things we were trying to accomplish, some things we were trying to avoid, and this turned out to be the right perfect plan for us."

She added: "It wasn't easy and we were really careful.

"It started with a very small core group of people and only grew when necessary in order to make something happen.

"It got a little dicey there and concerning as we got closer and closer as the circle had to widen."

The 14-track self-titled album features collaborations with Beyonce's husband Jay Z, Drake, Frank Ocean and Justin Timberlake.

Its first-week sales are also a career high for the US singer and it is set to rocket to the top of the Billboard charts.

After an exclusive period on iTunes, the album goes on sale on other websites this week.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

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