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Beyonce Becomes The First Woman To Reach Billboard Number One With Her First Five Studio Albums

posted 18 Dec 2013, 14:25 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Dec 2013, 14:26 ]

Beyonce lands at the top of the Billboard 200 charts with her fifth number one studio album.

 (PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT/ COLUMBIA RECORDS) -  If Beyonce's surprise album release didn't set a precedent, it has now earned her a place in history as she becomes the first female to reach number one on the Billboard charts with her first five studio albums.

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The U.S. pop singer surprised fans and critics with the release on Friday (December 13), which features 14 new songs and 17 videos and caused a stir on Twitter, capping a year in which the singer made a carefully choreographed return to music.

The 32-year-old Grammy-winning performer said she wanted to release the music in a new way, in order to connect more directly with her fans.

After she announced the album, it was immediately available worldwide exclusively on iTunes, skipping the advance publicity, critics' reviews and other marketing strategies that usually precede the release of a major musical artist's new work.

Music trade publication Billboard, citing sources, said the album sold 80,000 copies within three hours of its iTunes release early on Friday. And by the following Monday had sold over 600K copies in the United States alone.

The move to release the album without fanfare was designed to let fans hear the music first and form their own opinions, something that Billboard editorial directorBill Werde said was rarely seen among music's top performers.

Entitled "Beyonce," the digital compilation is the singer's first visual album and contains videos filmed in HoustonNew York, Paris, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, many of the shots filmed during her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour". Physical album copies in CD and DVD format will be available later in December.

The manner of the new album's sudden release generated plenty of reaction from fans, including fellow musicians, on Twitter. The album release generated more than 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours, Twitter said on Friday, with a spike of 5,300 tweets a minute.

"Beyonce" follows the singer's June 2011 record, "4". Collaborators on the new album include Jay Z, TimbalandPharrell Williams, Drake and Justin Timberlake.