15 Innovative Album Releases That Shook the Music Industry - Rolling Stone
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15 Innovative Album Releases That Shook the Music Industry

From Radiohead’s payment scheme to Beyoncé’s midnight surprise, the most unusual drops in recent history

U2 and Steve Jobs

SAN JOSE, CA - OCTOBER 26: Steve Jobs (2nd-R) of Apple Computer poses with Interscope Geffen A&M Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine (L) Bono (2nd-L) and The Edge (R) of U2 at a celebration of the release of a new Apple iPod family of products at the California Theatre on October 26, 2004 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Album releases can be a monotonous pattern of press releases, cookie-cutter Q&As and by-the-books song premieres. Or they can be industry-stunning moments that show an artist's creative powers go beyond the music studio. As the biz has changed in the digital era, so has the art of album promotion, and doing something unique and retweetable is often more powerful than a page-one interview. Here's a look back at 15 of the most innovative, game-changing releases ever — from midnight sales to surprise freebies to alternate-reality games. 

In This Article: U2

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