A scene from the "Haunted" video, one of the new tracks on the visual album.

A scene from the “Haunted” video, one of the new tracks on the visual album.

Grammy winning music superstar Beyoncé surprised her fans and the world by releasing a previously unannounced album on Friday.

Titled Beyoncé, her fifth studio album, the collection of 14 songs is for now only available on the iTunes Store.

Described as a “visual album”, it also includes 17 videos, shot around the world from Houston to New York City to Paris, and Sydney to Rio de Janeiro.

“I see music,” said Beyoncé about her new release. “It’s more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to the music.”

Beyoncé was a writer, producer and director on the visual album and worked with a talented team of artists, songwriters, producers and video directors that include: JAY Z; Timbaland; Justin Timberlake; Pharrell Williams; Drake; Sia; Miguel; Frank Ocean; Hype Williams; Terry Richardson; Jonas Åkerlund, and many others.

That the album became available on same day it was announced is unprecedented; a strategy whereby the artist can deliver music and visual content directly to her fans when she wants to and how she wants to, with no filter.

Traditionally, an album is announced months before its release.

“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” Beyoncé explained. “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.”

An image from from the "Mine" video

An image from the “Mine” video

Sony Music commented in a press release: “Stripped of gimmicks, teasers and marketing campaigns, this project is truly about art before hype.”

It added that the release strategy was also an attempt to avoid music being leaked online, an increasingly common phenomenon in the social media era.

“For an artist who has been the target of leaks, this is a fully designed preventative plan. The album will be offered as a cohesive body of work with every song and every video available all at once for one single purchase,” said the record company.

For those who prefer to buy their music in a store, manufacturing of physical albums also began on Friday and the double disc CD/DVD is expected to be available in time for the holidays.

“I just want to give my album to the people I love and respect and hope that they feel the same thing I felt when I made the music,” said Beyoncé.

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