D2C Exclusives Help SZA Secure Her Spot in R&B History

Case StudiesMusic

SOS is the first R&B album by a woman to spend its first four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this century

Last Thursday Top Dawg Entertainment launched several SOS deluxe digital albums that contained exclusive tracks, directly from their label store.

They both included a solo version of “Open Arms” (the original track from her album featuring Travis Scott) and a new song hinted at pre-album release called “PSA”. One version featured a new album cover entirely.

SZA Official Merchandise

Four weeks of strong albums sales, plus these webstore exclusive digital albums solidified SZA as the first woman to accomplish this feat since Janet Jackson's janet in 1993.

Streaming D2C Exclusive

Gone are the days of “streaming exclusives”. SZA and the TDE team wanted these SOS digital albums available to everyone.

This represents a much improved type of windowing, where content is limited to a certain platform. Most recently that has meant only one streaming platform - say Spotify over Apple Music, which always leads to some fans feeling left out. Instead, top fans are pushed to the place that the artist or label own. Because to SZA and her label, understanding who the top fans are that participated in the deluxe versions is incredibly valuable.

Love Language

The more SZA understands her fans, the better she can connect with them about future projects, shows, appearances and any other creative output. While streaming services share high level fan demographics, fans interacting directly with an artist's store means the artist knows exactly who they are.

It also exposes fans to more of what the artist has to offer - like cool merchandise relating to the release or other albums from their catalog. In SZA’s case, the “S” jersey from her album cover or the SOS Glow Tee.

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