10:57am PT by Billboard Staff, THR staff
Jay Z Debuts Justin Timberlake-Assisted 'Holy Grail' Video
At noon ET Thursday, Aug. 29, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake's "Holy Grail" music video became the first clip by a major music star to premiere on Facebook -- and with a 24-hour exclusivity window to boot. The premiere utilizes Facebook's proprietary video player, which will have the exclusive on the clip before YouTube or any other video provider until noon ET on Friday, Aug. 30.
"What we’re doing with Jay Z today is really exciting and we think emblematic of the evolution of music and how musicians can connect with their fans," says Nick Grudin, head of content partnerships for Facebook. "And we think that is particularly evident in Jay Z's approach here, which will really allow him to go direct to a massive and instant global audience. It's something that only Facebook I think can really deliver in this way, given the scale of the audiences musicians have and the global nature of those audiences and the social dynamics of what happens when they engage on Facebook."
With over 17 million Facebook fans for Jay Z and 25 million for Justin Timberlake, the combined reach for "Holy Grail" is significant -- especially when compared to Twitter, where Jay Z's @S_C_ account has only 2.9 million followers and @jtimberlake has 24.9 million, slightly below his Facebook following. Plus, the portfolio of artists in Jay Z's Roc Nation family and beyond (Shakira, Rihanna, wife Beyonce) are among the platform's most followed personalities.
The placement still comes as a bit of a surprise, as Timberlake holds an ownership stake in Facebook competitor Myspace. With help from the pop star, Myspace has recently undergone a facelift as part of a bid to increase its presence among artists.
Meanwhile, Facebook's clout in video has grown in the past few months, led by the addition of Instagram video, where artists like Cher, Timberlake and Macklemore have premiered content and announcements in recent weeks. Artists like Madonna, Rihanna and Katy Perry have also hosted exclusive video Q&As, moderated by TV personalities such as Andy Cohen and Jimmy Fallon, as a more interactive alternative to the late-night talk show circuit. Facebook was also the leading candidate to replace YouTube as the host platform for Vevo during heated contract renewal discussion in 2012, before Vevo eventually re-upped with Google earlier this year.
Jay Z, of course, has been looking to build on a streak of innovation in the marketing of his newest album, Magna Carta ... Holy Grail, from his $30 million partnership with Samsung to his ongoing role with Budweiser as curator of this weekend's Made in America festival. His hashtag accompanying the initial "Holy Grail" announcement on Twitter? #newrules.
Look for more music activity from Facebook in the near future, as the social network recently appointed Jonathan Hull as its first music partnerships lead out of L.A.
"It's an area that we think there’s already a lot of great activity happening, but there's still opportunities for a lot more," Grudin says. "And this Jay Z video is a nice milestone in showing what’s possible in reaching the Facebook audience and really socially electrifying his fanbase."