Jay-Z Benefits From Black People's Love of Smartphones

Jay-Z's business deal with Android is a win for the company, African-American consumers -- and the rap mogul, writes Jamilah King at Colorlines.

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Jay-Z at the groundbreaking of Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Barclays Center in 2010 (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Jay-Z's latest business deal with Android involving his upcoming album is a win for the company, the rapper and African Americans, writes Jamilah King for Colorlines. The business mogul clearly knows his audience: Young black consumers love their smartphones, and blacks are more likely than other groups to report favoring Android.

Jay-Z is teaming up with Samsung to release his new album, "Magna Carta Holy Grail", on July 4. The new release will be free for the first one million Android users who download an app for the album. It's a unique partnership and the first of its kind. TechHive points out that for Samsung, "it's a chance to be associated with one of the coolest cats in pop culture and to showcase the company's ability to compete with iTunes radio."

But there's obviously a big upside for Jay-Z, too. Mostly, the new Android deal shows what makes him a really savvy businessman: he knows his market. And that market just so happens to be the millions of young people of color who are adopting smartphones at astonishingly high rates. It's a market in which Google has long reigned supreme, and the fruits are finally showing.

More than half of Americans -- 56 percent -- are now smartphone owners. And while Android is on its way to taking over the lion's share of the U.S. smartphone market, smartphone ownership has long been colored by race. Back in 2010, the Pew Internet & American Life Project did a comprehensive study of exactly who owns which kinds of cell phones. Three years later those numbers may seem a bit dated considering how quickly the industry changes, but the overall takeaways are still the same. 

Read Jamilah King's entire piece at Colorlines.

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