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HERE COMES RIHANNA

Rihanna’s team has been mobilized, and we’re being told by reliable sources that the details of the release of her long-awaited eighth album have been nailed down. According to these sources, the album will drop on Nov. 6, a week in front of the expected chart duel between Justin Bieber and One Direction, and two weeks before Adele, thus assuring her of a #1 debut. Interestingly, this will be the fifth straight time Rihanna has released an album in November.

ANTI will be the first album under her new deal and the first on Roc Nation, which also serves as her management company. It’s highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for the same company serving as a major artist’s management and record label. This release provides Jay Z with an opportunity to re-establish himself as a mastermind; in the wake of Tidal, he can't afford another bad look.

That said, this is ultimately Rihanna’s game to win. As for the details of the rollout, whether ANTI will appear without warning or be placed in preorder and preceded by a single remains to be seen, but RiRi does what RiRi wants, so the rollout—if there is one—will proceed on her terms.

At last week’s art show in L.A., she revealed the album title—ANTI—and package art, and she sat for an unconventional profile and interview that ran in The New York Times’ T Magazine on Sunday. These moves toward greater sophistication suggest that Rihanna may be courting a more adult target audience.

Additional questions surround the release. Will she partner with Tidal for an exclusive streaming window? Will any or all of her three 2015 singles make the final sequence? Of those, only “FourFive Seconds,” which peaked at #4, can be considered a hit, meaning there’s nothing in the market or on the radio at the moment to drive sales of the upcoming album.

The album will be released on her own Westbury Road through Roc Nation, with Def Jam handling marketing and promotion.

Art show photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images 

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