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DELUXE MANEUVERS

This Friday, Alamo/Geffen/Interscope sensation Rod Wave is rolling out a deluxe edition of his April album Pray 4 Love. The new package will add 11 more songs to the set, including a new feature with Lil Baby on his rising hit “Rags2Riches.” Wave is already a consistent player in the HITS Top 50, and this new add-on of tracks will boost the album back into the Top 10, if not higher. He’s not the first to tack on a deluxe album—and he certainly won’t be the last.

The deluxe strategy has been used—quite efficiently—by Lil Baby, NAV, Pop Smoke and Lil Durk, among others. Although the tactic has been more common with rappers, other genres are now adopting it to reignite their albums. Def Jam’s Jhené Aiko recently added a deluxe edition to her acclaimed R&B set, Chilombo. Warner’s global pop star Dua Lipa has hinted that a deluxe re-up of Future Nostalgia is in the works, while fellow headliners The Weeknd and Selena Gomez released deluxe add-ons of their own earlier this year.

Lil Baby’s My Turn (QC/Motown/Capitol) is arguably the most successful deluxe campaign of the year so far. In its 10th week in early May, the deluxe edition boosted sales 146%, with overall activity leaping from 40k to 100k units, cementing the album in the Top 5 before it went on its four-week return to #1 in June and July. Along with new songs, Baby launched an aggressive visual campaign with nine new music videos that commanded the top of Apple Music, resulting in 35 total tracks for the project including audio and visual.

Alamo’s Lil Durk followed the Lil Baby blueprint, releasing his own bundle of audio and visual extras to his album Just Cause Y’all Waited 2, leading to a new peak of #2 on the HITS Top 50.

Although some skeptics see the strategy as maneuvering for chart position, which is part of the plan, Lil Baby’s “We Paid” f/42 Dugg, which appeared on his deluxe album, is a bona fide hit—signaling that as long as fans getting more music to consume, they don’t care about the intent behind the strategy.

With Dua Lipa teasing a deluxe, expect more major pop stars to utilize this strategy. Will Harry Styles remind the world his Fine Line album is a powerful pop statement ahead of Grammy season with a rollout of new songs via deluxe? Could Taylor Swift add some B-sides to her indie-adjacent folklore? Now that pop stars are embracing the “surprise” album drop, anything is possible.

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