Beyoncé pulled off one of the year's biggest surprises in music.
As much of the country was tucking into bed Thursday night, the singer suddenly announced that her new self-titled album — one she'd spent a year teasing in high-profile live performances — was suddenly available for purchase on iTunes.
The album, currently out as an iTunes exclusive, features 14 new tracks and 17 accompanying music videos. A double disc CD/DVD will be available before the holidays, according to her label, and individual tracks will become available for downloading December 20.
The singer waited until just after 9:00 p.m. PT Thursday to announce the news of the new album via Instagram. "I didn't want to release my music the way I've done it," Beyoncé said in an announcement on Thursday. "I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There's so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans."