(Reuters) - Pop singer Beyonce surprised fans by releasing an unheralded self-titled fifth solo studio album on Friday featuring 14 new songs and 17 videos, her label Columbia Records, a division of Sony, said.
"I see music... It's more than just what I hear," the statement quotes Beyonce as saying by way of explanation for the large number of videos, which the release says were shot in Houston, New York City, Paris, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro.
The Texas-born singer, whose given name is Beyonce Knowles-Carter, is one of the most successful singers in the world, regularly selling out concert tours and with her albums hitting the number one sales spots.
She is famed for her energetic stage shows, the anthemic "All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" and her promotion of female empowerment.
"When I'm connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they're all connected to the music," Beyonce says in the statement from Columbia Records.
So far the album has only been released digitally via iTunes, an attempt, Columbia, said to allow fans to form their own opinions without first being subject to music critics.
"I didn't want to release my music the way I've done it," Beyonce says in the statement. "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.
"I felt like I didn't want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it's ready and from me to my fans."
Among the artists, songwriters and producers involved with the album are Beyonce's husband Jay Z, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.
The statement said the global iTunes release was also intended as a "preventative plan" against the album being leaked before the official release.
Physical copies of the album in CD and DVD format will be available for sale for the holiday season, the release said.
(Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)