It would be easy to call it the Beyoncé-effect. But the surprise-release strategy of Skrillex’s new album, Recess, could be attributed to unconventional releases as far back as Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero, from 2007.

Skipping the typical label procedures – traditional announcement, advertising rollout – dubstep DJ and producer Sonny Moore, professionally known as Skrillex, dropped his album without warning on March 11 through a mobile app called “Alien Ride.” Through what initially appeared to be a mobile video game app, fans unlocked 11 hidden objects throughout the app – revealing what ended up being Recess, Skrillex’s first full-length album.

It may seem a bit odd for an artist to be a releasing a “debut” album this many years into their career, but Skrillex isn’t one to work traditionally. Past EPs and projects have often been leaked through alternative forms of distribution like SoundCloud – working outside of the conventional recording industry structure. With EDM’s detractors ready to proclaim the death of dubstep and the genre altogether, Recess acts like a breath of fresh air for the genre through both the music and the method of distribution.

And the numbers don’t lie: Skrillex is seeing a large boost in numbers similar to those of a big-budgeted, label-supported campaign. Since the launch of the app on March 7, Skrillex has seen sizable percentage gains across all social platforms. He’s seen a gain of 359k new Facebook fans—up 71% from the two-week period before. Additionally, the EDM artist has seen spikes of 81% and 53% in Twitter mentions and Wikipedia views respectively—seeing major gains on Tuesday March 11 (the day after the album leak).

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People aren’t just talking about Skrillex on Twitter—he’s also receiving new followers, with numbers up 48% percent. In regular Skrillex fashion, the artist uploaded Recess to his SoundCloud account on March 18, resulting in a 104% spike in SoundCloud plays. Over these two weeks, Skrillex has seen 6.2 million plays on his account—roughly 8% of his total play count.

Critics could argue Skrillex lost Atlantic Records a good chunk of money with his stunt, but his decisions fall in line with an emerging trend — the artist providing fans with a direct link to content. Regardless of the motives, early sales predictions are nothing to scoff at. Hits Daily Double is predicting Recess to open with 45-50k after full first week on sale at digital and physical retailers—a decent figure considering a typical EDM fan’s way of consumption.

Photo Credit: Brennan Schnell/Wikimedia Commons

Adam Pyarali is a data journalism intern with music analytics company Next Big Sound and A&R intern at Columbia Records. He is a student at New York University, where he is pursuing a BM in Music Business.