Beyoncé's surprise new album a hit

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It looks like Beyoncé‘s bold move has paid off – the singer’s new album sold nearly half a million copies a little more than a day after its unexpected release.

The Grammy-winning artist surprised both fans and critics with the launch of her fifth solo studio album on iTunes, a rare move among pop music’s top performers, capping a year in which the artist has made a carefully choreographed return to music. She took time out to give birth to her daughter with rapper husband Jay Z.

Beyoncé‘s new, self-titled album includes collaborations with Jay Z, Pharrell Williams, Drake and Justin Timberlake.

In other hot celebrity news, American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars has been named Artist of the Year by Billboard magazine, beating chart-topping artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and Rihanna for the number one spot.

The Hawaiian-born artist has established a successful career as a singer and producer with his band, The Smeezingtons, working on songs both for himself and other artists.

He notched up four Grammy nominations this month, including two of the industry’s top prizes – his single “Locked Out of Heaven” picked up both record and song of the year nods.

Bruno Mars embarks on the North American leg of his “Moonshine Jungle World Tour” in 2014, and will also headline the hotly coveted Super Bowl half time show in February.

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