Release date: June 2011
4 is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Beyoncé Knowles, released on June 24, 2011 through Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records. Knowles served as executive producer and co-writer, with significant contributions from The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Shea Taylor and Jeff Bhasker.
At a private listening party held on May 11, 2011, Beyoncé spoke about the conception of her album: "I wanted to do something refreshing and different. So I mixed genres and drew inspiration from touring, traveling, watching rock bands, and attending festivals… I was like a mad scientist, putting lots of different songs together." Knowles spoke more about the album in an interview with Billboard, stating "Having time to grow as a human being really inspired me and gave me a lot of things to pull from for this new album… I feel like I know who I am and don't feel like I have to put myself in a box. No one can define me. I can just have fun, and have the artistic freedom to do whatever I want."
Knowles stated in an interview with Billboard's Ray Rogers that the title 4 was influenced by her fans. "I had a whole other name and concept, but I keep seeing that the fans love the name '4,' and I think it would be a really nice thing to let them name the record". She also stated that the number four was "special" for her as her birthday and wedding anniversary are on the fourth day of the month. Knowles added, "My mother's birthday, and a lot of my friends' birthdays, are on the fourth."
In the United States, 4 debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 310,000 copies, giving Knowles her fourth consecutive solo debut at the top of the chart. On August 1, 2011, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having shipped one million copies to retail stores.