Beyonce's surprise fifth album has become the fastest-selling record in iTunes history.

The self-titled record, which was released without any warning last week, shifting 828,773 copies in just three days.

The majority of those sales came from America, where it has racked up 617,213 sales since Friday (13.12.13).

Beyonce's own first-week sales record was also broken, after her 2006 second record B'day sold 541,000 copies in seven days.

The 'Love On Top' hitmaker stealth-released the record exclusively on iTunes, shocking fans by unveiling 14 new songs and 17 videos without any promotion.

The 31-year-old said she was inspired by Michael Jackson's Thriller video premiere in 1983, which is why she made such a ''visual'' record.

She said: ''I miss that immersive experience. Now people only listen to a few seconds of a song on their iPods and they don't really invest in the whole experience.

''It's all about the single, and the hype. I felt like, I don't want anybody to get 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.''

The album was codenamed 'Lily' at her record label, Columbia, to avoid the news getting out, and even key creative staff were kept in the dark about when it would be released.

Video director Ricky Saiz, who shot the clip for the track 'Yonce', told Buzzfeed he had ''no idea'' of the scale of the project until the album appeared on iTunes.

He said: ''It was a complete surprise even to the people involved. ''To be honest, I was actually in bed when I got an email just kind of saying [the album] was live.''