Beyonce Formation
Beyonce could release her sixth album in April 2016 before embarking on her Formation world tour Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia

It is shaping up to be a busy year for Beyonce with reports claiming she will release her sixth album in April. The strategic release date will coincide with the singer embarking on her Formation world tour and sources claim there could be another surprise in store for fans later in 2016.

According to Hits Daily Double, the 34-year-old is on the verge of signing a brand new worldwide multi-album deal with Sony Music and the next release will be the last under her current contract with Columbia, an imprint of the record label that has produced all five of her solo albums since 2003. Rumours are also circulating that the Drunk In Love singer will release the much anticipated joint album with her husband Jay Z later in 2016.

History of Beyonce's solo albums

Dangerously In Love (2003)

B'Day (2006)

I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008)

4 (2011)

Beyonce (2013)

It was previously said that Beyonce had planned on dropping the new album towards the end of 2015 but was deterred when Adele made a comeback and released her third album 25 in November.

A source told The Sun: "Now Adele's sales are starting to die down, Beyonce is ready to drop her album at any time." Details on her new album are sparse but her longtime stylist, Ty Hunter, revealed he has heard the record and described the body of work as "beyond awesome, it's great".

The Grammy-winning singer gave the music world a surprise in December 2013 when she released her self-titled fifth studio album completely by surprise. It shot to number one at the end of its first week of release and boasted the singles Drunk In Love, XO, Partition, Flawless, Pretty Hurts and 7/11. After more than a year off, Beyonce will launch her stadium world tour in April and it is set to become one of the top-grossing treks of 2016 with ticket sales already exceeding $100m (£70.9m).

Beyonce premiered her new single Formation hours before her performance at the Super Bowl half-time show earlier in February but the song's content has sparked outrage with police unions criticising the singer for supporting the Black Panther movement and appearing to send anti-police messages in the accompanying music video. Many have threatened to boycott concerts on the tour but it has continued to sell out in several venues worldwide.

Beyonce and Jay Z
Rumours suggest Beyonce and Jay Z could release a joint album later in 2016 Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty