Beyonce’s success on her new self-titled visual album. 0 singles, 0 marketing, 0 leaks.
Beyonce’s new self-titled visual album has in one quick swoop, outsold both Gaga and Katy Perry’s recent albums, turned conventional marketing on it’s head, but more importantly; brought back a personal experience or event to the pop music world. In a genre dominated by singles, multi-million dollar marketing schemes and cookie cutter formulas for success; Beyonce has shown that artistry still exists, and can gain commercial success. The question that arises is: will this change the pop music industry? The answer is: maybe, but it will at least influence it for the time being. Here are some highlights of how Beyonce’s concept of a ‘Visual Album’ could be potentially game changing.
- She ditched the entire idea of releasing a single.
On average, a single is release somewhere around a month to 6 weeks before the album’s release. Generally the idea is to get a song in your head that will make you want to buy the album. Beyonce chose to release the album in it’s entirety and used her top grossing songs to be released as singles.
- She created the ‘visual album’. Beyonce didn’t create a visual album, she created the first visual album, releasing all songs with a coinciding video. Each video shot with different producers, in different locations, under different directors and with different stories relating to each song. Not only did the songs add to the writing and theme of each song, the videos are quoted by Beyonce to contribute to an overall theme of the album.
- She made an album release become an event. In a string of videos released on YouTube entitled “Self-Titled” Beyonce re-called watching on TV the release of “Thriller” by Michael Jackson quoting “It was an event, we all sat around the TV and watched. Now I miss that immersive experience, now everyone just listens to 30 seconds of a song on their iPod”. Using videos, social media, and word of mouth Beyonce turned an album release back into an immersive experience.
- She successfully marketed an album using $0. Beyonce brought this idea to her label. They were of course against it and did not support it. So Beyonce used her own money for the making of this album experience. Using only the power of social media and word of mouth, Beyonce’s album got around enough to sell over 800,000 copies in 3 days. That is no small feat even considering her 8 million Instagram and 53 million Facebook followers. Be warned you will need to do more marketing for your albums until you are Beyonce.
- There were 0 leaks. I am not sure what kind of agreement these people signed, or how much they were paid off. But keeping a full album, writers, video production team, dancers, extras, set workers etc etc to not disclose any information or leak a single item before release date is almost unheard of. Not only that, but once the album was released, there were 0 streams on Youtube *someone must have been monitoring the crap out of that site for 24 hours a day. If you really wanted to hear the album (and you did, because it seemed to be the only thing everyone was talking about) you had to pay the $15.99 on itunes, WELL worth the value for 14 songs and 17 videos!! (quick math here… say on average each video was 150,000 to make – some likely more, some maybe less – x17 = 2,550,000 on the videos alone. Assuming they did not take any short cuts with cost here, this project could have been about 5 million of self funding to produce)
- She did if for her fans. What reason would Beyonce release a full album, along with videos, with next to no marketing involved? Because she wanted it to come straight from her to her fans when it was ready. The album making process of Beyonce was all done for the sake of enjoyment, both from the fans perspective, and Beyonce’s. Quoted in one of her songs “Probably wont make any money off of this, oh well.”
Will this radical new way of marketing, selling and presenting an album will become the industry standard? Only time will tell. However, Beyonce has brought something magical back to the pop music industry; a connection with fans and artist. A spectacle to be part of, listening to full albums and ditching the singles. Whether this album is a game changer or not it has accomplished much in the way of giving pop music new life, and oh yeah and nearly a month after it’s release, it’s also sold 1.5 million units.