Beyonce's surprise album release shows shift in marketing
Mark Humphrey, Associated Press
Beyoncé has wowed crowds before with her scintillating dance moves, soulful lyrics and her subtle approach to issues and controversies in the world.
But at midnight on Friday, Beyoncé broke new ground by releasing her fifth studio album without an inch of hype or promotion. And it sent a buzz throughout the world.
The Washington Post reported that this surprise album, which features songs co-written by celebrities Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Miguel and Sia, is likely to soar to the top of the charts next week.
“Our early numbers are showing that this is likely heading toward a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart with only three days of the tracking week,” Bill Werde, the editor of Billboard, told The Washington Post.
The album was put together after more than a year of production, the Los Angeles Times reported. Beyoncé and her crew developed the songs and videos when “her camp of writers and producers lived together in the Hamptons last summer. And the videos were lensed in places such as Houston, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Paris as she toured,” the Los Angeles Times said.
Celebrities took to Twitter to respond to the news. USA Today published several tweets from different celebrities — like Katy Perry and Emma Roberts — who reacted to the sudden album release. The Huffington Post offered a similar article, which had tweets from Demi Lovato, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and Cher.
Jody Rosen of Vulture released her snap judgment of the album’s songs, and included small snippets of the feature tracks for users in her article. Rosen was very impressed that Beyoncé and her team kept the album a secret in this digital age.
“How exactly, in an age of wildfire social-media gossip, did Team Beyoncé pull off the stealth release of a fourteen-song, seventeen-video behemoth, whose production credits include not just the entire Knowles-Carter clan — Bey and Jay and baby Blue, who gets a “featuring” production credit on the album’s closing ballad — but a roll call of additional boldface names?” wrote Rosen.
But this sort of stunt isn't anything too new. The Telegraph said Beyonce’s surprise album was similar to something David Bowie did in January of this year. The Guardian also pointed to Bowie’s album release, and how the band My Bloody Valentine also released an album without notice. These surprise album releases are showing a change in marketing, as public relations companies are being ignored by the artists who want to let their music stand alone, The Guardian reported.
“ ‘Getting back to the music’ is a cliche oft spouted by artists who are about to release something earnest and boring — this new approach attempts to kill that dynamic altogether, announcing music as the chief reason why musicians exist,” The Guardian said.
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