WARNING: A lot of Beyoncé talk coming up.
So we all remember Beyoncé’s insane stunt that she pulled last year regarding her album, appropriately titled “Beyoncé”. The Grammy-award winning (and also just general winning for existing in the world among everyone that isn’t Beyoncé) singer/songwriter/performer changed the way music would be released FOREVER (as she said so herself), by releasing her album without any warning or announcement prior to the release date!
We all know that the internet has changed the way music has become accessible to the public COMPLETELY: vinyl’s are no more (even though they’re coming back [everyone loves being vintage in 2015…]), Walkman’s are a thing of the past, and we’ve long said goodbye to CD’s. Now, while we have things like Soundcloud (a free service that allows artists to upload tracks that didn’t make the album or whatever else they might want to share) and of course the dreaded idea of illegally downloading music (WHICH IS AWFUL, DESTROYING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND MUST BE STOPPED!), the mainstream approach to releasing music in 2015 is to do so on iTunes and (most of the time) Spotify.
The traditional way to go about releasing music on the internet, as anyone who exists in a world of media (AKA everyone) knows, is simple: the artist/label announces a release date, they put out a single or two a few months before-hand, they advertise the living crap out of it, and hope their fans stay up until the midnight of said release date to get their hands on what everyone has been waiting for! But the Queen of the Universe’s (or *my Queen of the Universe, rather…) approach has made a lot of heads spin, as it is almost the exact opposite of this approach. How could someone in their right mind dare to not tell their fans about their new music? How could they (quite literally) just drop it on their heads like that? Why would Beyoncé send us on such an intricate roller coaster of emotions? And how, in doing something so untraditional, illogical and extreme, could someone possibly make that much money?! Just look at these numbers!
The answer is quite simple… the power of Beyoncé.
It may seem as though there was no marketing behind this album—simply just an unexpected drop—but not only was there marketing, there was genius, very complex and well-thought-out marketing. Earlier that year, Beyoncé sang the national anthem at President Obama’s second inauguration. This sparked a huge controversy, as she did not actually sing it, rather she pre-recorded her performance and lip-synced it live. The media knee-jerked a boatload of anger: HOW COULD SOMEONE AS PRISTINE AS BEYONCÉ DISRESPECT HER PRESIDENT AND HER NATION TO SUCH DEGREE? Beyoncé’s response? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions:
*uncontrollably bows down at the excellence*
This press conference, as you might conclude from the roman numerals on the podium, was for Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Halftime show that she also did that year. The controversy fell around the same time as the conference, which was BEAUTIFUL timing. Of course, Beyoncé killed her Super Bowl Halftime Show (which I still watch about once a month, just to remind myself that there is a force such as Beyoncé that exists at the same time I do), making her name a presence in the media for months to come. Then, suspiciously, in March 2013, something appeared on Beyoncé’s Soundcloud account. It was a track titled “Bow Down/I Been On”, and it was totally unexplained. Take a listen!
This track, of course, ended up being an early version of Beyoncé’s ever appropriate and powerful, “Flawless”.
And then, Beyoncé dropped off the face of the earth. She went ghost! She made people talk about her for about half the year, and then the other year she laid back. Knowing Beyoncé, she probably took care of Blue, laid on a hammock or two, baked a few excellent vegan cakes, etc. Then… December 13th came around… and BOOM! THE WORLD EXPLODED! BEYONCÉ WAS A FORCE OF MAINSTREAM MEDIA IN A WAY THAT NOBODY HAS EVER BEEN BFORE! BEYONCÉ was released, and everything else was manic! Let one of her fans sum up the world’s response perfectly:
And there you have it! The rest was history. Since then, many artists have been taking similar approaches to Beyoncé in the release of their music. Drake has now released two albums without a release date (If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and What a Time to Be Alive, a collaboration album with Future) and so have other people that aren’t Beyoncé and therefore aren’t really worth mentioning. Many suspect that Frank Ocean, who promised us an album back in July of 2015 and IS STILL MAKING US WAIT FOR IT (it’s now July 157th, Franklin. STILL NO ALBUM.) may be making moves that are similar to those of Beyoncé in the release of his sophomore album. After all, they are both signed to Roc Nation… *eye emojis*. With all of this in mind, we have to ask ourselves… has the game changed forever? Is this a trend we, the fans should be looking out for? Is it safe to walk around on the streets willy nilly knowing that at any moment, one of our favorites might release new music unexpectedly?! WHAT HAS BEYONCÉ DONE?!!!!!!