In case you’ve been living under a rock (aka, you don’t venture on the internet, ever), the magnanimous Beyonce Knowles-Z released a surprise album at midnight last Friday morning. It’s a full album accompanied by completed music videos – a “visual album,” as its being called.
Of course, the Internet blew its load when word got out, and it’s a fairly ballsy move at first thought. But then, given a few days to let it sink in, it’s the perfect formula for this generation of consumers.
Take a walk with me Power strut with me.
The internet hosts a new type of culture, mainly an era of #FOMO (the fear of missing out). We have Twitter, 24/7 news programs, dedicated websites, and TMZ all promoting the idea of breaking news and “see/hear it here first!” If someone doesn’t, you’re labelled as a loser and one of your friends will disgustingly look at you like, “WHAT? OMG srsly?? #DYING” and then eye-roll you into the ground.
Take, for instance, when any prominent celebrity dies. People go apeshit over someone they didn’t give two licks about five seconds ago, but suddenly they become this dead person’s biggest fan – or, at least, for the moment so they can be on #trend. You know, some people are actually sad by this kind of news, but most of the time, the people who actually bother to post or tweet are – likely – looking more for “likes” and retweets than they are sympathetic. My favorite was after Paul Walker’s untimely death just a few weeks ago, someone posted a Facebook status along the lines of, “RIP Paul Walker. You were so hot :-(”
And so it goes these days.
Over the past decade or so, album sales have steadily declined, and audiences are far more inclined to stream music via Spotify or YouTube. So, the million dollar question is, what’s the new secret to selling?
Ladies and gents, Beyonce (or perhaps the credit goes toward her “people”) totally found it.
How do you capitalize on a generation that won’t give you more than an inch of attention for more than 24 hours? How do you sell, sell, sell and move numbers fast enough to the point where people aren’t even really aware that they’re spending money because they’re too concerned they’ll miss out?
By releasing a visual album at midnight in which people have to buy it in order to talk about it. Want only your favorite songs or videos? Nope. You have to wait two weeks, because that’s when they’ll be up for individual sale. But no one likes to wait two weeks anymore, right? RIGHT. Fucking genius.
Beys album sold about 430,000 units in roughly one day. 24 hours. Did everyone listen/watch it? Maybe. Does it matter? No. Is the music really good and the videos, too? Maybe. Does it matter? Not at all. Not when the real story here is the shock value.
I can’t get over how brilliant this move was for Beyonce. I didn’t buy her album, because I’m not a die-hard Bey fan. I’m definitely more of a singles girl when it comes to her music. But I respect the shit out of her and her work ethic. The woman is a force of nature. I do, however, find it fascinating that this midnight release caused such a crazy uproar. But only someone with the star power of Beyonce could’ve made so many people fork up $16 to own something they never even heard yet. I just hope they aren’t looking for a refund, because the internet doesn’t do refunds. Which is why this was SO GODDAMN GENIUS.
A sure win, money-making, marketing machine.
Will this ever work again? I honestly doubt it. I think this was a one time thing, and it worked. It worked hard and good. Is this album Beyonce’s best? Probably not, though I LOVE the idea of more visual albums. Most reviewers have been blowing their load over it since its surprise release, but are they impressed with her work or her strategy? Perhaps it’s too early to tell.
Regardless, this stunt hit the generational bullseye and I must applaud Bey and her team of geniuses for their contribution to entertainment and internet culture. You guys literally pulled a fast one on everybody.
Until next time, Bey will just be all like:
And, hey, I think we all owe Bey a huge THANK YOU for finally putting an end to all of the Miley Cyrus headlines. Keep it up, Bey. You’re fucking amazing.