The surprise release of Beyoncé’s new “visual album” has started quite a buzz. The album, which was released last Friday, December 13th, is the fastest-selling album on iTunes ever. With over one million copies sold in less than a week, the album is already platinum.
The media seems to be more fascinated by the unique approach to this album release rather than the actual content of the album. Beyoncé’s “no-marketing” method is being called “innovative” and a “breakthrough” for the music industry, but was her marketing approach really a “no-marketing” approach? Would Beyoncé have been able to create this much hype about the album so quickly before the invention of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram? Absolutely not.
For Beyoncé and other A-list celebrity artists who have millions of fans and followers watching their every move on social media, marketing has become easier and more accessible than ever before. Not only is Twitter and Instagram a way to mass market but it is a way to mass market at no cost.
So, this surprise-effect method may work for superstars, but it is not really a viable option for indie artists who don’t receive much social media attention. Marketing is and always will be essential for the success of an album release whether you are a struggling indie artist who needs months of expensive campaigning or you are an A-lister who can reach millions of followers with one quick tweet. Beyoncé simply took advantage of her social media capabilities in a tactical way. With her target market literally at her fingertips, she was able to get the word out about her album with the click of a button. On top of that, Beyoncé chose not to make individual songs available for purchase on iTunes. Fans could only purchase the full album for $15.99. This tactic also proved to be an incredibly smart move, as fans were far too curious to not buy the album once she made the surprise announcement about its release.
Beyoncé’s album release was undoubtedly a huge success. However, it was by no means a “no-marketing” approach. In fact, it was an incredibly well thought out marketing plan that clearly has her fans and the music industry in awe.