Friday, December 13, 2013

Time Magazine: Why Beyonce released a Secret Album.


Wow..seems the corporations are scrambling and want to know Why and How? This story is about to get more interesting..

Selling music isn’t exactly a new thing. And, for decades, there’s been a fairly established way to do it: send out review copies, schedule interviews and appearances, talk up the release date as much as possible so that the album debuts high on the charts.

And then there’s Beyoncé, the self-titled album released in the wee hours of this morning by Beyoncé Knowles. There was absolutely no prior warning about when it would be landing on iTunes; though it was no secret that the singer had something in the works, between her Super Bowl performance and news reports about video shoots, never did she say that today would be the day.
According to the traditional wisdom of music marketing, that decision would be a terrible one: no anticipation equals no sales.

The traditional strategy was exemplified this year by Miley CyrusBangerz, which was released on the heels of performances, singles, an MTV documentary, an SNL appearance and countless buy-the-album tweets. Beyoncé, on the other hand, only told her social-media followers about the record when it was already available for download.

“Springing [an album] on the world without anybody knowing, that sort of turns decades of music marketing on its head,” says music-industry consultant Mark Mulligan. Research analyst Mike McGuire of Gartner concurs: “Think about the decades of A&R practice that kind of got thrown out the window!” he says. “I’m hard-pressed to find a precedent for it.”
So why did she do it?

In a press release about the record, she described being “bored” with releasing music the usual way and wanting to release the music “when it’s ready” rather than on artificial schedule. And then there’s the fact that, well, it’s already proven to have been a great idea. The album is  headed toward No. 1 on the Billboard chart and sold 80,000 copies in the first three hours after its midnight ET release.

“There is a growing trend of big artists doing something a bit different digitally, knowing it will get an amount of media interest,” says Mulligan. The newness of the tactic is its own benefit; there’s so much more new music than there are dollars being spent on music that it’s necessary for an artist to do something to break through the background noise. There’s also the issue of leaks, he adds, which is a factor Beyoncé’s team pointed to in describing the Beyoncé release strategy as a “fully designed preventative plan.” Leaks can detract from some of the big-bang-ness of an album release — one reason, Mulligan suggests, why Beyoncé may be “taking a page out of Apple‘s book,” by tightly controlling access to her new product.

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