It is no secret that Beyonce’s marketing campaigns are flawless. What does it take to make an album, create a film/musical/series of music videos for it, release it on HBO, have the whole world watch it for free, solely release your album on Tidal, start your tour within the same week of the drop, AND be a human being? A great team with the ability to plan and execute flawlessly, no pun.
Lemonade, the visual album, had no release date when the single “Formation” was surprisingly released on February 6, 2016. Prior to that, Beyonce had not released an album since December of 2014. While remaining silent about her endeavors for this new album, she released a single right before her second Super Bowl halftime performance and made sure that the visual addressed the controversial racial injustices of America.
Further building her buzz, she had all of her dancers dress like Black Panthers for the Super Bowl halftime event. This threw the world in a frenzy and even had people come out to protest against her. Once the halftime performance was over, she announced the “Formation World Tour” to an average of 111.9 million TV viewers (the third largest audience in TV history). Within the first two weeks of sales, Formation sold out two New York shows, two London show, and added a second Chicago night. This was all without any indication of an album being released.
Less than two months later she announces an activewear brand called Ivy Park, along with its’ partnership with TopShop (an established UK clothing line/brand). The release entailed a visual story explaining her training at this park when she was younger and a series of photos with her in her line. STILL NO ALBUM RELEASE DATE!
As soon as she had everyone at the edge of their seat wondering what all of this could be leading up to, her marketing team along with HBO released a 5-7 second clip of “Lemonade”. There was no indication as to what it could’ve been. A short film? A music video? A documentary? The album everyone was waiting for? The release was announced and set for April 23rd, leaving a week for suspense and anticipation. As the date grew closer a longer promotional clip was released, and it still kept much of what it was a secret. It was definitely a friendly reminder that the date for release was approaching.
HBO created a perfect marriage between Beyonce’s “Lemonade” event and promotion their HBO Now service by offering all viewers a free weekend of HBO. Not only did this allow any and everyone to watch the “Lemonade” event, it also gave people access to HBO from Friday-Sunday for the series premieres of shows like “Game of Thrones” & “Silicon Valley”.
“TV by the Numbers reports that Beyoncé’s film pulled in 787,000 viewers in the 18-49 demographic.” – Spin Magazine
Not bad for Queen B! Lemonade, the visual concept album, was a 58 minute long film that went through the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of her relationship with infamous rapper and mogul Jay-Z. Being that Beyonce and Jay-Z had been incredibly private about their relationship (aside from the 2014 elevator incident that went public without their consent), it was a shock for most to see and hear about her struggles with him. As if that wasn’t marketable enough, she made certain to focus on the beauty of black culture and her heritage. The visual album celebrated black women throughout her entire short film, and shed light on the pains of black women who have lost their sons due to police brutality and racial injustice. Showcasing many sides of the artist herself, it was undoubtedly the most innovative piece of work that Beyonce has put together. Directly after the release of the visual album, the album was available via Tidal and Tidal only.
“Within hours of the album’s release, Tidal, the only place you can listen to “Lemonade” for now, shot towards the top of Apple’s App Store rankings. It was number 12 as of Sunday morning, even though it wasn’t even listed in the top apps list before “Lemonade” dropped. It reached as high as number 3 by Sunday afternoon.” – Tech Insider
If that wasn’t enough, Lemonade went on to break the internet. With a record of 4.1 million tweets in under 48 hours, Entertainment Weekly states that Lemonade’s twitter mentions “soared from 1.8 thousand tweets per minute to 9.2 thousand from roughly 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The uproar has declined in recent days, but holds steady at 450 tweets per minute nearly 48 hours later.”
It has been less than a week since the release of Lemonade on Saturday, and she has already kicked off her “Formation” tour on the 27th. Needless to say…the entire marketing layout for her release was a huge success. Setting Beyonce apart from any other artist of her time, she has continuously found new ways to reset the bar and innovate the release of music in the digital age. One thing is for certain, with a marketing team like hers and the ability to somehow keep all of her maneuvers under wraps…she will continue to change the music world.
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