Friday, December 13, 2013

Breaking the business - Beyoncé style

If you're on the internet, then you must have heard by now that Beyoncé released a new album on iTunes last night without any prior notice or inklings that she's even working on an album. Yeah, the internets were shooken last night so much that even BuzzFeed had to put together a list:
The Best Of The Internet’s Reaction To Beyoncé’s New Album
This article actually does a good job at explaining how this surprise album drop changes things from a cultural & business perspective:
Beyonce Broke the Music Business
However, I don't exactly agree that this destroys the music industry. Afterall, this album is still relased by a major label and there's tons of production that went into the music, video, etc. If anything, I think it validates what major labels can do in terms of production, packaging, etc. However, this does totally break the music marketing business. The article above describes some of what goes into marketing an album and judging by the fact that nobody knew this was coming, including radio stations, etc, the traditional marketing channels used to hype up a new release were definitely thrown to the side.

I think what this means, as the article alludes to, is that other major artists can really break the mold and get away from all of the steps usually taken before an album is released. This takes the idea of artists (and brands) directly connecting with their fans and takes it one step further...not only are they directly broadcasting their personal photos and activities on social media, they're directly delivering their product (music) to fans. They get to listen to it on their own and select the songs they like. They're not getting the biased takes of music marketing which selects the single and pushes it through Top 40 radio.

What Beyoncé is not as extreme as what some other artists like Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails have done since you can't just decide what to've gotta pay $15.99. It's also not as direct as what Louis CK and Aziz Ansari did when they released their stand-up acts for purchase directly from their own've still gotta go through iTunes for Beyoncé's release. However, I think this may be an appropriate channel. It definitely cuts out a lot of the middle-men, but artists can still rely on their labels for production work and the actual sales. None of it will ever come with the sort of surprise that Beyoncé hit the internet with last night, but artists will definitely be changing their business tunes very soon.

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