In the entertainment industry, everything is calculated. Even the most authentic act has at least one major element of a strategic plan, either by the artist and his or team, or from the studio or label behind them. Everything is a move, be it a smiling photo at the park with the kids or an easily papped buttcheek. And, in the age of Twitter, you can see every feed littered with Please and Try and Beg. Buy my album. See my movie. Only four days until this and that. Spread the word. Vote for me.
And that’s why what Beyonce has done is more than just an interesting move in terms of selling an album. It’s a revolution. The anti-promotion promotion. By eschewing publicity, she earned more publicity than any other album this year. Where Lady Gaga and Britney Spears failed, despite an inordinate amount of effort on both sides, Beyonce has succeeded in business without really trying.
And it’s incredible.
In the wee hours of last night, Beyonce’s latest album, her first since the birth of daughter Blue Ivy, gave new meaning to the word “dropped” as it literally just dropped on fans, appearing without so much as a hint, putting to rest any other artist’s faux-tragic “leak” sob story for the rest of time.
“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans,” she said . “I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out.I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”
In a world where Jen Garner and her daughters can be seen at the park every day leading up to the Oscars, when I’m not sure what we’ve seen more of—Miley Cyrus’s tongue or her labia, when even the flawless Jennifer Lawrence can be questioned for taking her “aw shucks” act on the road to promote her latest, Beyonce just dominated every headline on every website without so much as a second appearance from Pizza Pants.
Well played, Sasha Fierce. Well played.