Queen of Pop Music…and Marketing
The Queen Bee has done it again. (I’m talking about her majesty, Queen Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, of course.) An epic Super Bowl performance, the release of a clothing line, a world tour kickoff, a remarkable HBO special, and new #1 album in under four months has required nothing less than some genius marketing tactics.
February 6th, 2016: Beyoncé releases her new single, “Formation.” The next day, she performs “Formation” at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, stirring up some controversy with a Black Panther tribute. Immediately after her performance, The Formation World Tour is announced as a 15-second TV spot and on her Instagram page. (How my phone blew up at that moment, let me count the ways!)
April 16th: Bey announces that her “short film” Lemonade will air on HBO the following week. She keeps the Beyhive (her fans) on their toes, dropping only cryptic clues as to what it will be about.
April 23rd: The 60-minute visual album airs. It is, essentially, an hour-long music video divided into eleven “acts”: intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope, and redemption. The piece wows fans with a stunning combination of brand new songs, controversial lyrics, a new eclectic sound, intermittent prose and poetry, never-before-seen home movie clips, Serena Williams and other celebs, and by touching on the Black Lives Matter movement featuring the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
On the same day, Lemonade the album drops. For the first 24 hours, the album is available exclusively on the music streaming service Tidal which is owned by none other than Beyonce’s husband and hip hop mogul/rap superstar, Jay Z. iTunes and Pandora follow.
Not only is this her most epic album to date, it is the most buzzed about. The album features huge names including Jack White, The Weeknd, and Kendrick Lamar. More so, Beyonce and Jay Z’s marriage has been a hot conversation topic all over the world, and the Internet.
Dishes smashed on the counter from our last encounter / Pictures snatched out the frame, I scratched out your name – “Sandcastles”
Looking at my watch he shoulda been home / Today I regret the night I put that ring on
…He only wants me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair – “Sorry”
Speculation about who “Becky” is drives fans nuts, causing them to attack the social media pages of Rita Ora, Iggy Azalea, and designer Rachel Roy, which, in turn, creates an even greater spotlight on Beyoncé and Lemonade.
April 27th: Less than a week after Lemonade’s release, Beyoncé kicks off the Formation World Tour in Miami.
May 1st: Beyonce’s Lemonade is her sixth consecutive album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. She also makes history as the FIRST woman to chart 12 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, passing Taylor Swift’s 11.
Forbes writer Russ D’Souza concludes,
“What was already a $200 million-plus tour might cement Beyoncé as one of the biggest touring acts in the world. What may be most impressive about Beyoncé’s campaign, though, is the type of discussions she has started beyond the surface-level buzz… Not only did Beyoncé pull off promotional stunts that only of someone her magnitude could, she has done so with meaning in a way that nobody else has.”
May 28th: As soon as I post this blog post, I get to leave to see Beyoncé take the stage, for the first time in my life, at Chicago’s Soldier Field.