Did you know that Beyonce had been planning on releasing an album today? No? Join the club. Today the singer both announced and released her latest record, simply titled BEYONCE, and it’s only available on iTunes (until December 20th, when it will be released in CD format as well). It features loads of guest artists, including Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Rowland, Frank Ocean, Drake, and more, and on top of that each of the 17 songs has an accompanying music video.
Normally this would be a huge deal in the marketing world. It’s a big album with big stars, and usually these records are promoted endlessly for months on end with new singles, talk show appearances, giveaways, and giant posters in every store announcing its upcoming release. Music marketing can be so overwhelming sometimes it seems like we’ve heard everything there is about the album before it’s even out.
So for a change of pace Beyonce went with the “no-marketing marketing” approach. She didn’t publicize it early or give many hints about whether she was even working on a new record, and then drops it on us immediately just in time for Christmas shopping. And really, it’s a genius idea. It’s unheard of in the music industry, but that’s why she’s now getting so much attention. When artists start promoting an album in June that will be released in December, we tend to forget about it by the time it’s actually released. So even though she didn’t market it beforehand, the fact that it’s such a surprise is, in fact, a form of advertising.
The shame of this type of “surprise” advertising is that I think it can only work a handful of times and with certain people. If anyone else tries this method in the near future it won’t be as exciting and won’t get the same post-release publicity because it’s been done before. And if someone less famous than mega-star Beyonce tried it, their album would likely get lost in the shuffle and forgotten, thus defeating the purpose of the “no marketing” strategy. I’m not sure who thought of this idea–whether it was Beyonce herself or her publicity team–but I think it was a very smart move.