Beyonce is known as “Queen Bey” for a reason.
She is the 5th most followed account on Instagram with over 68 million followers, she has one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time with her husband Jay-Z and with over 100 million digital songs sold and over 100 million albums sold (not including another 60 million sold with Destiny’s Child), she is one of the most popular solo artists in the world.
When the announcement of Coldplay performing at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show was met with tepid response, the NFL brought in Beyonce like she was the Wolf the cleaner from Pulp Fiction. One call and your problems are solved. Suddenly, it was a must-see event.
She has a history of releasing her music and news whenever she chooses, with little or no warning and a lot of fanfare. Before the Super Bowl, she released a new song and after the halftime show, she announced a World Tour the billion-plus people tuning into the game. Suddenly the trending topic online wasn’t about the game or Peyton Manning, it was Beyonce.
When she surprise-released her eponymous album in 2013, it sold over 825,000 copies in the first 3 days and became the fastest selling album ever on iTunes.
On Saturday, after a one hour special on HBO, she did it again. With no promotion, announcements, or warning she released her sixth album “Lemonade” with just one tweet and an Instagram post:
And nobody really noticed. Oh, wait, no. Everyone noticed:
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) April 24, 2016
This year is now 0 A.L. (After #Lemonade)
— Megan Amram (@meganamram) April 24, 2016
Nearly instantly the album and Beyonce became the most popular worldwide trending topics on Twitter with over 1.5 million tweets using the hashtag #LEMONADE and counting. The title is in reference to the old adage “When life gives you lemons …” and that’s exactly what she did. Rumors swirled about what the album meant, who the songs were about. Certain celebrity chefs were unfairly targetted.
But everyone was talking.
Beyonce has cornered the market in surprise releases and occurrences in a way that only she can and in a way that only social media allows. Social media has taken branding, promotion and entertainment to the next level. Huge moments in history are captured by the medium that covers them. The moon landing would not have had near the effect it did if it were broadcast on radio and not television, where it had over 125 million viewers.
Now we’re not comparing Lemonade to the moon landing but merely pointing to the evolution of media and how it changes the culture. Print gave way to radio, which gave way to television, which is giving way to the internet which branches off into social media. Social media has given Beyonce the ability to reach nearly 70 million fans and gives those fans and followers alike a way to experience something together. What’s more is the reach of the post goes well beyond Beyonce’s followers as the release of the album becomes an event that permeates everything. There are only a small amount of moments where it seems the whole world is watching.
Between the different music streaming services like Apple, Spotify, Tidal, plus cable cutters and the different video streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HOB Go etc.. it’s the rare event that captures everyone’s attention. In 2016 social media is the only way to get Moon landing numbers. Which Beyonce has done not once, not twice but three times with a single post.
Life gave her Beyonce lemons, she made Lemonade and had the whole world talking.
Whenever she creates something the promotion is no more than the click of the button “Post” and everyone else can do her promotion for her. Queen Bey has the marketing field down:
Just Instagram and go.