Friday the 13th is a date known for its unpredictability, and there’s no better example than what went down in pop culture this week!
At the stroke of midnight on December 13th, Beyoncé reclaimed her throne with a Christmas surprise – a full-length self-titled audio/visual album, made available exclusively on iTunes. Beyoncé is a music experience unlike any other, with 14 new songs (featuring collaborations with her husband Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, Drake, and her baby girl, Blue Ivy) and 17 music videos paired with the tracklisting (bridging the music with the images that inspired the songs, and vice versa). The physical CD/DVD set will be in stores next week, just in time for holiday shopping.
This release is groundbreaking due to the void of any promotional marketing. As Beyoncé said in this video feature on the making of the album, “I didn’t want to release my music that 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. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.” Her perspective and plan-of-action, from her determination to maintain her artistic vision and control to having faith in her connection with her fans, is a major relief from the overexposure that we’ve seen from popular music artists this year.
And it worked. Beyoncé sold a remarkable 80K within the first three hours, and remains at #1 on iTunes charts worldwide. The buzz about Beyoncé’s sneak attack generated over 1.2 million tweets in twelve hours. All eyes and ears are on Beyoncé in this last month of the year. She started 2013 on top (with her performances at the Inauguration and the Superbowl), stayed in sight with her World Tour, and now skyrockets and finishes it out on top. There’s no denying that woman knows how to make an impact and is a genius at what she does, and even more, she has single-handedly instigated a gamechanging move for the music industry.
Cheers to you, Beyoncé, for daring to create and release your music on your own terms. Just when I thought the industry was getting stale and stagnant, you fought back with an unprecedented, risky move to remind us what music is really all about – innovation and change – and to challenge other artists to follow suit. With that, you just made me really excited for 2014.
Who runs the world? Queen B! Bow down.
*MUST LISTEN: “***Flawless“, a female empowerment anthem, which samples Nigerian author’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s TED Talk speech, “We Should All Be Feminists”.