The greatest trick the devil ever played was letting Beyoncé fans believe that after countless magazine covers and a world tour, Queen Bey wasn’t dropping an album. Au contraire, Mon fraire! On December 13th 2013 at 12am ET, Beyoncé dropped her highly anticipated fifth album, Beyoncé. No single. No promo. No hint that she was even thinking of dropping an album. All she did was post ‘surprise’ and an iTunes link on her Instagram page. Three hours later her album sold 80,000 units. Three days later, her album sold over 800,000 units worldwide. Almost three months later, it sold 2.7 million units worldwide. And because of Mrs. Carter’s bravery, many of your favorite artists are trying to attempt the same stunt: Lil Wayne, Coldplay, Pharrell, Kid Cudi, etc. The question now is will any other artist have the same success as Bey or will they get hit with a dose of ‘no one gives a damn’?
Lately artists have been toying with the ‘Beyoncé’ idea and just dropping new material out of the blue. Kid Cudi recently attempted it and received better success than he did with his last LP. So will this idea work for the rest of the industry? Hell No. To successfully pull off the ‘Beyoncé’, you as an artist need to have a stable fan-base, cult like following online, or both. If Lil’ Kim drops an album with no warning tomorrow, it would be ignored like when Lindsay Lohan ignores what she learned in rehab. Not one single care would be formed. However, it’s not solely all about the fan-base. It’s also about what we learned in Econ 104, supply and demand. Ever since Beyoncé graced the Superbowl stage, her fans have been on pins and needles waiting on a new album. If Rihanna dropped an album tonight, it wouldn’t do well. Why? Rihanna drops an album every time she sneezes, her supply is greater than her demand.
The one great thing for any artist that does the ‘Beyoncé’ is that marketing is one less thing that you have to worry about. Interscope Records spent about $25 million on marketing Lady Gaga’s Artpop LP. Do you think they recouped that money? Does Birdman pay his producers? Dropping an album out of the blue means your marketing is word of mouth. Now if your fan-base is shaky, it would be hard to do word of mouth if there is no one to listen or care about your release. So here’s the bottom line for any artist thinking about pulling a ‘Beyoncé;’ remember not only do you have to have fans but fans that are anticipating your new release. There is nothing more humbling than letting your ten million Twitter followers know you just dropped an album out of the blue; only to have a mere ten thousand of them actually turn around and buy it. Personally, I think only a handful of mainstream artists can pull this off like: Adele, Outkast, Coldplay, and Taylor Swift.
But in the spirit of the idea, who are the artists that you are patiently awaiting to pull the ‘Beyoncé’? Me, I’m still waiting on Timbaland & Magoo. Don’t judge me. I’m still trying to up jumps da boogie because da boogie jumps me. -Pooh Bailey