Last week Beyoncé brought the music industry to its knees (again) when she released her visual album, Lemonade, with little notice.
There has been lots of hype about the quality of the album and the fact that she has turned buying habits on its head by forcing her fans to have to buy the whole album, not individual songs as is now common-place.
But why should we care? Well, what is really interesting is how she went about releasing the album itself, relying on the power of social media to do her advertising for her.
Firstly a one-hour special aired on HBO on Saturday 23rd April. HBO said that the movie generated 696,000 tweets while it was being aired. Then it became exclusively available to stream on Tidal (a high definition music streaming service). Then it was released onto iTunes and Amazon but as I said before, listeners could only buy it in its entirety.
And it is the power of social media that really drove the sales. Nine hours before HBO Saturday night screening through to midday Monday, Twitter counted 4.1 million tweets related to “Lemonade”. Such figures with no advance advertising or press releases until a few snippets in the days running up to the screening is incredible.
Beyoncé has a fan base of millions and a world-wide reach so pulling this off was relatively easy. Yet forcing her fans to buy the whole album as opposed to being able to buy one or two songs is a break from the norm.
As I write this blog, the album has only been release for 3 days. Yet eight songs are in the iTunes Top 10. It is estimated it sold 200,000 copies in the first day (www.idolator.com) and predicated to sell 600,000 in the first week. At $17.99 for the album, that is $10,794,000 or an incredible £7.4 million.
If ever you needed clear evidence that Social Media was an important part of your business this is it. Consumers live in their social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr and many others that exist.
Taking part and posting anything is a start but a clear social media strategy and how your business is going to fuel conversation is very important – oh and before I forget, social media doesn’t need to generate you direct sales to be a valuable asset to your business.
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