Stunt or portent?

January 7, 2014

Beyonce and Jay Z have had their baby.

Or is that BayB?

So she’s back to work.  And she’s back in the creative groove.

Today Beyonce surprised the world, in Bowie style, by releasing an album completely unannounced.

But not just any album.

A visual album.

And only available on iTunes.

Not only that, although it has clearly benefitted from a massive PR boost its main promotional platform is Facebook.  (Even on Youtube there’s only a trailer of the trailer.)

You can watch the full trailer (part one) here.

And the innovation doesn’t stop there. The album (14 songs) has 17 videos all released simultaneously so that it begs the question; is this an ‘album’ or a movie?

For those of you under a certain age this might not seem all that surprising but to me it’s a portent of the future.

Music, as film, self released, only on a digital platform, using no traditional marketing channels. That’s different, at least for a major recording artist.  Sure Radiohead may have paved the way and a million unsigned artists use these sorts of channels on a  daily basis (Youtube/Soundcloud for example). But this breaks the mould, big style, for one of the world’s most bankable artists.

And you know what? It sounds pretty good too.