As many are aware, music sales have declined over the past decade, because of new technology. However, this drop in sales doesn’t mean that people have just stopped caring about music! We’ve simply started favoring platforms such as online streaming, with websites like Spotify. While these methods are much easier and cheaper for the customer, they don’t provide a substantial profit for the artist. This means that artist’s marketing teams are forced to come up with ways to make their product worth buying.
This is where social media can help. According to a social media survey in 2013 by Pew Research Center, Facebook is used by 84% of all internet users age 18-29 and of those 63% use it daily. Twitter is used by 31% of those 18-29 and of those 46% use it at least once a day, and Instagram is used by 37% of people age 18-29, with 57% of those using it daily.
Beyoncé realized social media has a massive effect on customer loyalty with her “brand,” and recently used social media to command the charts. She said:
“It’s about connecting with your customers online and getting them to spread the word …Worry less about what you need to do and worry much more about what your customers want and what their social behavior is like online. That will help you craft a strategy.”
The pop star has established a strong social media presence with her 11.6 million followers and over 600 posts on Instagram, as well as her very popular Tumblr page. She also has Twitter, Facebook, an official website, and a member-only “Beyhive” blog, that is supposed to be more personal with fans.
Because Beyoncé, she was able to release her self-titled fifth album on iTunes with no warning other than the shocking announcement; a short video posted on her Instagram with the caption “Surprise!”
This interview discusses Beyoncé’s approach:
In an interview with a Student at JMU, Anna Gantt said “I bought the album at like 2 am (laughter)… I couldn’t resist.” When I asked her how she heard about the album, she stated “I actually saw a tweet from my cousin freaking out. It had the link to the album on iTunes, so I started listening and watching to the previews on iTunes.” This was the case with many people, since the 14 song/ 17 video “visual” album was only immediately available on iTunes and no streaming sites until much later.
“Within twelve hours of the announcement, Beyoncé and Beyoncé (the album) had been mentioned at least 1.2 million times,” by average fans, as well as some big celebrities.
The album released at #1 on the billboards charts and “More than 80,000 people bought the album within three hours of its release, temporarily overloading iTunes, and 430,000 albums were sold the first day.(Bloomberg Business Week)” Since she released the album on a Thursday at midnight instead of the standard of Monday at midnight, the next 3 days counted for the whole first week. Even still, it “sold 617,000 copies though the rest of the week, a record for Beyoncé as the highest number of sales in the first week, right in front of “B’Day (her second album) with 541,000 copies sold the first week,” even with double the time to accumulate sales. The 617,000 albums were through iTunes alone, which also set a record for the largest week ever for an album on iTunes. In total, though all mediums, Columbia reports that the set sold 828,773 copies in its first three days. Also, just five days after the surprise release, the new album had sold over 1 million copies and went platinum!