If you haven’t heard that #QueenBey released a surprise album on the last Friday the 13th of the year, then you must live on another planet. Even still, beings on another planet are probably aware of it too. No one knew, which is the reason why there were no leaks. Can the NSA keep a well-kept secret like this? Not likely.
Social media exploded as soon as the album was released in the midnight hours of December 13th. This was a highly anticipated album and there are no other artists who could have pulled this off, besides maybe the late Michael Jackson. Yes, Bey is that good.
So, how good is she? Twitter reports there were approximately 1.2 million tweets in twelve hours (peaking at 5300 per minute) concerning the album release. She sold 80,000 albums in three hours on iTunes, generating enough traffic to temporarily crash the site. All of this with absolutely no promotion. The only warning fans had was an Instagram post from the singer which stated the album was now available on iTunes.
Her shrewd use of social media to deliver her message, and product, set a high bar for other artists that will probably not be reached for a very long time. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, one third of American adults under 30 use social media as their primary news source, so marketing the album in this manner to her fan base was a stroke of genius. With her new visual album sitting at number one on iTunes in 100 countries, she has provided her own brand of “shock and awe,” and created an Internet fervor which will not be seen for this type of news for a long time.