When life gives you lemons, listen to Beyoncé’s Lemonade
As the music industry becomes more streaming-based, more artists are conforming to the new demands of this business model. Beyoncé’s 9-time Grammy nominated album ‘Lemonade’ was released into Spotify and Apple Music on Tuesday, appeasing fans three years after its initial release.
The album was originally released on Tidal, a music streaming platform that was founded by Beyoncé’s husband, famed rapper Jay-Z. Due to the prices being higher than those of subscriptions to other platforms and the unfamiliarity with the platform, many fans resorted to Youtube and piracy to listen.
The release of “Lemonade” onto Apple Music and Spotify came just days after the surprise drop of her new “Homecoming: the Live Album” Netflix documentary that highlighted her Coachella performance in 2018. The album features live versions of her most popular tracks and performances, renditions of her old hits with Destiny’s Child and remixes of Hip Hop classics.
The re-releasing and recycling of older music is no foreign practice to the music industry. Rapper and Rhythm and Blues singer Drake re-released his record-setting album, “So Far Gone” onto Spotify a decade after its initial 2009 release. The album reached a No. 5 spot on Billboard’s 200 after its release this year, highlighting the potential profitability found in re-releases.
Baylor journalism professor, author and gospel music specialist Robert Darden said he believes the decision by Beyoncé and her marketing team to release “Lemonade” into the mainstream was a wise investment that may curate renewed interest in the album.
“Im sure her marketing folks said ‘the time is right. We have exhausted whatever sales through the previous route. Now let’s take a different route and take it to a broader audience,’” Darden said. “This may be a way to expand the market by taking a little less money, through the mainstream market. This was an investment.”
In addition to the album itself, Beyoncé released a visual album to accompany each song during its initial release. The visual album was highly acclaimed by both the entertainment and music industries, and some believe it sparked a movement towards more visualization in music.
In an interview with Forbes magazine in March, Matthew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father and founder of Music World Entertainment, a Houston-based label and one of the world’s leading music and entertainment conglomerates, predicts that the album/visual album combination illustrates the future of music.
“Every artist is not a visual artist. A lot of that has to do with imaging the concept,” Knowles said. “I believe the trend, the trend in the future is you will not hear music, you will see music.”
All eyes are on Beyoncé as her fans across the world stream her newly released content.
Atlanta junior, Jillian Price, has been an avid listener of the artist ever since her feature on Missy Elliot’s 1998 album “Da Real World.”
“I think people are super excited that Lemonade has finally been released, but at the same time, I think people are hyped about the release of the documentary on Netflix and the Live Album on Apple Music,” Price said. “Her releasing three things at once just shows how much of a queen she is.”
Between her multi-project releases, her use of storytelling visualizations and her repurposing of older music, Beyoncé has approached a new form of music marketing strategy.
“Each time an artist can repurpose any kind of art, and get paid for it again, its a sound business decision,” Darden said. “(She’s) an artist who is using all the colors in her palette to tell the story.”