"Uh-oh" would have a new meaning for Beyonce`
By Eddie J., contributing writer
When you’re at the top of your game with few blemishes or scandals, people start to wait for you to slip up. It’s clear that’s the case with Beyonce`, considering the ridiculous frenzy her singing on top of a track at President Obama’s 2nd inauguration caused. Despite that so-called “blunder,” Beyonce` is about to begin a sold-out tour without a new album out. Here are 5 things Beyonce` would have to do if she really wanted to flush her career down her gold and marble toilet. This list started out as satirical, but when you think it about it, it could really apply. #5 Release an Album of "Bow Down"-esque Music
In light of the new sampler, hype has surrounded the "King B's" name as promo for her upcoming album continues. Although some of the Bees are living, I honestly don't think any fan of hers could endure an entire album or concert of Rihanna-styled club anthems. We know she's gonna have ballads and blah blah blah, but if every other track consisted of something as ratchet as the teaser, people would live for a week, only to live in the glory days of "4" the following week later. But this would only be the beginning of the end. After she releases an album of crappy hood anthems, Beyonce` would have to... #4 Start Having "Accidental" Body Exposure
Nipple slips on Good Morning America, naked pictures or videos of her and Jay-Z conceiving their next child Red Oak, hell, even Instagram bathroom pictures of her mooning the world would start to build icing on the cake, cake, cake, cake. The snowball would only get bigger, not because we view her as an innocent virgin who gave immaculate birth to Blue Ivy in a lowly Texas manger, but because legends who didn't become such by being trashy don't usually mix well with audiences when their trashiness ensues. Sure, Madonna can flash audiences while on stage, but that's because she's been
doing that since she started. Beyonce` couldn't afford to cross over into the depths of "MediaTakeOut chic" as a mother and icon in the making at age 31. Especially since she's now managing herself; without a Mathew Knowles (AKA "Knowl-ivia Pope") figure in her corner, it would probably be impossible for her to turn that into a PR positive. I mean think about it, if someone like Celine Dion accidentally exposed themselves in pictures or onstage, do you think all would be forgiven? Case in point, Janet Jackson. Looking at her album sales after her Superbowl “Nipplegate” in 2004, it appears the answer is no. So now that the queen has lost her “good” image appeal, the next thing to do is...
HBO promo poster
Some fans were concerned that Beyonce's upcoming HBO documentary "Life is But a Dream" would be a flat regurgitation of previous behind-the-scenes short films by the star, but the new trailer released today by Yahoo! News is very promising as Beyonce` discusses the artistic traps of being a commercial artist and concealing a pregnancy while promoting her 2011 album, "4." Her comments about her struggle to sustain artistry while having big sales confirm my long-held theories and thoughts about the design of her discography (See "The Discography Analyzed"
). In short, her two middle albums ("B'Day" & "I Am...Sasha Fierce") served to expand her audience and make her an ever-marketable figure, but it has subsequently bit her in her fantastic butt, as those albums generated a fan-base that will expect her to continue to make the same type of music. Back on the subject of the documentary, this trailer makes me even more eager for the premiere on February 16th :) You can check out the trailer below.
Ninja Beyonce` slicin' up peppers, circa 2000.
Beyonce’s current album “4” has had a difficult time commercially. Although it debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, its 1st week sales were the lowest of Beyonce’s solo career with only 310,000 units, compared to “I Am…Sasha Fierce” at 482,000. After more than a month, “4” eventually reached platinum (1 million copies) status. The promotional singles from the album, “Run the World (Girls),” & “Best Thing I Never Had” have had only moderate success. These results are a surprising turn for the usually chart-topping artist and many have wondered if Beyonce herself is concerned about the numbers. In an interview with Reuters Magazine, the pop-star discussed her approach to recording “4”: "This album was a labor of love. It was not about singles…I felt like the emotion, live instruments and just soul (were) missing out of the music industry; especially the popular music that's out. I wanted to bring it back to the music I grew up listening to. It's like a mixture of the '90s and the '70s and rock-n-roll." Much of music media has applauded Beyonce` for attempting to focus on the artistic side of things as opposed to concentrating on commercial appeal, but some fans are worried if the dismal numbers will have a negative impact on Beyonce’s career and have begun to theorize on why the sales aren’t stellar.
An often discussed theory on fan sites, message boards & blogs is that the absence of Mathew Knowles as manager is a profound factor. In March of this year, it was announced that Knowles (who is also Beyonce’s father) would no longer be her manager and that Beyonce` was opting to manage herself. Creative and entrepreneurial growth has since been given as a reason for the decision by the singer. Some commenting fans online have suggested that Beyonce` may not have the skill or the time to self-manage and is liable to make ill-informed choices that will lead (or has led) to the consequence of poor sales. “It’s difficult balancing the business and the creativity,” Beyonce` says as she discussed self-management with Reuters, “Having to balance the two is really hard and really making sure that I'm still doing my job, which is to be the performer and the entertainer and not have to do everyone else's job so that mine doesn't suffer; that's been a challenge…I'm sleeping with my blackberry, I'm having dreams that I'm answering e-mails, like it's that far!"
Beyonce` made similar comments during her MTV special “Year of 4” in June:
-“It was very risky for me to step out on my own.”
-“I have budgets to approve and people to hire, and a million things going on in the same week. I’m one human being. It’s a lot. Independence is not easy, but it’s going to get easier…As I get my team, it’s going to get easier.”
-“It’s very difficult managing myself. Every night when I go to sleep I ask hundreds of questions, but I’m learning so much, and I’m making mistakes and I’m learning from them. I’m not afraid to make a mistake, I embrace mistakes. They make you who you are. I’ve never been afraid to fall, and I say all these things, but now I’m getting tested.”
Management decisions may be the root of the awkward sales figures, but the reason isn’t known indefinitely. Promotion, sound, timing and many other things can affect the success of a single or album, but it’s clear that Beyonce` is sweating bullets over it. My opinion and synopsis? If I was Beyonce`, I wouldn’t sweat over it either. I don’t think the figures indicate anything about Beyonce’s career. “Run the World” didn’t work because it was melodically jagged and hard to sing along with. When songs are hard to sing along with, it’s hard for them to reach the top 40. Plus, the music was a recycled track from Major Lazor’s “Pon De Floor.” “Best Thing” has performed better on the chart than “World,” but has yet to reach the top ten. I’m not sure why that is, other than the fact it’s not techno-pop. The poor-charting singles are the only reason why “4” slowly went platinum, so in short, I feel the music being a cut away from the norm is the core reason for the sales. I feel Beyonce’s self-management is behind some of the last-minute promotion details, such as the day-of notification of the “Best Thing” video premiere.
In relation to her management choices, I have confidence that Beyonce` will quickly get the hang of self-management, and I would prefer her to self manage versus hiring a stranger. However, I’m concerned that the additional responsibility may be tiresome and overwhelming in the long-run and I think it’s pertinent for her to hire a staff to assist her in some of the duties. What do you bees think about her sales and management?
Congratulations to Beyonce`! Her latest album, "4," was certified platinum (one-million copies sold) by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) on August 1st. Below is a screen shot of the certification on the RIAA website (click to expand).
Columbia/Epic Label Group Chairman Rob Stringer recently gave an interview with Billboard.com, addressing the multiple rumors regarding the label response to Beyonce’s release of “4.” “The story about us being unhappy with the record and stuff is just not true…We’re really, really happy with it…the numbers are very good everywhere. We thought the record was great from the beginning, and some of the stuff that is happening now is vindication of it.” Since April, rumors have swirled that executives from Columbia Records (Beyonce’s home label) were concerned about the poor chart and sales performance of “4’s” debut single, “Run the World” and desired a new release date and reconstruction of the entire album, particularly after its 3-week early online leak. “We didn’t want the leaks to happen,” Stringer says, “but there was never any discussion of this album moving. It has always been that date (June 28)…there was never conversation about pushing it back, bringing it forward, changing the songs-none of it. Those conversations never existed.”
Looking at the multidimensional and massive marketing of other 2011
album releases, like Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” fans assumed that“4” would be packaged with loads of bonus features and other related products to retain sales. Stringer discussed the long-term promotional plans. “The main concentration for the next few months is to get this record working everywhere. The touring plan is extensive. The promo plan is extensive. We also know we’re going to put out a lot of singles and shoot a lot of videos from the record. There’s enough positive information that we think we can work the record for another 18 months, and hopefully over that period we’ll all be proved right that this is an important record and a commercially successful record.” “4”sold 310,000 copies its 1st week and debuted at #1 on the U.S. chart. Hopefully Stringer’s comments will put the rumors to rest.
According to an article on Billboard Magazine's website, Beyonce's new solo album, "4", has sold 310,000 copies in its 1st week (from Nielsen SoundScan statistics). Although "4" is the singer's lowest selling debut (Dangerously in Love=317,000, B'Day=541,000, I Am...Sasha Fierce=482,000), the album will still rank as the #1 album for the week. The 1st 3 singles from the album, "Run the World (Girls)," "1+1" and "Best Thing I Never Had" have all performed sparingly, which may be the cause of "4's" weaker debut, as suggested by the article. Other possible impacting factors are the 3-week early online leak and the fact that overall albums sales have decreased at a rate of 8% per year since 1999. Here are the links to Billboard's article and research about the decline of record sales:(http://www.billboard.com/news/beyonce-notches-4th-billboard-200-no-1-with-1005264652.story#/news/beyonce-notches-4th-billboard-200-no-1-with-1005264652.story)