Wow. Way to keep things under wraps, Bey.
This morning at around midnight, pop/R&B megastar Beyoncé set the music industry and the Internet ablaze with news of a surprise, self-titled album release—proving that even in the age of instant information, leaks are preventable, and that sometimes the best press strategy is no press at all.
And this is not just any album. In what Bey is calling a “visual album,” Beyoncé includes a music video for each of its tracks, plus a few extras—17 music videos and 14 songs total. The project is currently available in full exclusively on iTunes as a digital release.
In a press release sent out just after the album dropped, Beyoncé explained:
“I see music. It’s more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to the music.”
Before now, the rumor mill had been suggesting that Bey would be delivering a follow up album to 4 sometime in 2014, as predicated by a major tour announcement. Instead, the Beyoncé camp bypassed the usual press outlets completely, giving no real advance notice and releasing no early singles. Bey explains: “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”
Apparently, they’ve been keeping this under wraps for quite some time; the press release indicates the project has been in the works for a year and a half. The record also comes with a long list of collaborators, including Drake, Frank Ocean, husband Jay Z, and the couple’s little girl Blue Ivy.
So while the media outlets run to keep up, fans can now hear (and see) the visual album Beyoncé in full. According to Billboard, the record will be available on iTunes exclusively for a week in advance of a wider retail release, tentatively set for Dec. 21.