Last week, to almost every body's surprise, Beyoncé dropped a new, self-titled album/ video compilation on ITunes. Target was not happy and will not sell the CD when it is released. I went to the Rolling Stone website and discovered there was some weird battle going on between the Beyoncé fans and the Taylor Swift fans. This made me laugh since I don't listen to either one of those lady's music, it's Pop, here today and gone tomorrow. I got another big laugh from some guy named Steve Stoute who published something on Linkdin. Evidently Led Zeppelin is finally releasing their body of work on Spotify. He figures Beyoncé was smarter by using ITunes, you know, making more money. I think he's wrong. Led Zeppelin wrote their music about 50 years ago and it's still popular, and it wasn't Pop. You don't need a studio filled with electronics to duplicate their music. They have created not only music, but durability. While she may make oodles of money from this album, she minimized the possibility of a long term effect. Down loadable music becomes forgettable music because something new is going to be available next week and it only takes a very short time to download it.
One of the things I found interesting about Beyoncé's surprise was that evidently you needed to buy the whole package at one time. Single song sales usually tend to build album sales since most of a musician's fans will buy the album, but a hell of a lot more people will buy single songs, you know, the hits. Like your great aunt Mabel in Oshkosh who hears one song and falls in love with it. Chances are she's not going to buy the entire album. Why should she waste the money when she only really likes one song? This whole package deals sounds to me a lot like a bad Hollywood movie. You know what I'm talking about. Those films that don't have a leg to stand on, let alone legs to walk. They make all of their money in that first weekend and then disappear. From a marketing standpoint, I'd say forcing your audience to buy the entire album up front is bad business sense. In order for that to work every song needs to be a diamond and all of those diamonds need to make up one hell of a crown of jewels. Historically speaking there are only a handful of albums which have actually succeeded in pulling that off.
I'm sure someone, somewhere, thought this idea was going to go off like gangbusters and it did sell over 600,000 copies right off the bat, however it's the long term sales which are important. If, down the road, listeners find they can begin purchasing the album a song at a time, people are going to ask "what's this shit about?" Especially if they paid full price for something which only has five or six songs on it that they like. Good move or bad move? Who's going to really make out in the end? I'd say probably Led Zeppelin. Only time will tell us if Beyoncé dropped a golden egg or a turd.