Royalty has always made its own rules and so it is with the self-proclaimed queen of pop. Beyonce caught the music world napping on Friday, dropping her new album on iTunes without warning.
Even her Australian record label, Sony music, was caught unawares.
The self-titled album has 14 tracks and 18 videos and is her fifth solo release.
The album is something of a family affair, as husband and rapper Jay-Z and their 23-month-old daughter Blue Ivy both appear on the songs and videos. Other collaborators include Australia’s songwriting queen Sia, Frank Ocean, Pharrell Williams, Drake and Miguel.
The announcement came via Twitter, as Columbia Records tweeted "#Beyonce The Visual Album. 14 songs 17 videos available now on iTunesMusic", with a link to the album on iTunes.
Without any other announcement, no sneak peeks or album leaks — let alone a viral marketing campaign — the social media went into overdrive and iTunes was sent into meltdown.
"I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it," the singer said in a press statement issued shortly after the release.
"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."
She also gushed: "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," she went on to say in a video posted on Facebook.
Beyonce reflected on the days when Michael Jackson’s Thriller would first come out and how it was "an event", and how she misses that "immersive experience" because people now are only listening to a few seconds of a track on their ipod.
"They don’t really invest in an album, it’s all about the single and the hype."
The release is a far cry from the massive marketing campaigns of many of her peers, including Jay-Z, who promoted his latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail via a global multi-million dollar campaign.
- Sydney Morning Herald