Beyonce and Marketing

by Jamie Sanford on January 9, 2014

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Photo via Beyonce’s Instagram.

It’s been almost a month since Beyonce shut down the Internet by releasing an album without having told anyone beforehand. Coined a “visual album,” Beyonce was released to iTunes exclusively and sold over 600,000 copies in 3 days, blowing recent releases by Lady Gaga and Britney Spears out of the water. I’d like to examine a few pieces of this story.

Lack of Promotion

Beyonce has been traveling the world on the Mrs. Carter tour, has dropped a few singles over the year, but it was known that she had recorded material for a new album. The assumption was that the album would release in 2014. Instead, it turned out that Beyonce had written something like 100 songs, chosen the album tracks, and proceeded to film videos for every song on the album all over the world during the span of her tour. Brilliant and sneaky. Beyonce has been quite active on Instagram, keeping in touch with the fans and giving them a glimpse of her personal life, and dropped the news of her new album on Instagram and set it all on fire. After it became available, 80k copies had sold in 3 hours.

The genius of this is that no, Beyonce’s album isn’t a lifechanger, but the entire plan was based on the fact that she is a huge star, people love her, and since they knew NOTHING about the album, everyone went online and bought it immediately to participate in the event that the album became. Britney and Gaga released tons of songs from the albums before they were released, and since they were not that impressive, sales were not there to match. No one had time to find out if Beyonce’s album sucked before they were buying it to join in on the excitement.

Beyonce vs Target

Due to the secretive nature of the project, they didn’t start physical production of the album until very late in the timeline. The album had been available online for a few days already and Target refused to carry it, stating that the exclusivity to iTunes at the start would hinder sales of the physical CD. This was really dumb on their part.

  1. Beyonce went to Walmart, which was selling the album, and gave out gift cards and made people’s days and made herself a lovely news story.
  2. Hello, Target, people who still watch the news and aren’t living their life on the Internet (they do exist), would totally pick up and buy the new Beyonce if they saw it in the store. That you refused to buy this album that had the biggest hype of any album release in AGES was a huge miss.

Content Video is King

The release of music videos for every song was designed for the age of the Internet. Tumblr is HUGE, and it’s all about sharing images and video. The Beyonce videos aren’t all massive productions with huge budgets, but that isn’t the point. They all feature Beyonce. Beyonce is the star. Done and done.

Changing the Game

According to a post on, Beyonce’s surprise release, as well as the format of songs + videos from the jump, is a different approach to the new music world we are living in. Spotify can’t show you videos, so you go buy the album on iTunes. You haven’t streamed the whole album yet on a music website, so you go buy the album on iTunes. All of these tactics that are the new normal were ignored for a bombshell approach that no one was expecting, and it worked like a charm.

The album sold over one million copies in 6 days. For everyone who said album sales were over, Beyonce just changed the game.

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The Twilight DVD – Milking the Audience?

by Jamie Sanford on March 23, 2009

So I haven’t at all hidden my love for Twilight, I have a soft spot in my heart for the movie because it was seeing the trailer that made me reconsider my earlier decision to NOT read the books, and I, like so many others, got sucked into the world of Edward and Bella.

Anyway, I always intended to buy the movie on DVD when it came out.  However, it’s been 2 days since the movie was released on DVD and I still don’t have a copy.  In addition, I have a major bone to pick with the people of Summit Home Entertainment for allowing this DVD release (which has been HUGE so far) to become such a confusing mess.

Here’s a breakdown of the versions of the DVD made available:

  • Twilight 2-Disc Special Edition (available through Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Blockbuster, Borders, I imagine all other “regular” DVD retailers are getting this version) – this set has nice features, the commentary track, a documentary on the making of the film, etc.  A really good set, and this is coming from me, who totally geeks out on DVD special features.
  • Twilight Standard Edition (only available at Walmart) – I only heard about this movie-only version of the DVD later, it seems to have been an add-on, perhaps requested by Walmart?  Either way, this is a stripped down DVD with just the film, no special features.
  • Twilight Borders Edition – This version has bonus footage of interviews and red carpet coverage, is the only version of the DVD with vastly different packaging, and also contains 10 photo cards that are printed on high-quality card stock.
  • Twilight Hot Topic Edition – This version is exactly the same as the 2-disc special edition, with the very cool bonus feature of having a film cell encased in printed card stock, they also guarantee that the cell will include the character of Edward.
  • Twilight Target Edition – This version is also the same as the 2-disc special edition, but also includes a third disc (all content fits onto 2 discs in the Blu-Ray version) with additional interviews, an additional music video and included in the price is a digital download of the movie and all related content from iTunes.  The iTunes download alone costs $15, so at $17.99, this DVD was a great deal.
  • Twilight Blu-Ray “Ultimate Collector’s Set” Edition (available May 2009) – Target and Best Buy have exclusive rights to the DVD version of the movie until May, so Amazon has to wait until then to release their CRAZY version of the Blu-Ray, which is currently priced on Amazon at 79.99.  However, I’m not that upset about the price, since you get a lot of stuff above and beyond just the film.  The DVD will allow the user access to a sneak peak at New Moon, the next film in the series that is set to debut in November, as well as the following: Twilight (Special Edition) Blu-ray Disc, Twilight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD, Jewelry Box (individually numbered), Exclusive Watch, Limited Edition Charm Bracelet, Glossy Photo Cards, Bookmark and Certificate of Authenticity.

That’s a lot of information, right?  Well, let me show you the text from the “about the DVD” section of the movie’s official website.

Thanks a lot for all of your help, Summit Entertainment.  If you are going to authorize this many versions of the DVD, you could at least try to give the fans a place to get the information on all of the different versions.  Or you could even MENTION that there are 6 versions of the DVD available.  I’ve seen a few breakdowns on the Twilight fan sites but they all seemed to be missing at least one of the versions.  I don’t even know if I’ve gotten them all here.

So, as you can see, there is quite a lot to take in regarding this DVD release.  However, more was thrown into the mix when multiple retailers announced that they would be holding midnight release parties for the DVD.  I had already decided to purchase the Target edition, as I really wanted the digital download of the disc, and I was disappointed that they weren’t opening at midnight to sell the DVD, as it’s much easier for me to stay up late than to get up early.

It seems like a trick that Target got such great content but didn’t have midnight release parties.  How many Twilight fans decided to buy a version that they perhaps didn’t want just because they wanted the experience of going to the release party?  Was this a play to get the fans to buy multiple copies of the DVD, so they could own another 15 minutes of extra content?  I would like to mention here, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone in this, that I would have been happy to pay more for a complete DVD set containing ALL of the available special content.  I’m sure there’s good stuff in the Borders edition, the Hot Topic film cell is cool, etc.  Why not have a $50 version with everything?

My personal issue with this is that I didn’t get to Target early enough on Saturday to get a copy, the Blu-Ray was all that was left and I don’t yet have a Blu-Ray player.  Plus, I was intending to order the crazy Amazon Blu-Ray version and hope that I’ve found a Blu-Ray player by then.  I still don’t have a copy of the movie, and when I settled on ordering the movie on-demand from Comcast, it wasn’t even in HD.  Come on!

Unfortunately, with the movie having sold 3 million copies in 2 days, I don’t think the people of Summit will see this as a failure, instead they will pat themselves on the back and wait to see the money roll in for at least 2 more films.

What do you think about this DVD debacle?  I’d like to hear from everyone, not just fans of Twilight.

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