If you haven’t heard yet Kendrick Lamar dropped his new album a week early. This is the second surprise album drop of 2015 following Drake’s latest album dropping in February. Is this the new trend? If so, what does this mean for the future of music?
So admittedly, like most of the world, I was first introduced to the idea of a surprise album drop from a major artist when Beyoncé dropped her self-titled album at the end of 2013. There is no denying that this really caught the attention of the industry, largely because she sold 800,000+ units in the first three days following its release. Now the thing is, surprise album releases or relatively unknown releases happen and they happen all the time. What’s really setting these releases apart is the fact that they have audiences and huge ones at that. These artists will be able to hit MASSIVE numbers as evidenced by the Beyoncé album. Drake was also able to sell 700,000+ units in a month despite the fact that his piece was a mixtape as opposed to Beyoncé’s traditional album.
So what does this mean for the music industry? Well, it’s basically telling the traditional industry machine that they aren’t necessary and that if artists have audiences that are committed enough, units will move period. Yes, artistry is involved and all three artists made decent products (Okay, Kendrick made a great product. That I do know). However, the strength of the surprise album release lies in the fact that these artists are married to their audiences.
Married to their audiences?? What does that even mean? Yeah sure there are people that would like to be married to Beyoncé but Jay-Z put a ring on that. I digress.
The term ‘Married to The Audience’ comes from live music producer Tom Jackson. He works with artists to develop their live shows in order to make the most of live performance. He coined this concept to illustrate the level of commitment that audiences have to the artists and the commitment that artists have to their audiences. These artists that are married to their audiences are 100% committed to connecting with their audiences; and in return audiences are dedicated to that artist regardless. Beyoncé is a prime example of this idea. She is committed to her audience and in return the Beyhive and other fans will consume product that she creates.
Anyway, what’s my point? The point is to understand that the successes of surprise album drops that we have been able to witness are a direct result of the fact that these artists are committed to their audiences. They create a quality product and they have an tribe of people who will support what they do. As you build your audience, remember to stay committed to them. If you stay faithful to them, they will remain faithful to you. Yet in the midst of all of this, focus on making great art. As you make great art, the people will come. Share a positive message. Pay attention to quality music. Hone your craft and it will pay off in the end.
Peace & Harmonies
(All images taken from Google Images)