Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
Last month the Harvard Business School published a case study that takes a look at the business of Beyoncé, specifically the secret release of her newest album. While this is focused primarily on the entertainment business, many of the questions they research are ones faced by arts organizations, small and large, on a regular basis. It was also interesting to see how this case study approached a single artist as a business and brand all its own, unattached to an organization.
I found the element of collaboration in Beyoncé’s project to be especially interesting. Obviously collaboration on this scale is possible only for large organizations, but it also highlights how these collaborations can be risks for everyone involved. It is also interesting to note the effect of “blockbuster” events in the promotion of an artistic endeavor. I can think of other examples of this in the art world (often involving celebrities) such as Jay-Z and Marina Abramovic’s collaborative performance at Pace, or the Whitney’s staying open for 36 consecutive hours to end the Koons show. We could compare these to the art “happenings” of the 60s.
The article itself asks some relevant questions: “Is a maneuver like this only available to superstar talent? How do record companies put together marketing plans and structure partnerships with their artists? What effect might the release have on Beyoncé’s relationship with companies left out of the launch, and with her fans?”
I also especially liked this quote: “The whole project is a celebration of the Beyoncé Philosophy, which basically boils down to the fact that Beyoncé can do anything the hell she wants to.”