Commentary: Is Beyonce still a pop star?

But it’s a far cry from the 1 million first week gross sales that friends corresponding to Adele, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga achieved within the 2010s. It’s additionally considerably smaller than Beyonce’s US gross sales for her self-titled 2013 album, which made 617,000 in its first three days, or 2016’s Lemonade with 653,000.

ACKNOWLEDGING TODAY’S COMMERCIAL REALITIES

With the roll-out of Renaissance, Beyonce herself appears to acknowledge immediately’s business realities. Her earlier two albums have been dropped with out warning, capturing consideration by means of shock – a technique that others would copy for the remainder of the last decade.

And for a full three years, Lemonade was solely out there to stream on Tidal, her husband’s small streaming platform.

But since Lemonade, streaming has overtaken CD gross sales as the primary supply of music income. This time round, Beyonce has opted for a decidedly extra conventional roll-out, replete with a lead single, Vogue journal cowl and social media posts.

She made her first look on TikTok. She’s even promoting “box sets” of merchandise for followers to purchase, which incorporates a Renaissance CD – a technique pop stars have used to juice gross sales numbers.

It’s too early to know whether or not these strikes will produce Beyonce’s first huge pop breakout in a lengthy whereas. But the album has stored her cultural affect intact, luring the lots into her archive samplings of home, afrobeats and disco music from many years previous, shining a highlight on legendary black musicians corresponding to Grace Jones and Nile Rodgers.

Music web site Pitchfork described it as a “challenging, densely-referenced album that runs circles around her similarly minded, Billboard-charting peers”. And perhaps that’s sufficient to name it a success.

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