Beyonce’s Self-Titled Album Is a Case Study at Harvard Business School
Beyonce caught everyone off guard when she released her self-titled album on Dec. 13, 2013. The collection sold 600,000 copies in three days and made the music industry rethink their business model.
Harvard Business School will publish a case study next week examining how Queen Bey and her management team, Parkwood Entertainment, were able to pull off releasing an album without a marketing campaign or fanfare. With interviews from top executives at Parkwood Entertainment, Columbia Records, Facebook and Apple, the HBS case study details how all the parties involved were able to carry out such an ambitious and costly task without anyone knowing.
"She’s clearly among the most powerful people in the music industry at the moment... so to understand the operation behind such a powerful figure is always very interesting,” said Anita Elberse, the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at HBS who co-wrote the case study with a former student, Stacie Smith, M.B.A. ’14.
The case study will also explore what Queen Bey's trailblazing achievement will mean for the future of marketing in the music industry and if any other artist can successfully employ this business model.
“I think most people regard this release as a huge success artistically, and I am among them. But whether it was worth it from a business perspective is for the students to figure out,” said Elberse.
What do you think? Did Beyonce's surprise release of her self-titled album help her or hinder her business-wise? Tell us in the comments below.