Sound Off: Beyoncé’s questionable re-release far from flawless

By Managing Editor

Beyoncé dropped her surprise visual album just before midnight on Dec. 12, 2013, an act that caught fans and the industry as a whole off-guard.  

The self-titled album was her fifth full-length album, and it came without any type of warning. By the time the album dropped, most fans had either forgotten about her promised release or given up hope that it would arrive any time soon after being strung along with false promises of potential release dates from Beyoncé for months. 

But the album was an instant success. The songs—all accompanied by a video to fulfill the visual component of the album—were flawless, and the lack of marketing exhibited a confidence on Bey’s part that boosted the album’s appeal and challenged other artists. 

After so many decades of artists and their producers obsessing about the correct methods of promoting their albums, having such an adored and successful singer be so audacious as to drop an album without any warning was a shock that understandably made other artists uncomfortable and insecure.

Beyoncé could get away with such a daring career move, but not every artist could.

Just shy of a year later, Beyoncé released an expanded “Platinum Edition” of the original album on Nov. 24.

The re-release offers a box set with the original album along with four remixes and two new songs, as well as a DVD of her performing live and a 2015 Beyoncé calendar—for about $28. 

As one of the music industry’s most celebrated figures, Beyoncé will likely be able to re-sell the album with success.

The original surprise album sold $1.3 million copies in its first three weeks alone, according to a Nov. 23 New York Times report, and fans have remained thirsty for more despite a year having passed. 

But although Beyoncé may be able to capitalize on the re-release, she is suddenly sending the opposite of the  message she originally intended.

Beyoncé was supposed to be so “about the music” that the singer just did not care about promoting the album, claiming she simply wanted fans to appreciate the album for the art of it.

But the re-release is a very commercial—and some might say selfish—change of pace. 

One deviation from Beyoncé’s mentality this time last year can be seen with her promoting her single “7/11,” despite having criticized  other artists for pushing quickly produced singles to promote an album in her HBO documentary, “Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream.” 

According to Forbes’ listing, as of June 2014, Beyoncé brought in $115 million this year, making about $2.4 million per city and playing 95 shows total. 

One would think that after the musician more than doubled her earnings of the previous year, a re-release would seem petty, but it’s hard to ignore the ultra-convenient timing of the “Platinum Edition,” which came out just in time for Beyoncé to capitalize on Black Friday sales. 

As a member of a nation that is widely in love with Beyoncé, I feel it’s rather unnatural to even try to criticize her. She can still be deemed “flawless,” but the reality is that she is not only an artist but also a businesswoman.