There are three types of stars.
There are three types of stars. There are the stars that we know through music, film and TV, from Calvin Harris and Emma Thompson to John Inman, as they become household names through their projects. Then, there are the viral stars, those that embrace audiences and stardom through the means of social media and the web, like Rebecca Black.
Lastly, what we see as a result of the nature of digital trends is a melting pot, where recognised stars create digital-first works and push them through those means, embracing stardom through the web, like Beyoncé.
Pulling in viewing figures
Within the last week or so, Black, with her YouTube video, and Beyoncé, with her iTunes-only album, have demonstrated that all you need is the internet and your connections on Facebook and Twitter, and you have the attention of the billions of people in the world.
While new material from both artists was unexpected, there is a significant difference in the approach of both Black and Beyoncé on this material. Black relied on the means of YouTube and the internet to retain her stardom (and notoriety), following up from her 2011 video ‘Friday’, with her new video cleverly titled ‘Saturday’, using references from ‘Friday’ in this video.
At the time of submission to Kettle editors, the video had over 15 million views.
Building on the fan base
For Beyoncé, she had already been a recognisable figure in the world of music, having released several albums and embarked on global sold-out tours earning millions of pounds. The release of the album immediately sparked discussion, with the album being tweeted about 1.2 million times within 12 hours, according to a report from the American technology news web site Mashable.
Beyoncé had said she considered this, her fifth solo effort, to be a more visual album, with the record being accompanied by 17 videos, a separate Mashable report says. “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” Beyoncé said. “I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”
Utilising social media
Social media and the web have been, for the wider music industry, a blessing and a curse. While the promotional and content opportunities are endless, record labels have been trying to justify the money that comes from new opportunities, as listeners turn away from CDs and focus more on downloading through iTunes and consuming music through social sites and apps.
While Beyoncé and Black may argue that the distributive nature of their content by these means is a unique, creative effort, digital is the new norm. New material comes through these means for immediate access and consumption by fans near and far. It would therefore not be surprising for this to happen again, because it is the way of the future, whether we like it or not.
After all, everything is at your fingertips, with just the click or the press of a button.
What do you think of the new content from Beyoncé and Rebecca Black? How digital thinking do you think we have become? Have your say in the comments section below.