beyonce PR
The tactics used to launch Beyonce’s new album: the element of surprise, hip Instagram video — and a press release.

Mega-superstar Beyoncé shocked millions of fans when she simultaneously announced and released her fifth studio album on iTunes over the weekend, just before midnight on December 12th. In a more surprising twist, each song on the self-titled record is accompanied by its own music video. With the help of an Instagram video and an official press release, the stunning announcement put an end to swirling rumors over when Beyoncé’s next album would be released. The risky yet successful publicity stunt posed an interesting question: why does someone as powerful as Beyoncé still need a press release to announce her new album?

It’s no secret that the press release has seen its fair share of criticism due to the rise of digital communications. So why did Beyoncé, one of the most beloved and acclaimed artists in the world, still need a press release to announce her new album? Here’s why:

Elle Magazine Quote

According to Fuse TV, “As photos of some of these video shoots had hit the internet over the past two months, fans had waited for any announcement of where they might officially purchase any of the songs. But Bey didn’t release any comment until now.”

Journalists and fans alike could not rely on speculation from the internet as a credible source. However, the press release was able to definitively answer burning questions such as why Beyoncé chose a groundbreaking visual approach to her album and explains how her team was able to accomplish such an extraordinary feat in the public eye.

Some may argue that these statements were also accessible on her website and social media pages, but why send journalists on an information scavenger hunt? Press releases highlight the most important information in a concise format, perfect for republishing and retweeting, and provide links to relevant pages. Additionally, wire distribution services are more protected against hacking; it’s not as simple as obtaining the right password. The album announcement dominated the social media realm, generating over 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours and amassing extraordinary media attention.

While there’s no disputing that digital communications has created a surplus of new channels for distributing information, there is no guarantee that this information is reliable. Press releases come straight from the source and strip away any uncertainties over whether the information is factual. So until there is no longer a demand for highly credible information, press releases will remain as a vital resource for businesses, media, and the public.

Read the weekend’s most talked about release right here.