Beyonce has joined TikTok and this is a significant thing. Why? Because her digital strategy has always been flawless and how she will utilise this platform is worth studying. Let’s be clear: Beyonce doesn’t need to join TikTok. Her new record – Renaissance – is going to sell out and be a cultural moment no matter what. Unlike the careers of her younger counterparts, hers is not balanced on the 2022 music industry necessity of a viral hook and dance.
Beyoncé joining TikTok isn’t about being down with Gen Z or getting a number one album – it’s about what’s important now when it comes to expression and creativity. And currently, TikTok captures the vibe of how its user base feels through numerous audio, active and completely unpredictable trends. People there are expressing themselves freely – many without a care for algorithms or looking a certain way. While this carefree attitude may not embody Beyoncé’s entire new album (watch out for July 29th) it is the vibe of her first single Break My Soul. Reaction to the song can’t be felt via image or words – it’s at its strongest when people are experiencing its sentiment on video.
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At the heart of Beyoncé’s digital strategy is an understanding of where expression and conversation is now. This is why the themes and narratives of her music spin out and lead people to somehow tell their own stories using her words. Take her incendiary 2016 release Lemonade. The details about her and Jay-Z’s marriage made mainstream news while commentators and bloggers dove into the wider issue of “Becky with the good hair”. Then there were the female empowerment memes which proliferated Instagram and Twitter. Beyoncé’s album was everywhere because even though it was deeply personal, she dealt with themes that are universal. Love, betrayal, fury, sadness, forgiveness. For the trending platforms of the time – Instagram and Twitter – these narratives provided inspiration for confessional storytelling, social commentary and cemented Beyoncé as a master of narrating the female experience.
Post-pandemic, the desire for release and freedom is now being soundtracked by Break My Soul. But the interesting thing is that Beyonce has brought her back catalogue to the platform, meaning songs from her entire career can – and will – be utilised by creators and reborn in a variety of contexts. She isn’t just trying to make Renaissance relevant to the TikTok generation – she wants her whole body of work to ripple across the entire platform. This strategy will effortlessly allow her music to emerge and be relevant for years to come. Really, it’s a creator strategy which gives the creators all the power. As ever, this puts Beyonce ahead of the curve and as ever we should all be watching.
By Sara McCorquodale, CEO and founder of CORQ. Picture credit: Beyonce via Instagram.