Beyoncé tickets for the UK leg of her stomping at the Savoy “Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2014” went on sale in Britain today, with three extra dates after the original quota of tickets failed to meet high demand.
On the heels of her stealth self-titled fifth album, released with no preamble on iTunes at midnight, last Friday, Beyonce’s 2014 UK dates will support her new album and kick off her European tour.
The superstar has added a second show at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena on February 21, another show at Birmingham’s LG Arena on February 24, and an extra show at Manchester’s Phones 4U Arena on February 26.
From there, Beyoncé and her all-female band and troop of Amazon dancers head to London for a four-date residency at London’s 02 Arena, encored by three dates at Dublin’s equivalent.
Leaving music writers, media outlets and the world of entertainment scrambling in its wake, the 32-year-old’s eponymous album sold more than 430,000 copies last Friday and a further 120,000 the next day.
By Sunday, the 14-track-17-video “visual album” had shifted over 550,000 digital copies.
It is bang on course to top Billboard’s album chart amid industry prediction of the biggest debuting album by a female artist since Taylor Swift’s Red, which sold 1.2 million copies in 2012.
In fact, Billboard projects Beyoncé will reach the 600,000 mark within a week of its release, which would qualify as her best debut week and best sales-week of her career.
The album has been exclusively offered to iTunes and is retailing at $15.99. As yet a release date for CD-DVD versions of the album isn’t known and manufacture of these was held off until after its iTunes release to prevent leaks. Physical copies are promised at retail “in time for the holidays.”
Update: Beyoncé sold 828,773 copies in three days breaking the iTunes record for most albums sold in the first week of release.
Eschewing established marketing practice for a major album as seen with huge artists such as Jay Z with Magna Carta, Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP, Katy Perry’s Prism, Justin Timberlake’s double The 20/20 Experience and Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz to name a few.
These include brand sync-ups, traditional press, tour announcements, lead singles, teasers, lyric videos and all the rest of it. Bey has side-stepped all of that and gone direct to fans in a way few have done.
As a result of Beyoncé’s expert reading of the market (a fourth quarter drop is typically the highest yielding) and the fact that her fans have been hungry for an album for months— right now, explicit and family-friendly versions of her album occupy No.1 and 2 slots on the iTunes album chart.
But non-marketing (which will now be adopted as the ultimate marketing of course) aside, it wasn’t strategy that slayed the Internet this weekend (Twitter reports 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours at the height of the reaction), and still has critics rhapsodizing — but content.
Among the glowing reviews NYT’s Jon Pareles verdicts, “The songs are alert to the current sound of clubs and radio, but not trapped by it; the refrains are terse and direct, but what happens between them isn’t formulaic.”
For Idolator’s Mike Wass, the visual album is “a cohesive work of art, not a meaningless collection of singles,” adding, “only Queen Bey could waltz in at the last second and snatch 2013′s wig so ruthlessly.”
Entertainment Weekly dished an A-Grade and notes, “Here more than ever Bey indulges clashing impulses, between strength and escape, megapop and fresh sounds, big messages and resonant lyrics … it balances formal inventiveness with emotional directness.”
Spin bestowed a fulsome 9/10 for Bey’s “best album, more textured than its predecessors in both sound and content” and “an unquestionably personal tour de force that’s as much about love and motherhood as it is about sex.”
Fashioned with the same attention to detail and art demanded by another legend (the late Michael Jackson), Beyoncé says she wants people to enjoy her album as an “immersive experience,” and as an “event” like it was back in the day.
So, we have our orders. Get ready for a double release this week of the Pharrell Williams-helmed “Blow” and the Jay Z feature “Drunk In Love,” and bow down to Beyoncé.