I am glad I kept my Tidal subscription!
June 30, 2017, was not only an important day in Hip Hop culture, but it taught me a few lessons as an experience producer. Shawn "Jay Z" Carter released an oral history in audio. His 4:44 album is hailed as a critical work of art, although this term and his work don't come as a surprise to lovers of his art. However, there was something different about this music and the release of it that fans and those familiar with his work were used to hearing. This time was a slight departure from Jay Z, the husband and father who is notoriously private, which in my opinion was a very smart approach that he and his better half Beyoncé made throughout the duration of their careers both separately and together. His new music was open in a very mature, humble way. There were moments of bravado, but this time he provided in-depth context. He also did something that caught my eye on from a business perspective. Jay-Z turned his music release into an exclusive public experience. Exclusive meaning, you had to subscribe to his streaming service, Tidal or be a customer of Sprint, to have access to this event.
The digital hybrid approach to events is fairly recent and still growing in the industry. When utilizing online tools to reach a wider audience, the possibilities of innovation are endless. He took the release a step further by also hosting in-store listening sessions, many staffed by a DJ. Subscribers and customers created a sense of community while partaking in the culture. It really created FOMO online and in person. I loved this strategy and by the way I really enjoyed the new music. By implementing a hybrid experience, he created a sense of belonging, heightened his audiences' experience and widened the way in which we accessed his music. Think about this in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Engagement (ROE), I am certain Tidal and Sprint gained new customers and Jay-Z new supporters of his music and his journey.
So what happens after the event?...
Many times people do not think of events a cyclical, perhaps just a one time thing that starts and ends, this could be the furthest thing from the truth. The countless hours of planning, testing and planning again produce great audience experiences. But what happens when the event is over? How do we keep the experience going? Jay-Zs formula is to continue to engage supporters. He has consecutively provided visuals to his music along with footnotes of people engaging with the theme of each song. The visuals are a take on social commentary, his personal anecdote and analysis of the world around him. Talk about the value being provided to all of the new subscribers/customers. This method is proving to not only be successful, but it is also maintaining audience retention.
The reactions to the content have not ended after the main release date, he and his team are strategically encouraging ongoing conversations. I cannot wait to see what is next, and until then you can subscribe to Tidal, here and enjoy 4:44.