Beyonce Profiled in New HBS Case Study

Harvard Business School will publish a new case study next week examining Beyoncé’s stealth release of her self-titled 2013 “visual album” from a variety of business-related perspectives, the Harvard Gazette reports.

To refresh your memory, Beyoncé and her entire management team and corporate partners kept the album a secret until its release just after midnight on December 13, 2013, and fans had to buy the entire album—no individual song purchases allowed.

HBS students will look at what it took to pull off this ambitious campaign, market conditions at the time, the structural and technical obstacles, and the many difficult decisions that cropped up for Beyoncé and her team along the way, the Gazette reveals, adding that the case asks MBA students what they would have done it they were working for the pop idol.

“She’s clearly among the most powerful people in the music industry at the moment … so to understand the operation behind such a powerful figure is always very interesting,” says Anita Elberse, the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at HBS who co-wrote the case study with a former student, Stacie Smith, MBA ’14.

The study will be taught in Elberse’s course “Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries” in early October, the Gazette reports.


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