Haze clears path but it's still risky
Conor's Pop Corner
Before 2013 was out, two different acts were engaging with their major record labels in interesting ways.
Firstly, there was Beyoncé's surprise release of her fifth album.
Songs and music videos aside she also did it by keeping her label Columbia Records in the dark, bar a few key executives. In an age where teaser campaigns are strung out all year and require major label resources, it's a bold move.
Of course, as a superstar who can call the shots, Beyoncé is in a lucky position. She can play the system how she sees fit at this point.
Elsewhere, the fate of buzzed about rapper Angel Haze is harder to gauge. Haze decided to leak her own album on her Twitter page a few days after Beyoncé's release, expressing frustration at not having her work out before the end of the year. It seems to have paid off to a degree, Haze's album was released on December 30.
Going to press we didn't have figures for how it performed but it could struggle with no push behind it.
Iggy Azalea, another buzzed about rapper in 2013, expressed similar frustrations over the arrival of her debut LP last year but seemed happy to stick with the mid-2014 date proposed by her label. Azalea is slowly clocking up pop hits and is obviously more willing to play the game than an artist like Angel Haze.
Late in 2012 and throughout 2013 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis combined their skills as musicians, releasing independently with major label distribution and showing new ways artists and majors can work together.
With Angel Haze and Beyoncé going against usual channels, 2014 could be an interesting year for how artists deliver their music.