*Beyonce has managed to baffle industry insiders again with her marketing decisions.
Following her unprecedented move of dropping an album unannounced, the set’s
track “Partition” reached No. 49 on the Streaming Songs chart two weeks ago with over 1.4 million streams in the U.S, despite the fact that the video (available for purchase with the album) isn’t on YouTube or VEVO, and the audio isn’t available on Spotify, Pandora and other similar services.
How is this possible?, asks the Hollywood Reporter.
The answer: User-generated YouTube videos, driven by a vibrant community of choreographed dance crews shaking it to the song on camera.
The “Partition” phenomenon is in some ways similar to “Harlem Shake,” the viral, dorm-room dance meme which took Brooklyn DJ-producer Baauer straight to the top of the Hot 100 the week of Feb. 23, thanks to millions of YouTube clicks. However, unlike with “Harlem Shake,” many of the most popular dance videos featuring “Partition” are created by professional choreographers like Kyle Hanagami, who was inspired by the dance-heavy videos Beyonce included with her album.
“What I really look for in a song is for it to be dynamic, so it doesn’t get boring when you dance to it,” says the Los Angeles-based 27-year old, who uploaded a video of a dance crew he choreographed to the song to his YouTube channel on Jan. 23, receiving nearly 400,000 views to date.
“‘Partition’ is like a choreographer’s dream in that regard.” (The video has since been made private.)
Hanagami has been a choreographer since 2006, and began posting videos to his channel right around when the YouTube dance phenomenon began. His clips soon began to receive global attention, resulting in teaching gigs and a chance to work with Travis Payne, Michael Jackson’s choreographer.
“It’s great marketing,” Hanagami says. “I travel internationally to teach students, and the way they know to fly me around the world is YouTube.”
“Partition” moved up 73-70 on the Hot 100 last week, Beyonce’s third song on the Hot 100, joining official singles “Drunk in Love” (No. 8) and “XO” (No. 65). “Partition” sold 19,000 copies the week ending Feb. 2, according to Nielsen Soundscan, a jump of 13%; radio airplay is also up, with a 25% boost to 4.8 million audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS. Streams grew 2% as well, although the track falls off the Streaming Songs tally this week.
“Partition’s” streaming numbers are boosted by the fact that it’s a two-part track; Beyoncé comes with separate videos (one titled “Yoncé,” the other “Partition”) for each, and fans have followed her lead, uploading different videos to both sections, all of which count toward “Partition’s” overall streaming numbers.
Hanagami’s video uses “Yoncé,” the slower first part of the song, while others, like one posted by French dancer/choreographer Yanis Marshall, use the bouncier “Partition” section.
Marshall’s “Partition” YouTube video, featuring him and a group of dancers he choreographed, was shared by Beyonce herself on Facebook, and has received more than 860,000 views to date. “She posted it around 4 a.m. Paris time,” he recalls. “It felt like Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday all at the same time!”