This week, Forbes unveiled their annual World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list and unsurprisingly, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter made the cut once again. Pulling in at number seventeen, the 31-year-old is the highest-ranking musician on the list. You may ask, “How does she do it?” Well, the answer is quite simple: Beyoncé is not only a musician — she’s a world-class businesswoman.
I cannot count how many times I have heard the line, “Beyoncé will never be as successful as [insert another female pop star’s name here].” As Madonna would say, this statement is rather … “reductive.” Frankly, being a pop star is only a small fraction of the large force Beyoncé is.
Regarding her success as a solo artist, Beyoncé has garnered five number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and had all four of her studio albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Even with a small catalogue, Beyoncé has built a solid legacy as an entertainer and performer, earning respect within the industry that many of her contemporaries have not yet acquired.
This diva’s success secret is obvious: not being a hit-chaser. Instead of shelling out albums every year and tossing singles into the wind, she maintains a balance with a variety of business ventures and takes her time to ensure perfection with everything she does. I mean, how else could you build an empire estimated at $350 million?
Beyoncé’s most recent album, 4, opened atop the Billboard 200 with 310,000 copies sold its first week — her lowest debut to date. Still, the album has now moved approximately 3 million units worldwide since its June 2011 release, despite the inconsistent promotion Beyoncé did due to being pregnant with Blue Ivy. Admittedly, I must say that it’s been harder for Beyoncé to score hit singles than it is for other artists. Her last top ten single as the main artist, “Sweet Dreams,” was released in 2009 while her appearance on Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” pushed her as high as No. 3 the following year. From 4, her highest-charting singles were “Best Thing I Never Had” and “Love on Top,” peaking at numbers 16 and 20, respectively.
However, I look at the bigger picture. Beyoncé’s had a pretty busy past few years including launching businesses, changing up her management and having a baby, all while trying not to miss beat. If Beyoncé really wanted to be at number one, she would simply tailor her sound to fit the current trends rather than experiment with sounds and push her artistry to new limits. Furthermore, Beyoncé is at a place in her career where she has to learn how to cater to the wide range of ages of her audience while staying true to herself, which can be very difficult. Her album 4 was not the most radio-friendly and its promotion was disastrous, but Beyoncé came out on top, with all things considered. She isn’t the most commercially successful artist ever but she is much more than hit singles and record sales.
Since firing her father Mathew Knowles as her manager back in 2011, Beyoncé has signed a $50 million endorsement deal with PepsiCo in which she has full creative control over their collaborations, nabbed the Super Bowl XLVII halftime slot, premiered her autobiographical documentary, Life is but a Dream, on HBO to record viewership, landed a role in the animated film, Epic, and has kicked off the sold out, 55-date The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Did I mention that she manages herself?
As far as her philanthropic efforts, Beyoncé recently joined forces with Gucci, Salma Hayek and Frida Giannini to co-found the Chime for Change charity organization that focuses on women and girls’ empowerment. Beyoncé also partnered with Goodwill for the BeyGood campaign, during which she collects goods for charity at select venues on The Mrs. Carter Show.
And then you have her fashion empire, film career, and the many different companies she heads. I could go on …
Simply put, Beyoncé is a grown woman and she can do whatever she wants.