Earlier this week, R&B singer Solange Knowles released her fourth studio album “When I Get Home.” Solange announced the release by making a page on blackplanet.com, a dinosaur social network dedicated to African-Americans, and releasing music video clips on Twitter and Instagram.
Along with her album being one of the most soothing pieces of work to come out in the last six months, the marketing for “When I Get Home” is undefeated. Solange tapped into nostalgia for older black millennials who are slowly but surely aging out of social media target audiences while offering black millennials on the younger end of the spectrum a way to pay homage to the social media of the past.
For context, blackplanet.com launched in 1999 and was the original “Black Twitter.” The website has been live for years, but the user numbers have been dismal — I didn’t even know that it still existed. Solange directed her fans to the platform via Twitter saying “Find me on BlackPlanet. black planet 4 evaaa.”
Fans scrambled to find their old emails and passwords for the website and rediscovered past versions of themselves online. I’m sure BlackPlanet has not seen this kind of traffic since 2003.
The extent of Solange’s team’s marketing masterpiece didn’t stop with her guiding people back to BlackPlanet. As part of the rollout, Solange took over rapper Mike Jones’ phone number that was mentioned in his hit song “Back Then.”
Back in 2005, I only had three phone numbers memorized: my mom’s, my grandma’s and Mike Jones.’ Fans called 281-330-8004 to hear snippets of the 19 songs on “When I Get Home” hours before the album dropped midnight on Friday. Nearly 15 years ago, you could call the number and hear a response from Houston-native Mike Jones.
In addition to her BlackPlanet page and Mike Jones number takeover, Solange also released a 30 minute visual to accompany “When I Get Home,” which is also a testament to Solange’s creativity. Admittedly, it took me a few years to start liking Solange’s music. She’s been releasing music for nearly the same amount of time as her older sister, Beyoncé, but it would never stick with me.
Her breakthrough moment in her career three years ago when she released her album “A Seat At The Table.” The album reshaped my view of Solange’s musical capabilities and writing skills, and ultimately made me fall in love with her as an artist. Even when I listen to “A Seat At The Table Now” it sounds as new as it did during my senior year of college.
Although “When I Get Home” has a different vibe and purpose, the album shows growth and its marketing strategy was a kiss on the cheek to fans who crave nostalgia.