The arrival of Beyoncé's new album, 4 (out June 28), is a highly anticipated event in the pop world. But in certain respects, it also feels like an IPO. Beyoncé is a human stock portfolio, her blue-chip music work balanced with film roles, endorsements and fashion and fragrance lines. So it's easy to imagine each track on 4 as a strategic investment. "I Was Here"? A partnership with balladeer Diane Warren to augment Beyoncé's holdings in the undercapitalized schmaltz category. "I Miss You," written by Odd Future's Frank Ocean? A venture-capital stake in a promising hip-hop start-up. A sample of Boyz II Men counting from 10 to 1 on "Countdown"? An overture to the toddler demographic that embraced the "Single Ladies" video.
Even her charitable work buzzes with brand synergy. For example, the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center offers vocational training in Brooklyn through an addiction-recovery nonprofit; its beauty products are donated by L'Oréal, with which Beyoncé has a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal.
The Beyoncé Fund's stellar past performance is no guarantee of future results. But check out the video of her recent appearance at a Harlem school, dancing with kids for Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. It's sweet, thrilling and will no doubt contribute to year-over-year growth in awareness of her music and dance moves. Which are, bottom line, why everyone loves Beyoncé.