Beyoncé may have broken the internet after announcing Renaissance: Act II and releasing two country tracks — “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” — from the album, but fans are paying attention to another song by the Houston native. According to Yahoo News, “Donk,” an unreleased Queen Bey track, has gone viral on TikTok, and fans are urging the 42-year-old to drop the track officially.
“Donk” was recorded during Beyoncé’s 2013 self-titled album era, according to Genius.com. Registered with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers as an official track, “Donk” was first leaked on X, formerly known as Twitter, in September. Now TikTokers have created a dance to it, skyrocketing the song to viral status.
Multiple versions of the unreleased song are circulating on social media, including one that’s been used in more than 96,000 posts. Other versions of it are unavailable in several videos, even in some that have raked up thousands of views. That may be because Beyoncé’s label took a page from Universal Music Group’s book and removed the song from the platform.
“Labels can require take-downs of an unreleased song,” Vickie Nauman, music tech consultant and founder of CrossBorderWorks, told Yahoo News in an email.
But that doesn’t mean removing unreleased music on social media is easy. Even though the songs are copyrighted, that may not be enough to hold these platforms accountable.
“Platforms that enable end users to upload music and assets have some level of protection under safe harbor laws, while business relationship pressure will continue on takedowns and content management from licensors,” Nauman told Yahoo News.
As per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, some internet companies are protected from copyright snafus, making it difficult for artists and companies to catch every case.
“As we know in our connected world, once something is out in the wild, it’s difficult to fully put the toothpaste back in the tube,” Nauman said.
Queen Bey nor her management company, Parkwood Entertainment, have addressed the trend.