The Justin Bieber Phenomenon, Will it Last?

Justin Bieber came out of obscurity to being signed by Usher literally overnight!  Well that is what we have been told.  The real story is that Justin Bieber had videos on YouTube and was discovered by Scooter Braun, and then later signed to Usher. Well, Justin Bieber is really signed to one of Scooter Braun’s labels, one of which is a label in which he works in colloboration with Usher.  But when you see Justin Bieber on stage with Usher, there is no question where his skills come into play.

The irony of all of this, is that Scooter Braun used to be an executive for So So Def, Jermaine Dupri’s label.  He could have been part of So So Def, with a few degrees of seperation, which would be perfect considering the child talent that Jermaine Dupri has worked with in the past.  Four years later Bieber has two albums, millions of fans that stalk him and hold him down on Twitter and other social networking sites and bring death threats against his girlfriend Selena Gomez, and an actual movie about his rise to the top. 

But now we have a documentary about Justin Bieber.  If Justin Bieber represents everything we have loved to hate about child celebrities does this mark the beginning of the end?  If Justin Bieber’s fans continue to remain with him when he grows up, he could be bigger than Miley Cyrus could have ever dreamed of becoming.  But does he have what it takes to be the biggest artist in music ever?

In the future popularity should not be measured by album sales or concerts alone.  The heights that artists like Micheal Jackson and Prince reached in the eighties, while commendable, should not be a true representation of their influence.  One has to look at the fact that Bieber’s fans continue to be obsessed with him even when he does not have a new album on the horizon.  Justin Bieber only has one studio album and an extended play that came out in the fall of last year (the studio album came out in the spring).  He hasn’t sold that many records.  But the way in which his fans worship and adore him you would think that he has sold 20 million records alone here in the US.

When artists were huge 30 years ago, you had to sell records as that was the only way in which you could release your fans.  Record companies were not releasing extended play records.  Artists were not appearing on singles for one or more years before they released their own material, as Ashanti and Nicki Minaj have done.  No one was talking about you on the Internet through blogs or social networks.  Newspapers or magazines did not know that you existed unless you were signed.  There was no only recourse but to give the biggest tours ever and sell more albums than the next guy.

These days fans continue to connect with artists through various means.  I cannot remember the last time I heard a record by Prince played on the radio.  A lot of artists are found online; a lot of artists would like to break those record sales of the eighties, but I don’t see where anyone could.  Justin Bieber could be the artist to break records because of hig huge following, crossover appear to tweens of all races and the fact that he is still safe enough for those tweens parents to listen to.  I can only hope that he has learned from other child stars his age and can make a successful transition into adulthood.  His current album has the type of buzz that Michael Jackson had on “Off The Wall”.  It is anyone’s guess what he can do with his next album, whever that comes out, or if he will remain as a curious aspect of the end of the last decade …