I made a bold decision last night. I braved not only the cold, but also thousands of screaming, purple-wearing tween girls, in order to enter the Pepsi Center to see none other than Justin Bieber and do some “advertising research.” The Biebs and I only go back 3 years when I stumbled upon his “Somebody to Love” music video online. I instantly became enthralled with his George Harrisonesque hair-do, angelic voice and impressive dance moves. The kid had talent and I was about to succumb to what is known as Bieber Fever.
It might seem a little ridiculous that a 27-year old woman like myself legitimately enjoys listening to Justin Bieber, but I can’t help it. In past months I have wondered what would happen to the Biebs when he entered manhood. His innocent voice would deepen and either ruin his career or evolve into something he can work with. If he really has talent he should be able to overcome puberty right?
The Biebs is currently on his Believe tour, which I was fortunate to experience from front row, club level seats. The album Believe released its first single “Boyfriend” on March 26th, 2012 letting fans around the world hear what the Biebs’ transition into manhood sounded like. I personally wasn’t a fan of the single, which was co-written by Biebs and Mike Posner. I felt that it was an easy song to mask his changing voice, but fans disagreed making the song number two on Billboard’s Top 100. Was this a result of finding a successful song for his new more mature voice, or because he had already established himself in the music industry? I was anxious to hear what else the Biebs had come up with for his third album. He had already made the decision to change his hair, no longer having the Bieber bangs I once fell in love with. He caved in style by combining house music with R&B in his next single “All Around the World.” Eventually he hit a soft spot for me personally with “Die in Your Arms” by sampling Michael Jackson’s “We’ve Got a Good Thing Going.”
Is musical talent relevant once you have established celebrity? The Biebs currently has over 30 million followers on his Twitter account @justinbieber. The size of his audience and influence he holds on Twitter is a pivotal reason for advertisers to pay attention to Twitter. With just one tweet the Biebs can reach a large chunk of a valuable market. For example when the 2011 Egyptian Revolution was going on, the Biebs tweeted to his then 8 million followers discussing the topic. He managed to influence discussion among youth that may not have been informed of the situation otherwise.
The market for Justin Bieber is not only incredibly large, but vast. Suffice it to say, I was still intrigued with him so when the opportunity came to attend his Denver concert on January 7th. 2013, I most certainly did . I went with a group of friends all in our late twenties and all still influenced by the Biebs. We were instantly divided by the copious amounts of girls running and screaming. Parents lagged as their young went crazy in a fashion similar to Lord of the Flies. Kids ruled the Pepsi Center and parents had no control over what was to come next.
I took a good hard look around once I was seated and noticed that the audience was uninterested in the concert opener Carly Rae Jepsen. Girls were fidgeting with their homemade signs declaring their love for the Biebs, parents were busy texting and security was for the most part in control… at that point. Then the audience screamed, which caused me to scream, when the timer appeared on the big screen marking a ten minute countdown. People were in a frantic. It was as if everyone was late to catch a flight. What felt like the longest ten minutes of the year ended with Justin Bieber himself being flown out by tacky angel wings only to descent on stage and immediately bust into song and dance with “All Around the World.”
The concert primarily played new songs and only sampled small portions of his old ones that shot him to fame. I failed to see him in concert when he was a true value to society as a singer, but that still doesn’t mean he isn’t influential. There was an interlude video emphasizing the change that the Biebs is going through and how he has to adapt his voice to new songs as part of creating an adult identity. I understood that as an attempt to re-market him as the man Justin Bieber. He finished the concert strong with a two-song encore featuring “Baby” and “Boyfriend,” while breaking young hearts around the audience sending them home for their 10pm curfew.
Justin Bieber knows how to entertain a crowd, whether it’s singing a cappella, playing his own instruments such as drums and guitar, caressing the face of the “One Less Lonely Girl,” or referencing what a toll the altitude is taking on his performance, he is a performer. He holds a role in our society that influences millions of people and remains a valuable channel of communication for marketers. Although he has managed to train his new voice to sing and maintain pitch, one question remains: Will he be able to keep a presence in the music industry and continue to remain marketable or will he struggle to find a musical identity as an adult?