Justin Bieber’s fifteen minutes of fame are coming to an end.
In a move of utter desperation, Bieber’s management– according to several entertainment sites–supposedly created a hoax this week to promote his new video. Bieber tweeted that his computer and camera had been stolen. Next, a lewd, nude picture of purportedly him turned up on TMZ. Then a new official video came out, and it turned out that the picture wasn’t of him, and that the video was the supposed material that had been stolen.
The net-net: the song, “Beauty and a Beat,” has not caused much of a stir on iTunes, where downloads put it at around number 50. On YouTube, there have been over 5 million free viewings for the very expensive looking video, but– and this might be important– only 255,000 times have fans “liked” it. And 22,000 haven’t “liked” it. “Beauty and a Beat,” disposable pop featuring Nicki Minaj (who has to be paid), is clearly a loss leader for the tour.
Bieber’s album, “Believe,” has not been much of a hit. Another single, “As Long as You Love Me,” has been a very modest hit.
And the tour: Bieber has started his tour with Carly Rae Jepsen in Canada, his birthplace. There, the ticket sales look ok. But in the US, it’s a different story. The secondary ticket market is flooded. Hundreds and thousands of tickets are available on Stubhub.com depending on the sizes of the venues. At Madison Square Garden, it’s a buyer’s market, that’s for sure.
And that’s interesting for everyone because a recent report out of Nashville suggest that Bieber’s management is scalping its own seats to make more money.
Phil Williams, reporting out of Newschannel 5 in Nashville, uncovered a cache of documents that show how Bieber’s team is allegedly ripping off fans. According to Williams, Bieber’s management hasn’t responded to the accusations. It’s a must-read story, however, and explains why there are so many tickets on Stubhub. Of course, the irony will be that the marked up tickets don’t sell. The Bieber team could go to the cleaners.
Scooter Braun, Bieber’s manager, has been incredibly clever meantime about diversifying. He clearly has “45 rpm” ears. He picked up Carly Rae Jepsen’s single, “Call Me Maybe,” and turned it into the event of the summer. The album isn’t really selling, and she’s likely done. But Braun likely made a tidy sum from the single. By next year at this time he’ll be saying “Call me, maybe” to Jepsen.
Braun also picked up a novelty single from Korea, called “Gangnam Style.” It’s in the top 3 this week. It’s the “Mambo No. 5” of 2012. No Bieber single has ever sold like “Call Me Maybe” or “Gangnam.” By the time Braun is done, he’ll be living in several mansions. The artists will be trivia questions. It’s the long tradition of the music business.
But with the allegations of scalping, the hoax with the nude picture and the stolen computer stuff, Braun–and his partners, which include Usher– have no doubt seen the darkness at the end of the tunnel. If I were Justin Bieber, and I owned that $100,000 silver car he drives around, I’d be selling it and putting the money into treasury notes right now. That is, if he actually owns it. Or anything.