Justin Bieber’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” was intended as a shot of Adrenalin into his projects. It worked a little, and not at all.
Flying to New York, Bieber accomplished pushing his woe-is-me single, “Lonely,” to number 1 on iTunes and his duet with Chance the Rapper, called “Holy,” back to number 4. (I objected to the big neon cross hanging behind him on the first number. “SNL” isn’t religious programming. NBC could have a problem with that.)
But Bieber’s bigger problem isn’t solved. His 2021 tour, which was supposed to replace his cancelled 2020 dates, isn’t selling. Let’s not forget that pre-pandemic, the 2020 tour wasn’t selling either. It was systematically downgraded from stadiums to arenas, dates were cancelled, moved, it was a mess. The pandemic gave Bieber an excuse for dumping the whole thing, right in the nick of time.
Now the new dates seem like they’ve been on sale since around August 6th. A look at Ticketmaster shows that almost all the dates have sold lightly, with the floor seats doing well, not great. But the balance of each venue is unsold, with blue dots everywhere indicating lots of available tickets.
The tour begins in June 2021, maybe, who knows? Depending on COVID, it’s unclear if it will really happen, and if it does, will fans take the chance of moshing together, standing, screaming, and breathing on each other?
The two singles now will help get attention for the tour. But Bieber will have to release another album, including them, in early spring so he has something to cross promote the tour. His album from last winter, “Changes,” has sold just 187,000 downloads and CDs. With streaming, the number bulks up to 873,000 but a lot of that includes sales of his only hit off the album. “Intentions,” his single featuring Quavo.
I do hope Quavo and Chance the Rapper are being remunerated properly for their use in these singles. They surely realize their importance in helping Bieber, a whiny white kid, reach a diverse audience.