On November 22, 2010, sixteen-year-old Justin Bieber became the youngest artist ever to win the American Music Awards’ Artist of the Year.
He had surpassed Eminem, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Kesha to snatch this title, along with three other categories he was nominated in.
Justin Bieber’s fame and influence had expanded rapidly since his discovery in 2008. All of this unprecedented success can be attributed to the sophistication and pervasiveness of social media as well as the ever-increasing power of young entertainment consumers.
Justin Bieber was born on March 1, 1994 and grew up in a low-income single-mother household in Ontario, Canada. His mother Pattie Malette started posting videos of him performing R&B songs on YouTube after he won second place in a local singing contest in 2007.
These clips had generated 10 million views when they were accidentally discovered by talent manager Scooter Braun, who helped sign Bieber to Raymond-Braun Music Group (a new record label by Usher and Braun) in a joint venture with Island Records.
The popularity of YouTube makes most people surprised to realize that it was invented in 2005, two years before Bieber’s videos came on the scene. It certainly makes you wonder where he would be today without the advent of the video-sharing website.
Not only did YouTube factor in Justin Bieber’s early discovery, it also played a large role in promoting his career. His single “Baby,” in collaboration with Ludacris, is the most watched YouTube video of all time with more than 345 million views.
In November 2010, Bieber was the second artist, after Lady Gaga, to reach a total of 1 billion YouTube hits. However, he was the hotter between the two since he averaged 3.98 million daily views compared to Lady Gaga’s 2.04 million.
Justin Bieber’s record sales are unparalleled. Well before his first album My World debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard charts in late 2009, he had become the first solo artist ever to send four songs into the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. According to Billboard.com, his subsequent album My World 2.0 debuted at No. 1 in March 2010.
Many of Bieber’s accomplishments couldn’t have happened without the support of his enormous fan base. The pop sensation’s fans mainly consist of young girls in their teen and tween years. Combining fervent devotion and ready access to the Internet, these fans have spread the “Bieber fever” far beyond imagination.
In an extreme example, a riot caused by ten thousand fans who came to see Justin Bieber at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island in November 2009 lead to the arrest of his manager Scooter Braun. But they were the same people who protested on Twitter for Braun’s release.
Not only does Justin Bieber have the power to dictate the fans’ music choice, he also popularizes his $750 haircut among teen boys. Since Jennifer Anniston’s “the Rachel” in the ‘90s, no single hairstyle has commanded such attention.
Bieber’s most recent venture onto the big screen is, a 3D documentary titled “Never Say Never,” is scheduled to release in theater this Friday, Feb. 11.