Why Justin Bieber Is Such A Big Hit
(UPDATED) GUEST POST: Jay Frank is the author of Futurehit.DNA and SVP Music Strategy of CMT. You can download a free chapter of his great book on his blog FuturehitDNA.com and Hypebot's Kyle Bylin interviewed him earlier this year. In this guest post, Frank looks at the factors behind the meteoric success of teen idol Justin Bieber using the FuturehitDNA methodology.
RELEASE MORE SONGS MORE OFTEN
Look at this time frame of songs being released:
- APRIL 2009 – Release of “One Time” single
- JULY 2009 – Release of “One Time” video
- AUGUST 2009 – Release of “Favorite Girl” YouTube Video w/Taylor Swift
- OCTOBER 2009 – Release of “One Less Lonely Girl” single + video
- NOVEMBER 2009 – Release of My World 8-song Album
- JANUARY 2010 – Release of “Baby” single
- FEBRUARY 2010 – Release of “Baby” video
- MARCH 2010 – Release of My World 2.0 Album
Did you get all that? In a world where many people are in the game of milking singles for all they’re worth, Justin just kept releasing content. A new official video has been released every 3 months. Two album releases. 18 total tracks have come out. All within 9 months. Considering that most artists are at a pace that’s nearly twice that, it’s not surprising that Justin runs rings around them.
And Justin’s songs regularly engage in a Futurehit.DNA formula to engage his young audience:
SHORT INTROS (Chapter 1)
“One Time” has a 7 second intro. “One Less Lonely Girl” has no intro. “Baby” has a positively long 14 second intro. Yet both “One Time” and “Baby” make use of Justin utilizing an “ay” and “woah” vocal during the intro. Since Justin has a young higher pitched male voice, one could make the argument that he is creating a distinctive vocal right from the get-go so you know who’s singing.
LONGER SONGS (Chapter 2)
Justin Bieber’s songs are hardly epic with lengths of the singles ranging from 3:30 to 3:50. However, considering that Ke$ha’s big hits don’t even reach 3:30, he’s definitely competitive in his category. Regarding length, Justin’s songs actually fall right into the range of the majority of Top 100 songs at the moment.
CHORD CHANGES (Chapter 3)
There’s not a lot of chord changes going on in Bieber’s hits. However, he puts the dramatic changes where it counts. I often talk about the need to change things up around the two minute mark, and Bieber does this regularly. In “One Time”, the song drops all instruments except drums giving Justin a moment to sing acapella, which given his talent is very distinct. In “One Less Lonely Girl”, a very distinct key change occurs. And in “Baby”, there is a significant drop out towards the end of the 2nd verse that’s attention grabbing that then leads into the Ludacris verse. Nothing earth-shattering, per se, but all effective in engaging the listener at a time that counts.
REPETITION (Chapter 10)
If there’s anything that occurs in Bieber’s songs, it’s repetition.
Again, all of these elements and more contribute to the phenomenal success of Justin Bieber. Towering above them all, however, is the super serving of the audience thru constant releases. This is an element that can occur on any scale with any style of artist. The more you keep momentum within your audience and the more you keep them engaged, the more likely you will succeed. If more artists followed this formula, a $15 million US gross for recorded music would be a more regular occurrence.