Week 1 Assignment

I really enjoyed both assigned readings for this week: Teen Titan: The Man Who Made Justin Bieber and Listening and Longing: Abridged. They both offer a nice contrast to how the similar marketing strategies and choreographed publicity stunts were used in different eras.

I was particularly drawn to the New Yorker article about Scooter Braun since I follow Justin Bieber and Madison Beer on Instagram, and can relate to the time period more. I personally find Scooter Braun’s persona to be complex: a mix of arrogant frat boy and a shy basketball kid. I think there are moments he is overly pushy with his clients in order to increase his (and their) profits, but there are also moments where he seems very genuine. For example, it is awesome that a percent of every major deal goes to charity. We need more mangers, artists, and businesses to participate in these types of actions, especially when they are earning millions of dollars in profit. However, in contrast, I find it ironic when the article describes how Scooter Braun is not a “Svengali type” capitalist manager. Sure, Braun gives Justin Bieber a cut for every side deal he does to help promote his other clients. Yet, at the end of the day, Justin Bieber is Braun’s token to success: his best marketing strategy. I wonder how successful he would be with his other clients if he didn’t have Bieber to be a spokesperson. He needs to micromanage and give Justin “probations” otherwise his control over him will loosen. Justin could retire or want a change in direction then that from Braun’s. Another component of the relationship is that is has lasted many years. Both Braun and Bieber grew up together. Whether Braun admits it or not, Justin Bieber is his life’s work (his biggest achievement). He won’t give that up so easily since he has invested so much of his time into building his image. Overall, Scooter Braun is successful at what he does and I believe he orchestrates his celebrity character as much as those of his clients.

Below is my autobiographical celebrity fandom timeline:

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