“What Do You Mean?”

“What Do You Mean?”

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Pop music is a term that comes from “popular.” Derived from rock and roll, it originated in a modern form from the Western world during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, pop music can be found to have more electric elements combining other styles often with a verse-course structure. The term “pop song” was first used in 1926, in the sense of a piece of music having popular appeal. Throughout the development of pop music, most influences have been absorbed from many other genres. It has also made use of technological innovations with improved electronics. By the 1980s, the promotion of pop music became vastly popular by musical television channels like MTV, and VHI. By 2000, three main trends affected pop music. These were declining sales of CDs, high levels of online piracy, and the growth of pop careers launched through televised talent competition shows like America’s Got Talent, and The Voice.

Billboard magazine is an American music magazine with headquarters in New York City. It was first published in 1894, and is considered the oldest trade magazine in the world, specializing in the music industry in 1930. With the development of the jukebox industry during the 1930’s, Billboards hot 100 originated in 1936, and became the music industry standard record chart in the United States for music singles, published weekly. The billboard.com website features current news, photos, podcasts, and reviews that keep up to date information on the music industry. Chart rankings are based on radio play, online streaming, and album and single sales. Billboard 200 is the record chart rating the 200 highest ranking albums weekly, based on sales in the US. Most music artist strategize marketing plans to maximize their chart’s position. With the inside knowledge on their direct competition, artists will implement different tactics such as the timing of a singles debut to face the weakest competition. Musicians will also deliberately hold out their most marketable songs in order to boost album sales. In June, 2007 the Canadian hot 100 was released as Billboard’s first chart created outside of the United States.  Billboard charts manager Geoff Mayfield announced the premiere of the chart, explaining “the new Billboard Canadian Hot 100 will serve as the definitive measure of Canada’s most popular songs, continuing our magazine’s longstanding tradition of using the most comprehensive resources available to provide the world’s most authoritative music charts.” In 1944, Guy Lombardo was the first Canadian artist to have a number one hit on the US charts, since then many other artists such as Neil Young, Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado, and Avril Lavigne have also accomplished this. The top pop artists on the U.S. Billboards in 2015 so far to date have been Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Wiz Khalifa, OMI, The Weekend, and Justin Bieber.


Justin Bieber was a small town kid from Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He grew up teaching himself to sing and play guitar. In 2007, when he was twelve years old, his mom posted a few YouTube videos of him singing and playing guitar at home and in a few local talent shows. During this time, no one realized that this would be his first exposure to social media marketing. His mom’s main intent was to be able to share his performance with family members using a social media platform. Browsing YouTube from the US was Scott “Scooter” Braun, from SB Management. He is an American talent manager, and one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of the world,” who also owns two record labels in a joint venture with R&B performer Usher, who just happened to see one of Justin’s uploaded YouTube videos. https://youtu.be/eQOFRZ1wNLw

YouTube is where Justin’s early fan base started, and continues to attract millions of fans.

After seeing the talent in him, at just thirteen years old, he was signed with SB management and headed to Atlanta to start recording an album with Usher. A few months after his fifteenth birthday his first single, “One Time” was released. This song reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 during the first week, and peaked at number 17 on Billboard Hot 100.The song became platinum and by the time he turned sixteen he launched his first tour as a headliner in the US and Canada, performing for two million fans in less than six months. He is quoted saying “My world got very big, very fast.” In January 2010, his debut album “My World” was released, featuring the song “Baby” which became an international hit, reaching the top ten in several countries, and number three in the US. This song also holds the record as number two of the ten most viewed YouTube videos of all time. With 1,198,437,688 views since its upload date of 02/19/2010  http://whatculture.com/music/10-most-viewed-youtube-videos-of-all-time-ranked.php) .He has his fan base known as Beliebers, which was one of the top buzzwords of 2010, making him one of the most marketable singers in the World. The album was also number one on the US Billboard 200, making Bieber the youngest solo male artist since Stevie Wonder.  “Justin Bieber Tops Billboard 200 With ‘My World 2.0′”  To promote the album, he appeared on several live television programs and hosted live award shows. He also appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, continuously returning to her show to promote his upcoming albums and songs. In September of 2010, an employee of Twitter reported that Justin accounted for three percent of all traffic on Twitter. Before Facebook bought Instagram, Justin would post a photo that so many fans would “like,” that Instagram’s computers couldn’t keep up and it would lock down the database, destroying the entire infrastructure. Today, Twitter uses Facebooks’ large data centers that are able to keep up with the traffic and prevent what is called, “Bieber Bugs” from happening. In 2011, Justin was ranked number two on Forbes list of best paid celebrities under 30. http://www.forbes.com/2011/06/09/top-earning-celebrities-under-30_slide_3.html The success that Justin Bieber has had in his career comes with a lot of good and bad publicity. He has had some arrests, break-ups and other personal things in his life that have unfolded all over social media. His songs have come close to a number one Billboard hit in the US, but never quite making it, topping out at number two.

Social Media Campaigns

Social media can work well in the new music industry, and is used heavily to market a musician. Justin is a good example of using the social media platform YouTube to promote oneself. He is one of the first artists to use social media to achieve superstardom, utilizing all forms of social media to capitalize his success. He has branded himself as a young heartthrob and a teen idol which increases his social media presence. He has over 66.6 million Twitter followers, 36.8 million Instagram, and 57 million Facebook followers, with over 100 million YouTube views. Justin also created the most powerful viral message that Guinness says broke a record.http://lorirtaylor.com/justin-bieber-uses-social-media-for-social-good/ Several social media events around the tour have user generated content with the metrics of the campaign leaving 263 million brand impressions. The essence social media campaign was deemed a clever campaign to help a brand get more social.In the digital era, with album sales becoming less and less important to many artists, metrics such as total YouTube views and number of Facebook likes are important measures of success. The stats below show his current fan base, which changes daily.

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Social media helps spread music around the world, expanding the target market. The “What Do You Mean?” song presents a more mature sound then previous songs he has recorded. This album mixes popular electronic beats along with chorus, making it more appealing for an older target market. Intergrading heavily in the social community of teenagers, Justin has maintained several platforms, as well as a fan forum on his website updating fans. According to justinbiebermusic.com his website has had a steady amount of followers with a few spikes. One noticeable spike in August was related to the “What Do You Mean?” campaign. These are some of the examples of his previous successful social media campaigns.

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The most successful campaign to date is the What Do You Mean? campaign that started July 29, 2015. After a two year break, he announced a new album on the Ryan Seacrest show which started a thirty day countdown to his single, “What Do You Mean?” Following his appearance, Scooter Braun had Ryan hold a sign asking the question, and Justin posted it on Instagram.

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The marketing objectives for “What Do You Mean?” was accomplished almost in the first day from all the supporters. It created a lot of buzz engaging many stars, creating a countdown relevant to the feature song release. A surprise element adds excitement and builds anticipation through strategic marketing. The campaign objective was to have one celeb a day post a picture of them holding a sign counting down. The campaign spoke to a desired audience offering a question that was retweeted and reposted to countless fans building conversion rates to the existing traffic. This also increased brand awareness of revamping his music abilities to sound more mature to attract an older demographic. The way the campaign engaged the audience through emotions of a simple question was original and proved to be very successful. The timing of the campaign worked well by using the key aspects of the external environments, with very little competition. Setting the goals to achieve activity metrics was an important part to the timing, achieving successful use of social media’s desire to engage followers. Since the announcement of his album release, One Direction announced their album release on the same day, Nov. 13, 2015. This started a sales race that will continue until Dec. 5. To date, they are about tied, both selling about 450,000 so far, much more then the 300,000 predicted. What Do You Mean?” was well received by music critics, celebrities, and fans. With its catchy phrase, everyone was in suspense wanting to know the answer. Many celebrities supported his countdown campaign by holding a sign themselves, or getting creative and tying it to their pets. Many celebs have held up signs and appeared on Bieber’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds. Ed Sheeran held a sign to his chest while playing  guitar, Tony Hawk skateboarded in a video with 13 days left, and Shaquille O’Neal was called out for misspelling Bieber’s name with 24 days to go.

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The website BBC posted a page listing many of the celebrities’ countdowns.


Justin continued to promote it by making appearances on late night TV as well as The Today Show, making it a part of their commentary. On Aug. 19, the rollout kicked into high gear when Bieber direct messaged lyrics from “What Do You Mean?” to 49 randomly selected Twitter followers. Each message included a clock animation with a different time that corresponded to the lyric’s placement in the song, and Beliebers reposted and collectively pieced together the upcoming single’s lyrics in order. This incorporated branded entertainment by asking his followers to share the content in an interactive experience of socializing and conversing.http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6670985/justin-bieber-what-do-you-mean-lyrics-twitter-messages

The graph below is from Twitter analytics. It shows the month long increase in Twitter followers from Oct. through Nov. he has had leading up to the album release. The social media campaign was from July 30, through Aug. 28.

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On August 30, 2015 Justin performed “What Do You Mean?” for the first time, live at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, where he broke down and cried on stage at the end of his appearance https://youtu.be/uiIBBdAYgqo For the first time on September 19, 2015 his single went to number one on the Hot 100 list. It stayed at number one for five weeks, ans is now resting at number five, eleven weeks later. He won another Guinness world record as the youngest male artist to debut at number one.

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He continues to build his social media popularity after the campaign ended. The measurement of success using the beta measuring feature will provide an accurate measurement of overall search interest over time.   On November 11, 2015 Justin appeared on The Ellen show once again, as part of Bieber week to announce his world tour kicking off in Seattle, and coming to Portland on March 13, 2016. On the show, he talked about the album and how grateful he was about it’s acceptance. On a less happy note, he opened up about his recent break up with pop star Selena Gomez, mentioning that a few of his new songs are about her. http://ellentube.com/videos/0_4txbdyod

Another way he promoted his album was to partner with the ride service Lyft. This was another original campaign idea that has not been done before. During the week of the album release, starting Nov. 12, Lyft will be selling its riders the album for $5.00. When ordering a ride, it offers a select tab for “Bieber Mode.” Justin is surprising some fans with randomly picking Lyft rides to show up on. Using Lyft as a promotional tool is a good marketing strategy for both brands, it is funny to watch video of people’s shocked reactions of having Justin in the front seat.. http://blog.lyft.com/posts/lyft-bieber-mode

Another promotion he is doing is offering pre-sale tickets to American Express card members to purchase a day early with reserved seating offers (20). This is also reaching out to a larger audience since most teenagers would not have an American Express account. Many parodies are done as a hilarious imitation of Justin. Here is the most viewed 9,094,723 on YouTube of “What Do You Mean?” parody. Giving the song even more publicity. . https://youtu.be/IwpphM7u5aQ


Without a doubt, Justin owes much of his success to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He began with sharing videos on YouTube, and has continued to use it to spread word of his albums and concerts to tens of millions of followers. The young star has earned $108 million over the past two years, and the future is looking bright as a result of the new release and ensuing tour. Justin has set another recent record of 1,854,917 song plays in twenty-four hours, and is arguably the biggest pop star ever launched by YouTube to date. The weeks of teasing his “What Do You Mean?” campaign countdown adds excitement, and the anticipation it built will outweigh the popular ‘surprise release’ trend, which ensured a successful social media campaign. The “What Do You Mean” campaign has been quoted as “so much fun” for Bieber, says Braun, but the pop star’s real prize is the release of his first proper full-length since 2012’s Believe. The final analysis to the success of this campaign that started with a sign and a question, can be accurately measured after the record and concert sales are completed. For example, if the album ‘Purpose’ beats sales of ‘Made in The A.M.’

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  1. Simpson and E. Weiner, Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998
  2. “The Quality Of Popular Music Has Declined”. starpulse.com 2012
  3. (Billboard Launches Canadian Hot 100 Chart”Billboard. June 7, 2007)
  4. Bieber, Justin. 2010 First step 2 forever: My Story
  5. (http://scooterbraun.com/about) https://youtu.be/eQOFRZ1wNLw
  6.  http://whatculture.com/music/10-most-viewed-youtube-videos-of-all-time-ranked.php)
  7. Stevens, Heidi (December 29, 2010). “Top buzzwords of 2010 – Chicago Tribune”. Chicago Tribune
  8. (“Justin Bieber Tops Billboard 200 With ‘My World 2.0′”. Billboard. e5 Global Media. March 31, 2010)
  9. Justin Bieber Accounts for 3 Percent of All Twitter Traffic”. TV Guide Sept. 8, 2010
  10. (http://www.wired.com/2015/11/how-instagram-solved-its-justin-bieber-problem/)
  11. . http://www.forbes.com/2011/06/09/top-earning-celebrities-under-30_slide_3.html
  12. billboard
  13. Music 4.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age By Bobby Owsinsk
  14. (http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-agency-ideas
  15. http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/6002/justin-bieber/
  16. http://www.carscoops.com/2015/11/justi-bieber-teams-up-with-ride-sharing.html
  17. http://fanpagelist.com/user/justinbieber
  18. http://a2media8362.blogspot.com/2014/02/justin-bieber.html
  19. http://extratv.com/2015/08/21/justin-biebers-mysterious-what-do-you-mean-campaign-explained/
  20. http://www.ticketmaster.com/americanexpress/93


“What Do You Mean?”

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