Monday, August 27, 2012

Managing Bieber and Selling Perfume

It's no longer about the music, although don't let that be forgotten if it's what got you to the top in the first place.  The New Yorker profile of Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber's manager explains that you no longer have to make sure that your artist plays gigs and makes records.  A manager has to make perfume deals, create reality shows and sign a block of other talent (He also managed Carly Rae Jepsen and the Wanted).

Scooter wears Mickey Mouse and Star Wars T shirts and grew up in Greenwich, CT, which he liked to play down. He promoted parties in Atlanta and got two pieces of advice that resonated with him.
  1. Jermaine Dupri told him he'll never get rich throwing parties.
  2. David Geffen (his idol) told him to get out of the music business, which is why he is in several businesses. 
Braun & Bieber, Forbes Magazine
Managing young pop acts is different than managing rock bands or singer songwriters.  As the article points out, how much longer will Bieber listen to Braun's advice?  He seems to now, but is showing signs of a possible rebellion.  Young pop acts, usually way under 18 years old, will want success and a manager like Braun is a perfect fit.  He can wheel and deal for the artist.  According to him, he takes a standard 15 to 20% commission and he gives Bieber cuts in that commission when he signs artists like Jepsen.  That cut did come with a commitment from Bieber to promote her.

Rock acts tend to be a bit more grizzled and there is usually more than one ego a manager is dealing with.  Most of the times they are worried about credibility and selling out.  99.9% of the rock acts couldn't sell a fragrance the way Justin Bieber did, but they might be able to tour and have a long career.  The flip of that is Justin Bieber has probably secured enough money to quit now and never have to do anything for the rest of his life.  Putting out music into his 20's might not even be a goal for him.  Rock musicians usually realize the advice you gave them was great, but they realize it a year too late.  Timing is everything.

Young pop acts are more accepting and Braun appears to be very good at steering them to a large audience. He himself has one with over 1.8 million followers on Twitter.  The home page of his website is one graphic after another heralding his press.  He has philanthropic endeavors.

Is he the new David Geffen? It's too early to tell if the thirty one year old Braun has staying power, but for now, he is talking the talk. 


  1. Justin Beiber is NOT the new David Geffen.
    Mr. Geffen knows the music and film business
    from start to finish.

    1. Scooter's hero is David Geffen. It appears he is hoping his career parallels Geffen's. I don't think Justin has any interest in being David Geffen, but I could be wrong.