On second thought, don’t.
That might have been what Justin Bieber was thinking in March when he found out he might be facing legal action for tweeting a fake phone number minus one digit to his 19 million Twitter followers, resulting in more than 1,000 phone calls being made to a man and a woman in Texas who threatened to take him to court. (The potential plaintiffs’ requests: an apology, concert tickets, free publicity and financial compensation for out-of-pocket expenses.)
It was a harmless enough prank, yes, but the next time Bieber tweets something, he might want to consider doing what so many pop stars are doing and tweeting it to someone who’s also famous—like his new BFF Carly Rae Jepsen, the recipient of several recent Bieber tweets, including one wishing a “happy easter” to his fellow Canadian and fellow Top 10 resident on Billboard’s Hot 100 (Bieber with “Boyfriend,” Jepsen with “Call Me Maybe”).
Who else is connecting on Twitter? “I love you, you cray,” Katy Perry tweeted on March 31 to Rihanna, who made news when she began “following” her ex Chris Brown on Twitter. Rihanna’s sometime collaborator Nicki Minaj had a brief war of words with Cher last November on Twitter over a third party’s misinterpretation of Minaj’s lyrics: “@cher did you know that b***h @NICKIMINAJ dissed you in her song DID IT ON EM.” Cher flipped. Minaj fans flipped, too, explaining that it was a “rap metaphor,” not a jab. Cher conceded defeat. Minaj offered, simply, “@Cher #stopit5.” Case closed.
Remember the days when R&B and hip hop was the sound of pop? From the ‘90s to the mid ‘00s, music’s most dependable hitmakers—Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Boyz II Men, R. Kelly, Usher, Brandy, Monica, Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, among them—specialized in “crossover” soul, climbing both the R&B charts and the Hot 100 in tandem.
But lately, something strange has been happening on Billboard’s R&B /Hip-Hop Songs chart: A hit is no longer necessarily a hit. Just because a song is big in the R&B sphere doesn’t mean it’s big anywhere else. For the week ending April 7, 2012, only one song in the R&B/Hip-Hop Top 10—Tyga’s “Rack City”—had managed a comparable placing on the Hot 100.
The song at No. 1, Beyoncé’s “Love on Top,” which had been there for multiple weeks, was way down at No. 54 on the Hot 100. (It briefly entered the Top 40 last September, debuting and peaking at No. 20 after Beyoncé performed it at the MTV Video Music Awards.) Meanwhile, there wasn’t a single R&B diva in the Top 40 aside from Janelle Monae, who got there by guest-singing on rock band fun.’s No. 1 hit “We Are Young.”
What happened to pop’s soul? There’s a disconnect between the pop and R&B charts that hasn’t been so pronounced since the days when Michael Jackson’s label, CBS Records, threatened to pull all of its artists from MTV if the then-fledgling network didn’t play Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video.
It’s been more than a hot minute since multi-platinum boy bands like *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys roamed the earth and ruled the charts. Now, after a decade-long dormancy, cute, heavily-styled guys who sing in harmony and don’t play instruments are suddenly back in fashion.
Once again, the UK is leading the charge onward and upward. While Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC were born in the USA, they enjoyed their earliest success in the UK. This time, though, the new wave of blushing boy bands represents an authentic UK-born-and-bred British invasion.
The members of The Wanted, whose “Glad You Came” single has climbed into the Top 3 of Billboard’s Hot 100 (the quintet’s self-titled US debut album arrives April 24), and One Direction, whose first album, Up All Night, just outpaced Adele to enter Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at No. 1 (176,000 vs. 148,000 copies sold), all hail from Britain and Ireland.
In just a few months, both groups already have enjoyed more US success than Ireland’s Westlife, or Take That, perhaps the UK’s biggest boy band ever, who aside from one Top 10 single (1995’s “Back for Good”), never made it big in the States. (With the exception of Spice Girls and Bananarama, UK female vocal groups—including All Saints in the ‘90s and, more recently, Sugababes and Girls Aloud—haven’t fared much better in the US over the years.)
Nicki Minaj is finally ready to release her highly anticipated sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. The twenty-one-track album features verses from Nas, Drake, Rick Ross and Cam’Ron among others. Last month she told Complex she intended to sell 5 million copies of the album and tour the whole world. From the looks of it, she’s getting awfully close to her goal. The Harajuku Barbie is already busy promoting the record, and she’s wasting no time hitting the road. Minaj will kick off her European tour at Stockholm, Sweden’s Annexet on June 8th. Other destinations include Belgium, London, Brussels and Paris before the tour wraps up at the UK’s annual V Festival 2012 on August 18th.
Since you’re reading this post in a publication that is distributed through a music discovery Web site, there’s a good chance that you’re pretty familiar with the ins and out of the Internet. You’re on Facebook, maybe you’ve tweeted and there’s a good chance you’ve checked in on Foursquare. So, that’s it for social media, right?
Wrong. You can’t really think it’s OK to keep active with just the big players, the major social media platforms that everyone online is already familiar with. These days, you can’t just be on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace (even though your band hasn’t been logged into for years). The reason is that the game is changing every day. It seems every week there is some new social media or Web site that you need to get involved with. Since it can be daunting to peruse through all the different sites and understand both what they offer and what they can do for your band, we’re going to highlight some of the more useful blogging tools that musicians like you need now.
Tumblr has been around for a while now—founded on 2007, it’s a twentysomething in Internet years. But it really just began to come into its own in 2011, and now is as good a time as any to get into it. Why? There’s a few reasons. Tumblr’s simplified platform is easy enough for anyone to use and the various themes users allow anybody to make a clean, attractive blog. The ask and reply system allows for straightforward correspondence between users. But the most impressive aspect of the Tumblr experience? It’s personal. Facebook allows for mass communication, Twitter allows for mass broadcasts but Tumblr is far more intimate. The artists that do it right, like indie band Toro Y Moi or the Beastie Boys, combine little glimpses into who they are, from their interests to their lives. For more ideas and inspiration, check out the tumblrs for Tom Waits, Childish Gambino and OurStage’s own Bethesda.
Yes, you’ve heard of Google and chances are you’ve heard of (but maybe not used) Google+. Fair enough, you’re not alone if you’ve tried and not kept up with the search giant’s attempt to break into the social media game. However, it may just be the time to give it another look. A number of major name artists are beginning to make use of the burgeoning social media platform. Big names like Britney Spears, T-Pain, Mark Hoppus and Trent Reznor are all users. Google+ has already had it’s fair share of breakout stars, like OurStager Daria Musk. Daria has mastered the medium and became a sensation on Google+ overnight, with over 200,000 people tuning into her last livestreamed show. Check out footage from the Daria’s first Google Hangout concert below.
Finally, you would be forgiven if you’ve come across Pinterest and not thought anything about it with regards to your musical career. Pinterest is like an online cork board; users share images on their pinboards and can browse the pinboards of others for inspiration. At least at this early stage, Pinterest is like Tumblr but with a more human element, or Facebook without all the excess noise. While the number of musicians on Pinterest as of right now is limited—the Backstreet Boys appear to have the the biggest presence—the service is still very young and growing fast. In fact, the invitation-only site has seen explosive growth in the past six months, growing from 2 million to 11 million weekly visitors between September to December of 2011. So while there’s no obvious strategy for musicians on Pinterest—self-promotion is frowned upon and the service is image based for now—it would be good to get in on the ground floor of the wildly popular service.