It went from his mom sharing home videos of him singing on YouTube to an international music career replete with celebrity friends and screaming, rioting fans—all before he even had a driver’s license. Justin Bieber’s rise was a meteoric one, from humble beginnings in Ontario, Canada to accidentally being discovered by manager Scooter Braun to becoming a protégé for R&B star Usher and developing the kind of fan base that makes you fear for your life.
Before getting signed and releasing his EP, Bieber already had a following on YouTube, but with a little marketing, his popularity increased exponentially, eventually culminating into a legion of crazed teenagers stalking his every move. Braun decided to build buzz around him using the video sharing site to upload more clips of him singing using handheld cameras to ensure that he stayed accessible to the general public. Even before his EP My World was released, Bieber already had over a million views on his channel. He continues to use it to post videos and stay connected to his fans.
Months after he dropped his first single, “One Time,” he grew into a cultural phenomenon, spawning a new breed of obsessive fan base known as Bieberheads. Websites like J-Bieber.org, Justin Bieber Zone, Justin-B.org and Bieber Fever devoted to the star immediately sprang up and Twitter accounts reporting news and facts about him were created in droves. He currently has his own Twitter account with almost four million followers, which he uses to stay connected to the dedicated internet fans that elevated his career.
But the instantaneous fame came at a price. Unaware of just how vast Bieber-mania had become, he scheduled an appearance in New York’s Roosevelt Field Mall only to have to cancel when the unruly crowd of 3,000 got out of control, resulting in minor injuries to several fans. It happened again in Australia when a performance on a popular morning show was scrapped after fans were crushed by the crowd.
So far the internet fan formula has worked well for him and hasn’t killed anyone, so maybe he should stick to tweeting and posting videos on the web.