Justin Bieber's Justice Sends Him Back to the Top of the Charts – Bloomberg

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Americas+1 212 318 2000
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Asia Pacific+65 6212 1000
Justin Bieber was about to hit the road to promote his fifth album, “Changes,” when the coronavirus canceled his tour.
The new record had been a personal project, a collection of R&B songs from a Canadian heartthrob known for bubblegum pop. But the album didn’t produce any No. 1 singles, and Bieber’s return to the stage was a commercial flop, at least by his lofty standards.

He could have sat around and moped. Instead, Bieber got back in the studio and started recording “Justice.” The album has returned Bieber to the top. In March, he was the biggest pop star in the world, as well as the most-popular musician on Spotify and Instagram.
“Justice” is a return to form for Bieber after the modest performance of “Changes,” and it’s a testament to the hyper-productivity of many musicians during the pandemic. Since the start of 2020, Bieber has released two albums, an extended play (EP) record, a documentary series for YouTube, another documentary series for Facebook (with his wife Hailey) and a 25-minute coda to the YouTube series.

Bieber credits manager Scooter Braun with rollout of “Justice,” which began with a barrage of tracks last year. The artist dropped his first single “Holy” in September,” and released another single, “Lonely,” a month later. By the time the album came out in March, five songs were in the top 20 and one single, “Peaches,” had hit No. 1.
As a way to generate excitement, artists used to only release a single or two before an album came out. You let one single dominate the radio airwaves and news cycle for a while before releasing another. With “Purpose,” Bieber’s 2015 smash, he didn’t release the third single until a month after the album came out.
But in the streaming era, the line between single and album has blurred. Drake has released 17 songs across a mixtape and an extended play over the past year, all ahead of an album dropping some time in 2021.

Such productivity is music to the ears of Spotify Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek, who has advised artists upset about their pay to release more music.
While those remarks were impolitic, they speak to a new reality in the music business. Streaming services, like social-media sites, reward consistent and constant posting. If you disappear for a couple years, you run the risk of the algorithm forgetting about you.
While it’s hard to imagine anyone forgetting the 27-year-old Bieber, his output has no doubt helped him after taking a five-year break between “Purpose” and “Changes.” Interest in “Changes” was slight enough that he had to downgrade some of his planned shows from stadiums (capacity of 50,000-plus) to arenas (capacity of closer to 20,000) because of slow ticket sales.
For Bieber, the ultimate measure of his success will come later this year when he goes back on tour.
Source: Pollstar, Spotify, Nielsen Music/MRC, CrowdTangle and YouTube
Design, development and data by Christopher Cannon, Julian Burgess and Alex McIntyre.
Methodology:
Bloomberg ranked the world’s most influential pop stars based on six criteria:

  1. Trailing three-month gross revenues from live shows
  2. Trailing 30-day ticket sales for live shows
  3. Trailing four-week album sales
  4. Trailing four-week digital song streams
  5. Trailing 30-day total interactions on Instagram
  6. Trailing four-week YouTube views

Data for live shows is provided by Pollstar, which ranks the top 100 artists by average gross revenues received per show and top 75 artists by average number of tickets sold per show. Both datasets are released on a weekly basis, with Bloomberg using the final weekly releases for that calendar month. From this universe of artists for this date, Bloomberg calculates the total gross revenues over the trailing three months and total ticket sales for the previous 30 days.
Album sales data is provided by Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Figures are released weekly for the Billboard top 200 albums based on “total activity,” which is defined as albums, track-equivalent albums and audio on-demand streaming-equivalent albums combined. To construct the universe of eligible artists for that month’s ranking, Bloomberg includes any artist who is in the top 100 for any given week. Bloomberg then sums each artist’s total activity throughout the month. Figures for a given week are included as long as the final day of that week occurs during the calendar month.
Digital-song streaming data is provided by Spotify. Figures are released weekly for the top 200 songs. To construct the universe of eligible artists for that month’s ranking, Bloomberg includes any artist who is in the top 100 for any given week. Bloomberg then sums each artist’s total number of streams throughout the month. Figures for a given week are included as long as the final day of that week occurs during the calendar month.
Instagram data is provided by CrowdTangle. Interactions are measured over the course of the calendar month, from the start of the first day of the month through the end of the last day of the month. The top 100 artists qualify for inclusion in the ranking.
YouTube releases weekly data on its top 100 most-viewed artists and videos. Bloomberg uses artists from the category of “Global – Top Songs” to construct the universe of performers who qualify for the ranking. Bloomberg then sums each artist’s total views throughout the month. Figures for a given week are included as long as the final day of that week occurs during the calendar month.
For any given show, song or album that involves a collaboration of multiple artists, each artist is considered as a separate entity and credited with the total number of gross revenues, ticket sales, song streams, or views associated with the collaborative effort. If an act is an established duo or trio, the act is treated as a single entity. Artists who participate on a soundtrack album (as part of “various artists”) are not included. For March, April and May 2020 rankings, collaborating artists were not included for Spotify and YouTube data. They are included in rankings from June 2020 onward.
Comedians, models and other artists who appear in the top 100 of the six metrics (top 75 for 30-day ticket sales) but do not have musical careers are eliminated from the final universe. Each artist’s ranking within the six variables reflects their position among this final list of qualified artists. An artist with no ranking for one of the six metrics means they did not appear within the top 100 (top 75 for 30-day ticket sales) at any point during the previous month.
With the universe established, each artist is ranked on each metric. Artists are then scored on a scale of 0 to 100 for each metric based on their relative position within the metric’s ranking. The best-performing artist receives a score of 100, the worst-performing artist a score of 0, while all other artists are scored proportionally based on their position between the best- and worst-performing artists. The six metrics are equally weighted and averaged for a final score between 0 and 100.
Note: Beginning with April edition of the ranking, two changes were introduced:
1) Most artists have canceled or rescheduled tours due to the coronavirus, so there is no new data on ticket sales or box office grosses. It’s unclear when that will change. The four remaining metrics are weighted at 25% each in this new version.
2) For data that is released weekly, the ranking now includes any data whose week ends in the given calendar month. Previously, a week’s data was used if it was released in the calendar month.

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