Scooter Braun Discusses Relationship With Justin Bieber in the New Yorker
Wed, 29 Aug 2012 10:55:36
Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun is profiled in the new issue of The New Yorker. He also manages The Wanted and Carly Rae Jepsen, so he is behind a teen explosion!
Author Lizzie Widdicombe says Braun's business relationship with The Biebs which involves other acts is solid, since Braun "makes it worth Bieber's while: when Braun signed Jepsen, he gave Bieber a 50 percent cut." Braun told Bieber, "We'll be partners. But you're going to do your part, being a loudspeaker: put her on your tour, sing a song with her." Barry Weiss, the chairman of Bieber's label Island Def Jam, told Widdicombe, "Scooter created a platform that basically hadn't existed."
On his relationship with his prodigy, Braun tells Widdicombe, "Justin's and my relationship is not a manager-artist relationship. When he was 13, I said, ‘If you stop singing, if you never dance again, if you never play again, I'm going to be in your life.'"
But Braun takes a tough-love approach when he needs to: "I'll curse his ass out if I think it's necessary," Braun told Widdicombe.
Widdicombe witnessed one instance in which Bieber is late to a rehearsal and Braun tells Widdicombe that the eighteen-year-old Bieber will go "on what I call probation. He has to have somebody come to his house every workday." When asked what Braun's biggest fault is, Bieber told Widdicombe that he is "too hard to impress . . . He's too hard on me."
Braun copped to comparisons to Colonel Parker, Elvis Presley's controlling manager, but tells Widdicombe that the similarities go only so far: "What you see is what you get with me. It's not a manipulation thing." Braun emphasized that he takes a standard management fee, "between fifteen and twenty per cent," and, unlike some managers, he doesn't "double-dip"—that is, collect both royalties and a management fee from an artist who is signed to his label. "If you've got to gouge someone, then that's very short-term thinking," he told Widdicombe.
"Cross-promotion is all part of the interdependent business culture that Braun has created," Widdicombe wrote. "Braun sees part of his job as developing revenue streams that labels wouldn't think of." Braun told Widdicombe that "CD sales have declined drastically, but the over-all business has grown: licensing, merchandising, digital sales. . . . My job is to make sure a client doesn't have any ‘what if's—to make sure, when you look back, you don't say, ‘What if I had done this? What if I had done that?' " So, "Braun has been converting his twelve-person company, SB Projects, into a many-faceted organization: it now has film and TV arms (Braun recently sold a scripted show, and has reality shows in development), a publishing division, and a technology-investment unit, in addition to a label and a management company," Widdicombe wrote. "The speed and the scale of Bieber's success have tended to make Braun seem like a lottery winner: a lucky schmo who hit it big," but, Braun tells Widdicombe, he looks "to the shit talkers to find out what I have to do next." After hearing that someone had called him a one-hit wonder, he told Widdicombe, "I decided, I'm not just gonna break one new act, I'm going to break two more."
Pick up the new issue and read more about Scooter Braun, or check out the story at the NewYorker.com.
How many Beliebers will nab the issue?