Warning: This post is about tweens and tween idols.
Where did this kid come from, and how did a million tween girls come to love him before I even became aware of him?
That was the question I had when I first learned about Justin Bieber, after learning about an incident in 2009 when the teen pop star showed up at a mall and accidentally caused a stampede of tween girls that resulted in sending one fan to the hospital. Thank God, Mufasa wasn’t around.
We all know the answer to those questions now: Bieber was discovered on YouTube, signed by Usher and marketed extremely well. That seems to be the way young pop stars are being discovered these days. Tween girls love them all, and they are becoming cash cows for the music industry.
Are you aware of 16-year-old Austin Mahone, a YouTube star with more than 700,000 followers on Twitter?
I learned about him after reading a story about him in Texas Monthly:
Last October, for instance, he was in Chicago and decided to go to Millennium Park with his mom. He tweeted this information, hoping to meet a few fans who were in the area, then pulled on a gray hooded sweatshirt and a red baseball cap that said “Chicago” and strolled down the street. Nearly one thousand girls bolted into action and immediately encircled him like a swarm of bees. Local police, alarmed by the sudden mob of squealing youngsters jumping over picnic tables, swept in and extracted Austin as if he were an imperiled head of state.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Mahone used to charge tween girls $50 to $75 to talk to him for 10-15 minutes, which sounds so insane to me, but I suppose if this kid is your idol, it’s actually a pretty good deal. Wouldn’t you pay $75 to talk to Paul McCartney for 15 minutes?
After reading about Mahone, I sort of fell into an Internet rabbit hole reading about kids who are making money become YouTube pop stars. There’s this kid Cody Simpson from Australia who was also discovered on YouTube, and shares a manager with Justin Bieber.
If you’re tired of Bieber, or One Direction, and are waiting for them to fade away as they get older, like Aaron Carter or whatever tween pop stars that have come and gone just know that there will always be some new kid with floppy hair waiting in line for his chance.