It is every teenager’s dream to find fame and fortune and the lucky few, such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, have used it as a launchpad to a successful career. Justin Bieber found infamy through YouTube, which he then turned into a successful pop career with the guidance of Usher. Miley Cyrus meanwhile took her fame from the hit show Hannah Montana and used that spotlight to build herself into a successful pop star in her own right.
Teenage success stories like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus were not a new phenomenon, with teenage acts hitting the big time for years. However, these types of acts rarely seem to build on their success and often disappear from the public eye or undergo a drastic change of direction, isolating the artist from what was previously their target audience.
One of the main reasons for this is that their target audience has outgrown them. When you look at Justin Bieber’s target audience for his music, they’re generally young teens or pre-teens. Once they hit their late teens their musical tastes tend to change, and Bieber’s music is not what they want to listen to.
Another reason is that the artist themselves outgrow their musical style. Cheesy pop music is great when you’re 16, but once Justin Bieber turns 20 will he still want to sing the same kind of songs? A prime example of this is Britney Spears, who started rebelling and singing rock songs rather than pop as she grew up. While Britney’s career has remained relatively successful, other artists have struggled to maintain their success while changing their image. Macauley Culkin, star of the Home Alone movies, was very successful and had a huge fan base when starring in family movies, but soon outgrew these and has had limited success since. Hanson is another example of an act that has struggled to build any success since developing a more grown-up image; their recent attempted comeback was less than successful, mainly because they appeared to have no target audience.
Miley Cyrus long ago started to show her wild side and appears to be taking a similar career path to Britney Spears. Justin Bieber, on the other hand, is still making teen-friendly music, and will undoubtedly remain successful for the time being should he continue with this path. What will happen when continues to get older? Will he become a rap star? or completely evolve his musical style? Only time will tell, but history suggests that his teen-friendly style is unlikely to carry on forever.