Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Scooter Braun and Psy toast to world domination, 'Gangnam Style'

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Funny how the man who made Justin Bieber stays in the news almost as much as his miraculous creation. This month the New Yorker has a 7,000-word profile on Scooter Braun, an Emory grad and former Atlanta party promoter deemed coverworthy by Creative Loafing long before he discovered the future of the music industry hiding in plain view on YouTube-by-way-of-Canada.

The latest news surrounding Scooter (gotta love that nickname) has nothing to do with Bieber, but a 34-year-old Korean pop star, instead. Psy's "Gangnam Style" went hella viral this summer — as in over 100 million views-and-counting viral. But it's only accounted for 57,000 legal U.S. downloads according to Nielsen Soundscan, Ben Sisario of the New York Times reports. So yeah, Braun is about to pimp that situation. In the video above, he's shown toasting over soju with a super maxed-out Psy in L.A. as they celebrate their agreement "to make some history together and be the first Korean artist to break a big record in the United States." He signed Psy to a deal with his Interscope-affiliated Schoolboy label, Sisario writes.

Gotta respect how Scooter just keeps putting the old music industry titans up on game. From the memeification of Bieber to 2012's annoyingly viral Carly Rae Jepsen pop-corn hit, "Call Me Maybe." Of course, there have been some less heralded moves, like his pre-Bieber discovery and signing of white-bred rapper Asher Roth — who surprisingly has proven to fit the classic, damn-near underground, hip-hop mold more than the overnight success of his first single "I Love College" may have suggested.

But for Braun, who has succeeded at breaking new acts in unconventional ways, this will be the first time he's taking an already uber-successful web artist and attempting to broaden his traditional appeal.

In a sense, the work is already done for him; Psy's "Gangnam Style" seems like a no-brainer even to foreign ears and eyes. But if he can figure out how to translate the video's viral success into serious sales in America — and not just the sort of niche sales produced by reggae/dancehall or Latin pop stars imported from the Caribbean, Mexico and beyond — dude will graduate instantly from "Teen Titan" (as the New Yorker deemed him) to industry kingpin.

If the world has indeed been flattened by the web, mining the planet for global sounds to be exploited in the old U.S. of A. seems like the next logical move. So why has no one else thought of it?

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