Big business behind Bieber

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By the time teen idol Justin Bieber finishes singing and dancing at the last of his three concerts in Oslo Thursday night, his fans are expected to have spent well over NOK 100 million on tickets and Bieber products. There’s no question that the 19-year-old performer from Canada is big business, for himself and others.

Justin Bieber has only been performing for a few years, but appeals to fans with a lot of purchasing power in Norway. PHOTO: Wikipedia

Justin Bieber has only been performing for a few years, but appeals to fans with a lot of purchasing power in Norway. PHOTO: Wikipedia

The cheapest ticket to one of Bieber’s concerts, which sold out in a matter of minutes, was NOK 530 (nearly USD 92) while hard-core fans paid just over NOK 3,000 for a so-called “Meet & greet” ticket that allows a brief meeting and photo with Bieber. It cost NOK 1,810 to get a standing place within the “Diamond Circle” just in front of the stage as part of a “VIP package.”

With 22,500 tickets available for each show, ticket revenues alone would approach NOK 70 million, and then comes all the money needed for transportation, food, drink and, if necessary, accommodation, since fans flocked to Oslo from all over the country.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that one entrepreneur expected to sell official Justin Bieber caps and T-shirts for as much as NOK 20 million during the three-day concert run. Young Lotte Karoline Paulsen, age 11, was among Bieber’s fans happy to oblige, paying NOK 300 for a purple cap featuring the singer’s name. Paulsen, who traveled with her mother to Oslo all the way from Vardø in Norway’s Arctic reaches of Finnmark County, told newspaper Aftenposten that she also spent around NOK 2,000 (more than USD 300) on other Bieber paraphernalia.

Norwegian fans of Justin Bieber spent hours waiting outside a fancy new hotel at Tjuvholmen where they thought Bieber was staying on Wednesday. At least it had stopped raining. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Norwegian fans of Justin Bieber spent hours waiting outside a fancy new hotel at Tjuvholmen where they thought Bieber was staying on Wednesday. At least it had stopped raining. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Even though Bieber has only been performing for around five years, DN noted that he has “extremely shopping-oriented fans” behind him. He’s sold 173,000 albums in Norway, 87 million songs have been streamed in Norway alone, 161,000 downloaded and 410,000 official T-shirts and other products sold.

“He’s one of our decidedly best-selling artists,” Petter Singsaas, head of the Norwegian branch of Bieber’s record company, Universal Music. “He has an image  of only having a career via social media, but when you see these numbers, there’s major sales of products around him. This isn’t free entertainment on the Internet.”

Bieber’s social media numbers remain impressive to say the least, though, with 37 million Twitter followers and 52 million “Likes” on Bieber’s Facebook page.

His concert run in Oslo has carried heavy costs, with a security budget eight times higher than at other concerts held at Telenor Arena at Fornebu, scores of extra police needed and the express bus service from 28 cities in Norway. Morten Andreassen, the entrepreneur selling all the caps and other effects alongside his job as a lawyer in Oslo, told DN that strong Norwegian purchasing power has made it all possible.

“Because of Norwegian purchasing power and the number of concerts Bieber is holding, this is being seen as the biggest single entertainment event in Europe in 2013,” Andreassen told DN. For his fans, they were simply dreading that Biebermania in Oslo was coming to an end.

“I’ve been looking forward to this so much that I almost dread it,” 13-year-old Erle Gjerstad told Aftenposten earlier this week as she got ready for his first concert on Tuesday. “I dread it all being over.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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