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How ‘Call Me Maybe’ and Social Media Are Upending Music -

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I don't know anything about Bieber, but he seems business savvy:

Mr. Bieber’s role in popularizing the song reflects the importance of both social media and old-fashioned celebrity promotion. On Dec. 30, 2011, he told his 15 million Twitter followers that “Call Me Maybe” was “possibly the catchiest song I’ve ever heard lol.” Shortly thereafter, he and Mr. Braun signed Ms. Jepsen to their label in the United States, Schoolboy, which is affiliated with Interscope Records and the Universal Music Group.

To exploit the success of the single, which has sold eight million downloads around the world, Ms. Jepsen delayed the release of her album. Called “Kiss,” it will now be released next month, when she will also hit the road as an opening act for Mr. Bieber.

The song’s trajectory also demonstrates the continuing power of radio, which record executives say is still essential to turn any song — no matter how much online buzz it has — into a genuine smash.

In March and April, when “Call Me Maybe” was getting tens of millions of views on YouTube, it still had relatively low radio play — fewer than 5,000 spins a week on Top 40 stations in the United States, according to Nielsen. It hit No. 1 on iTunes on May 27, but took almost a month to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s singles chart, which counts sales as well as airplay and streaming services. By then it had about 20,000 spins a week on multiple radio formats.

If tech allows creators to professionally record music in their garage and to effectively market and distribute it online... what are record companies for, anyway?

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