Justin Timberlake Manager Johnny Wright on Secret Plans Around ‘20/20 Experience,’ Touring, Myspace,  More

Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.


The album stream appeared on iTunes at an odd time, 5:20 p.m. ET or so. Was there any reason for that?
No. The only timeline plan was that when the single was launched, because Justin owns a brand called 901 -- that’s the area code for [his hometown of] Memphis -- so we wanted 9:01 [p.m. PT] to be the start time of when he launched the single. But the album, no, that’s just a coincidence.

Myspace streamed the single -- why wasn’t it more involved with the album?
Justin’s been doing a lot of interviews and he’s done a couple of town halls where he’s previewed what the site is going to look like when it’s completely finished and open. The only problem with that was, unfortunately, at the time we were ready to release music, the site wasn’t ready to fully go live. So we did it in ways to continue to give you a sneak peek, but we couldn’t really exercise all of the platforms and the programs that are going to be on it when it goes live. But once it goes live -- and I’m not really officially sure of the date, but it’s coming up -- we have a lot of things that we are going to incorporate Myspace in, and I can give you one right now: One of the big things that Myspace had in the past that we are bringing back is secret shows. And Justin is actually flying to Austin Saturday as part of South by Southwest to reignite the secret shows, and he’s going to do one Saturday night in Austin.

Will Myspace stream the show?
We’re not doing a stream right now. They’re going to film it and hold it -- we want to make sure that when we do that, the platform is open and fully functioning for everybody so as they get the best benefit out of Justin we get the best benefit out of them.

So the SXSW appearance is more of a Myspace play than a Timberlake promotion? Some people were a little confused that Justin was playing there: “The Super Bowl! The Grammys! And now … South by Southwest!”
[Laughs] That is strictly a Myspace play to let everyone know that Justin’s fully integrated, involved, and that secret shows were always a powerful thing for them. And this is one of the things that he’s going to be the first guy to stand up and say, “I believe in this and we’re going to continue to do this moving forward and I’m going to be one of the first ones to do it.” You’ll see a lot of that happening with the different platforms and opportunities that Myspace will give to other artists and emerging artists. Justin will take a big role in introducing a lot of those things as the site goes live and it becomes official.

And he’s going to tour on his own after the Jay-Z stadium tour this summer?
Yeah. Probably he’ll go out sometime in the fall. We haven’t routed that yet or figured out what cities we’re going to play. I know we’ll start in North America first. But again, our focus is getting the album out and getting the Jay/Justin piece done.  And I would say sometime in April/May we’ll announce when Justin is going to put his own solo tour out.

How are the ticket sales so far?
Better than anybody could hope! There’s a bunch of them up that are already sold out, and the shows don’t even start playing until the 7th of July.

What will the sets be like? Will they do solo sets and then do one together?
I can’t really give that away right now. But that’s something for those two to talk about, which they will in the not too distant future. All I can say is it’s two of the biggest superstars in the world, and they’re gonna bring something that is going to be very special to the stage.

Are you expecting a big U2-sized production, or will it be more streamlined like the TV appearances?
Again, that is still something we’re working out. It’s Justin and Jay-Z so it’s gonna be spectacular, but I can’t tell what the dimensions will be -- are people gonna be flying out the sky? I don’t know. We are in a mode right now to get this album released and those creative conversations will have to start next week when things kind of die down and Justin has more time to focus on them. But for the most part, no one will be disappointed.

Considering everything you’re doing in such a short period of time, are you concerned about overexposure?
You know what? It’s funny, because I don’t think so and I can only say that by this: We’re not doing half the stuff that I’ve seen other artists doing. I just think we were very strategic [in] the type of programs we’re doing. The Grammys are the biggest music program of the year, so we do that. We happened to do a private party [during Super Bowl week] -- which wasn’t even something that we were doing to promote the music, it was for his charity -- but it got a lot of coverage. That wasn’t a part of our marketing plan, it was just something that we did. The radio partnerships, too: Our record’s still on the move-up. We’re still trying to match the thing with Bruno Mars or Rihanna. So I don’t think that we’re overexposed in that situation. I just think, again, because we had a short window, it seems like a lot of things coming on top of each other.

And don’t forget: when you haven’t been in the music mix for that many years, you have to go on multiple platforms to make sure people are out there. The worst thing that I can hear is, “Oh, I didn’t know Justin had a record coming out.” That’s the kiss of death. So for me I would rather people say, “Hey, I see this everywhere and know that it’s coming” than say “I didn’t know anything about it.”