Justin Bieber Manager Scooter Braun on the Ups and Downs of Millennial Oversharing -- 'Everyone Is a Self-Promoter'

Braun (right) with Bieber in 2015.
Jeff Kravitz/AMA2015/FilmMagic

Braun (right) with Bieber in 2015.

Musically ­speaking, what are the ­defining ­characteristics of millennials?
Millennials don't divide by genre; they don't see music as being simply country or pop or hip-hop. For them, it's one big melting pot, because that's the way they've grown up. And they're also the first generation that has been taught as individuals to self-promote. "How many likes can I get? How many comments, how many friends?" Everyone is a self-promoter.

That can be viewed as either ­empowering or terrifying.
The negative side is that they often feel the need to live up to this idealized life they're projecting through social media. As a manager, [I think] the good part is that the idea of promotion is not a scary thing to them. Also, in previous generations, there were gatekeepers who could limit an artist's access to their audience. Now artists are their own distributors.

Billboard Poll: 21 Millennial Artists, Influencers and Industry Execs Weigh In on the Music Biz

Clearly, some artists, like, say, Halsey, flourish having that 24/7 access to their audience, and some can't seem to handle it at all.
There's an art to giving pieces of yourself to your fans and then holding pieces back for yourself. Justin [Bieber], for instance, has grown up with it, so he generally understands what's for him and what's for the world. Then again, sometimes he doesn't. (Laughs.)

You turn 35 in June. Are there go-to young ­people at your ­company, SB Projects, who help you decipher the latest social-media trends?
Yes! My head of social media, who I met when she was a teenager running a fan site, is always finding new stuff. We have something called Tech Tuesdays, where she and one of the other millennials in my office send around an email making us aware of all the things we should be looking at. It's our weekly Tech Tuesday blast.

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Have the decidedly nonmillennial executives who run the major labels come to ­understand this demographic?
Depends on which executive and which label. There are some really great executives who do understand. And there are others who inadvertently give people like me the opportunity to build a pretty good business.

Read Billboard's survey of 21 millennial artists, influencers and industry execs on their musical discovery habits, which artists best represent them and more here

This story originally appeared in the March 19 issue of Billboard.


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