2012’s Most Powerful Popstars
It’s almost the end of 2012 (not really) but it IS the time where people totally ignore the fact we have two calendar months left before both
A. Artists stop selling albums that qualify as being part of the year
B. The world ends because its the Kardashians will finally reveal their devious endgame as the rapture opens.
So it’s clearly time for us to hastenly crown the most influential pop artists of 2012 according to absolutely nobody except me! This list has been waited for by absolutely nobody with baited breath for many seconds. So I won’t keep you any longer. Let’s begin the countdown after the jump……
10. Nicki Minaj
Well this big tittied troll should be no surprise to anyone really as she’s been on every single record in 2012 released. Nicki did what any good popstar needs to do to sell records, she got her newly fake tits out at every single possible occasion and also completely sold out. Starships is not just complete pop, it’s complete pop eurotrash club nonsense, and it’s kind of fun anyway.
For chart domination worldwide and branding herself as a dysfunctional human Barbie with an acid tongue we have to give Nicki some props.
9. Adam Levine
Adam Levine may be annoying a dumb douche. But we’d all still hit it repeatedly from every direction. As the helmer of Maroon 5, Adam smartly embraced his obvious ego by joining a talent show as a judge, and in the process has managed to keep his music top-of-mind with the record buying public.
Get this, Maroon 5 have been in the mainstream scene for 10 years now. TEN YEARS. How fucking old does that make you feel?
Their brand of U2-Lite pop-rock that sells to largely teenage audiences has continued to stay relevant long past other similar groups, and the real coup was releasing “Moves Like Jagger” as it quietly became one of the top-selling songs of all time.
8. Katy Perry
When you think of Katy Perry you might think of the words “annoying” and “Crap Zoey Deschannel” But since Katy has sold over 11 Million albums and 75 Million digital downloads worldwide from TWO ALBUMS you have to wonder if she’d give a flying fuck about what we think.
Katy managed the unimaginable feat of her second album selling better than her smash debut pretty much everywhere, and she literally milked the death out of the album which was originally released over two years ago now and yielded EIGHT singles, six of which hit #1 on the billboard chart. Every single one of the singles from the album also sold over 2 million copies, a record.
Katy Perry is basically a record selling machine, and whilst she has a long way to go to sell herself as a touring artist to match the likes of Britney or Madonna, she did manage to earn $60 Million from her California Dreams tour. Perry has embraced her role as counterpopstar, everything we want from pop whilst being tongue in cheek about it all.
7. Justin Bieber
The most annoying entry on our list by far, we can’t deny that Biebz is unfortunately the most powerful male popstar on the planet. Bieber is the King of the Internet driven by young girls and undesirable gays everywhere, and even though his music is total uninventive drivel, it’s really secondary to his starpower.
Uncharismatic and having thrown a number of Chris Brown-esque tantrums, Bieber still managed to sell a lot of records, though not as feverishly so as he once did. Bieber is not an album-selling artist though, his music regularly overshadowed by the rabidity of his fanbase. Still, he can sell products, sell records, and sell tours at a tender age with little effort. Most importantly, he’s the best positioned named to exploit the internet audience out of anyone on the list.
You have to hand it to P!nk, who might be considered a surprise entry to the list. P!nk represents a rare breed of superstar whom combines raw vocal talent with popstar theatrics, and she seems to be continuing to grow both creatively and commercially.
P!nks debut album shifted 2 Million units in the US in 2000. Her most recent CD “The Truth About Love” just became her first US #1 album and has already gone gold. Her sales have almost remained static if not generally growing over a period of 12 years, despite the album sales industry collapsing around her.
What makes P!nk so powerful as a popstar is her global appeal. She can sell out shows everywhere from America to Australia and as a co-writer of most of her songs, is cashing in and checking out too. Pink has sold in excess of 40 Million albums and 70 Million singles globally in her career, which is not too shabby.
She is also a powerhouse of the concert tour, where real money remains for musical artists. She shifted 320,000 tickets in Australia within a few hours for her latest tour, where she is so popular she’s taking up residence from June to September in just five cities.
In addition, the tour to support her last cd sold over 3 Million tickets and is one of the most attended tours of all time.
5. One Direction
As massively irritating as they might be, One Direction’s brand of purely generic feelgood pop is exactly what their 12 year old fans want, and the fact that they all look about 12 is helpful for that audience too. One Direction have become the new Justin Bieber of the pop world, in that they have the full attention of the fanbase that Bieber is gently losing as he tries to be “all grown up”. It’s only a matter of time before the Biebs is starring in “The Circus, Starring Justin Bieber” tour after he comes out of rehab with a shaved head.
With two back to back albums One Direction are intent in keeping the US audience’s attention that’s relatively rare for a UK act to be able to capture.
So as they embark in that prolific act two of their inevitably long and painful journey (for us, the adult public) we have many questions to answer, including which one is the gay one? (Spoiler: There’s two of them)
Rihanna seems to literally not be physically able to sit the fuck down. She is always on the go, always making music, and always causing media drama. She’s the new Britney Spears but with more raw edges and fan connection than Spears has ever had.
Her turning point moment, a collab with Jay-Z on Umbrella, saw her undergo an overnight transformation from “generic popstar” to edgy, exciting voice of a generation, and the subsequent restylings of Rihanna have shown that she has an excellent sense for what is relevant, fresh and commercial.
Rihanna is pretty much unable to shift albums in the quantities of other popstars, because she’s a singles artist – but single sales from RiRi are the top of the game. She’s a global sensation and her urge to release new music consistently means there’s never been a period where we’ve been on a break from Rihanna. She’s the highest selling digital artist in US history having shifted near 50 Million singles, and since 2005 Rihanna has released an album every single year bar one.
What’s interesting about Rihanna is her creative voice gets stronger and fiestier with each new release, and you get a real sense that behind the dancepop numbers there’s something more real and tangible, unlike many of her rival contemporaries who are nothing more than song vehicles. Perhaps it’s Rihanna’s much publicized personal battles which have graced her shallow pop with a sense of authenticity.
Her ability to release hit after hit and take drastic left turns in her direction to even greater commercial success is a testament to her durability and flexibility as an artist. Rihanna is the quintessential popstar of 2012.
3. Britney Spears
Britney Spears hasn’t even released a studio song or album in 2012, but she continues to prove herself a worthy superstar who can re-invent herself to remain relevant despite not even doing anything. She’s been truly back on the scene in 2012 in a big way after years of avoiding talk shows, interviews and magazines.
Looks like the motivation of $15 Million to sit down and judge contestants proved enough to get Britney out on the circuit again, as she adds that on-top of her massive $58 Million earnings from the previous year. Spears is a media mogul machine, with endorsements and branding always being at the core of her money-making machine. But surprisingly, despite lacking live vocals, Spears continues to be a big draw on the arena and stadium tour circuits.
Album sales are down for Brit Brit like most artists in the new age, but she’s adapting to the new digital era – her single sales are continuously growing, and she’s seeing that Billboard #1 more frequently. But the record sales have only been a small part of the bigger picture. Britney Spears is the ultimate in celebrity power, and her multi-billion dollar perfume empire is a testament to that. Britney is technically too old, too uncool for the all-dominant record buying public that she was originally engineered to appeal to, but for the audience she originally marketed to, she’s had a rebirth in recent years and appears to be determined to hold onto that.
It feels like Britney finally looks like shes starting to care about her career again, though the backseat she obviously took for the previous years is becoming even more painfully evident. A complex and contrasting character – after all these years Spears in one way or another keeps the public wanting more, even if the meaning of that statement with regard to her is drastically different now than it was in 1999.
2. Taylor Swift
Well, not much needs to be said about Swifty. She’s breaking records right left and centre and has had over 50 songs chart in the Billboard Hot 100. Her latest album shifted well over 1.2 Million units. Swift is selling out tours, has a perfume line, and whilst she’s been top of the US charts for years, her new CD marks the advent of her world-domination, going pop to rule the world. Worth over $165 Million, Taylor represents the rare double act of writing her own best-selling pop songs.
With Red, Taylor is imminently poised to push Rihanna to second to become the biggest selling digital sales artist ever and “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is on track to become her biggest global hit ever and is sure to spawn an array of singles and a sellout global tour.
If Taylor releases a Christmas album, expect billboard charts to break.
Adele didn’t even release a new album in 2012, but her “21” has become a phenomenon, selling over 4.5 Million units in the UK alone – where it’s now the 5th biggest selling album of all time.
Internationally Adele conquered America and “21” became the first album to shift over 9 Million units since Usher’s “Confessions” in 2005 as well as becoming the longest-running number one album ever there. Infact, Adele is cited to have single-handedly saved the record sales industry across the globe, spiking sales that without her, would have slumped significantly. Suffice to say, all of her singles have been multi-platinum smashes too.
All in, “21” has sold over 25 Million copies worldwide. Her record sales have been fuelled by her incredible voice and likable, brash demeanor. Adele is not a popstar, she is a superstar voice – and that is what resonates in a musical landscape that transcends age.
Demi Lovato...for making the smartest career move in history by signing next to Britney Spears as a talent show judge. Her songs “Skyscraper” and “Give Your Heart a Break” are the first time she’s sounded like a real popstar, and for that she deserves kudos. Whilst Lovato’s Google search index continues to rise, competition Selena Gomez has been sharply falling. Expect this one to stick around.
Christina Aguilera…for actually returning somewhat to relevance as a talent show judge, and releasing a new single that people actually quite like. Her new album Lotus at least promises to sell more copies than her last CD.
David Guetta...for single-handedly ruining music by being on every fucking pop song in the last five years and continuing to just slaughter the music industry with terror.