Whether it’s surprising fans with unannounced visits or singing from balconies in France, Justin Bieber is known for devising schemes that grab attention. Reported events of a stolen laptop and leaked private photos were deemed a publicity hoax when they coalesced with the release of the music video for “Beauty and a Beat” (featuring Nicki Minaj), from his most recent album Believe, the Friday the current charting week ended. The plan, whether intended or not, worked: Bieber soars 6-3 on Billboard’s Social 50 after breaking a VEVO record for the most views in 24 hours.
The Social 50 chart ranks the most popular artists on YouTube, VEVO, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, using a formula that blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with weekly artist page views and weekly song plays.
On Tuesday Oct. 9, while playing the Tacoma Dome in Washington, Bieber reportedly had his laptop stolen backstage. “Sucks when u take personal footage and people dont respect your privacy…. i had a lot of personal footage on that computer and camera and that is what bothers me the most. #lame #norespect [sic]” the pop star tweeted the following afternoon. Then, the sex tape rumors started, generating press in The Washington Post, Perez Hilton, TMZ, Fox News and myriad celebrity pop sites about alleged footage obtained from the reported stolen laptop. All of this press was amassed by Bieber himself, who blasted links to the news reports to his 29 million Twitter followers in a series of tweets preceded by the hashtag #noon.
What happened at noon that day? The video for “Beauty and a Beat” dropped and Bieber took fans in the palm of his hand to a water park dance party, complete with Minaj herself. The video soared in popularity, and, with 10.6 million views in a 24-hour period, VEVO announced that Bieber had set the record for the most video views in such a span. Bieber added more than 500,000 followers to his overall fanbase along with an 80% increase in weekly video views.