Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Man Who Gangnam-Ed the World

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Man Who Gangnam-Ed the World

Article excerpt

Byline: Jasmine Gardner

BY the time you read this, the pop video Gangnam Style by a 34-year-old Korean called Psy will have been watched by almost 532 b million people around the the globe. It has spawned dozens of parodies, including one by Eton boys (see opposite) and everyone from Britney Spears to UN secretarygeneral Ban Ki-moon has danced to its riding trot and side gallop jig. Although Psy was already a hugely established pop star in South Korea, soon after the video's release in mid-July there was an important turning point. On July 31, Scooter Braun -- the man who made Justin Bieber a global brand -- tweeted "How did I not sign this guy!?" with a link to the video.

The Western celebrity world woke up. A spate of tweets from T-Pain (managed by Braun), Britney, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry and Josh Groban appeared. Psy's agency, YG EntertainY -ment, quickly responded to say the tweets were not a media stunt but they had never needed to get involved. Psy was already on the radar of Braun, pop's new Simon Cowell.

It was in 2007 that Braun, the 31-yearold former Atlanta-based party planner, had spotted a young boy singing on the internet. It was Justin Bieber, who at the time had just 70,000 YouTube views. Y Many assume Bieber was just an unsigned viral star until 2009, when he released his first single. In fact Braun (who was pretty much unknown himself before Bieber) admitted in an interview: "I'm filming half those videos you see online ... the secret to the marketing was to keep it organic and authentic ... It gave the kids hope, something to believe in." Braun formed a management company with top US R&B singer Usher, signed Bieber and promoted him to becoming the most followed person on Twitter after Lady Gaga -- worth $110million. Braun is thought to have personal wealth of around $23million and he helps Bieber manage his money. Together they invest in start-ups.

Braun's successes have since multiplied.

In September, revered US magazine the New Yorker dedicted an article Y to Braun entitled "Teen Titan". He's is also the man behind the British boy band The Wanted -- the rivals to Simon Cowell's One Direction. …

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