Boy Bands Are Back In Sync
- February 20th, 2012
- 1 Comments
It’s official, boy bands are bringing sexy back! No, we (sadly) don’t mean a ‘N Sync reunion, but rather a resurgence of male, mostly pop musical groups that tweens, teens, and even twenty-somethings are embracing. Call it boy bands 2.0 if you will, as social media, nostalgia, and music-themed TV shows are bringing boy bands to the center of the pop culture and marketing worlds once again. And based on the success of several groups so far, we imagine they’ll be around for a while. Cue the screaming girls…
The return of boy bands isn’t an entirely new observation, but it’s certainly notable as numerous groups are rising to the top of the charts, capturing the attention of youth and Millennials, meanwhile employing essential marketing strategies for young artists today. Currently, One Direction, a British boy band formed on “X Factor,” and The Wanted, a British group considered the bad boys of pop music, hold the 12th and 13th spots, respectively, on the U.S. iTunes singles chart. They both have made it in America, a difficult feat for any international artist, let alone a boy band since the term often conjures a negative stigma and stereotype.
But all of that’s changing today for a multitude of reasons, including a wave of 90s nostalgia where Millennials miss the culture and comfort from the decade in which they grew up. And a key part of the 90s of course was the dominance of boy bands in the music scene – including the merchandise, choreographed dance routines, and mass hysteria over musical heartthrobs. And as Millennials now long for simpler times with catchy lyrics, feel good songs, and, of course, attractive artists, a new crop of boy bands are there to fulfill their needs, as well as introduce another generation of tweens and teens to this adolescent experience.
There have been signs of this emerging trend for a while now. Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block made a comeback last year, merging as NKOTBSB to tour the US, UK, and Australia. Even before that in 2005, the Jonas Brothers started a successful run with their music, a hit TV show, a concert tour, 3D concert movie, and the Camp Rock movie franchise. They perhaps paved the way for the resurgence of boy bands, but now it’s a full on phenomenon yet again.
Several groups have shown just how relevant boy bands are today. Here’s a rundown of the top acts right now:
We chatted with The Wanted, in October about their rise to the top and their savvy, yet authentic, social media strategies. They just completed a sold out U.S. tour, are currently doing an arena tour in the UK (with a smart interactive marketing tactic), and prior to their success in the states, opened for Justin Bieber and Britney Spears. Their hit song “Glad You Came” will even be featured on this week’s episode of “Glee,” and the group, which began by performing at schools and nightclubs in the U.K., are now international popstars with an album coming out in the U.S. in the next few months, along with a rumored duet with Rihanna. This seems to be just the beginning of their American invasion.
Then there’s Big Time Rush who have had a hit show on Nickelodeon since 2009 — about the formation of a boy band and their everyday adventures — and they’ve become stars like the characters they play on the show, producing music and touring (much like the marketing model of “Hannah Montana”). They’ve made it well…big in the past few years and have a Big Time Movie (literally) out next month about their international stardom.
As is the case with Big Time Rush, TV has launched many of today’s top boy bands including the aforementioned group One Direction, who were formed by Simon Cowell on the UK’s “X Factor.” Although they didn’t win the competition, they’ve gone on to find fame at the height of the boy band resurgence and are hugely popular in the UK and will soon be in the U.S. as well. In fact, they’re opening for Big Time Rush on a U.S. tour that just kicked off, and they’ll appear on an upcoming episode of “iCarly.” Their first single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” rose to #10 on the U.S. iTunes chart within a day of its release, reaffirming that boy bands are indeed back.
Allstar Weekend, a pop rock boy band, has also risen to the top after being contestants on a Radio Disney special, “Next Big Thing” in 2009. They didn’t win the competition, but the program launched them as a group, and they’ve since toured with Millennial favorite Selena Gomez, appeared on the Disney show “Sonny With a Chance” (now “So Random!”), and are currently touring North America on their own.
Besides having an excited fan base who support today’s boy bands both in person and extensively online, these new artists stay relevant to obsessed teenybopper and Millennial fans through social media, which creates a closer connection and correspondence that wasn’t available to them at the height of the former boy band era. The resurgence is also due in part to how boy bands have changed; many of today’s groups don’t have choreographed dance routines like The Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, or other 90s successes. Instead, they focus on music, and in some cases, instruments, thus reworking the perception of boy bands. With a modern update, more avenues of promotion, and mass appeal, it’s no surprise that boy bands are back with promise to reach even bigger proportions than before!