Why Hasn't Madison Beer Reached Olivia Rodrigo's Level Of Success?

Madison Beer, an incredibly gifted singer-songwriter, just released her new studio album, "Silence Between Songs" – but why didn't it see mainstream success like Olivia Rodrigo's "Guts"?

By Nicole Dominique4 min read
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Madison Beer, 24, is the epitome of the picture-perfect star, the girl with the natural "it factor." There are even countless videos of Beer on TikTok, typically ones of her in natural settings showing her sweet personality: her inviting mannerisms, the warm smile she gives when she sees her fans, the way she acknowledges them and makes them feel seen. Besides the way she carries herself, Beer’s vocals are phenomenal. She can reach notes effortlessly, and it was actually her talent that led her to internet stardom. 

Justin Bieber has a superpower: With just one tweet, he could make any girl popular. In 2012, Bieber shared Beer's cover of "At Last" by Etta James. "wow. 13 years old! she can sing. great job.#futurestar," he shared. Shortly after Bieber brought Beer's name to public consciousness, she began trending on Twitter and was signed with Island Def Jam Records (managed by Scooter Braun). One year after being discovered, Beer released her debut single, "Melodies."

Most celebrities have "that one scandal" that comes to mind, like Chris Brown's assault or Ashlee Simpson's lip-syncing fiasco. For Ariana Grande, it's the donut shop or SpongeBob incident. Meanwhile, Doja Cat is collecting controversies like they're Pokemon. But I don't think of anything bad when I hear Beer's name. 

You get the point, right? Madison Beer is gorgeous, incredibly talented, young, and has a good reputation. So why isn't she famous like Olivia Rodrigo or Selena Gomez? 

Madison Beer Is an Influencer to Most People

For months, I’ve been looking for a reason as to why Beer hasn’t reached the same level of success as other well-known singers today. This piece had to be placed on the backburner multiple times because even I couldn’t fathom why Beer isn’t a massive celebrity. That is, until this week, several TikToks appeared on my “For You Page” of people discussing this exact topic asking the same question: Why isn’t Madison Beer's album a hit like Olivia Rodrigo's (whose new album Guts debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart)? Naturally, I went to the comment section, and I believe that’s where the answers were.

"When I think about Madison Beer, I don't think of musician but an influencer," @Chowbaby writes. "Maybe that's why."

Another comment reads, "I think it's because she just doesn't have recognizable music identity or maybe a recognizable voice? like olivia rodrigo has different it factor."

@cinnam.ngirl adds, "aside from the subpar marketing, I think her issue is surrounding herself w influencers like david dobrik. it cheapens her look down to influencer imo."

Reading these comments reminded me of when I first discovered Beer. It was during the King Kylie Era, and she was one of the popular girls on social media. Her Instagram photos were careful and without flaw. She hung out with the Jenners, and the only content I saw of her didn't have much to do with her singing. Therefore, I saw her as an influencer. In recent years, this idea of her deepened due to her friendship with David Dobrik, a large YouTube personality who led the ensemble "The Vlog Squad." It wasn't until 2021 – during Beer's Life Support Tour – that I saw a clip of her singing on stage and thought: "Madison Beer can sing?!"

Beer's association with other social media characters makes her look like one, and it's not her fault – the media we're consuming greatly shapes how we view something or someone. If most people only see photos of Beer's 'fits, her immaculate selfies, and videos of her mingling with YouTubers, most would automatically assume she's an influencer. If, however, more of the content online about her was mostly of her songs and her performances, then there's a high chance people would see her more as the talented artist she is.

Madison Beer Is "Too Perfect"

Another comment discussing this subject on TikTok stood out to me: "i heard someone say she's too perfect which makes her not relatable or vulnerable enough. Every single thing looks too perfect." Rodrigo's Guts was recently hailed for its "relatability" because of how well it expressed the growing pains women go through in adolescence. Outside of music, her TikTok is Gen Z personified: effortless, random, sometimes silly. Beer's TikTok videos are more curated, at least at first glance. She looks flawless in most clips, and there aren't enough showing her "imperfect" side or her personality.

Rodrigo has done a splendid job marketing herself as the "relatable" singer that's "for the girls." She's insecure and funny; she even recommended Hood Feminism to her fans. A notable shift has occurred in how young women connect with celebrities in recent years. Kylie Jenner, once seen as a role model for aspiration and aesthetics, has faced growing criticism recently. Jenner, along with many other stars like Taylor Swift, has been associated with an idealized, out-of-touch lifestyle that seems worlds apart from the everyday experiences of Gen Z. Most young women will never see the wealth or designer wardrobes these celebs do. While Beer doesn't flash her expensive or luxurious lifestyle, her "influencer" image remains incomprehensible to many women.

Madison Beer’s Marketing Team Should Have Tried More

The issue with Beer being subconsciously viewed as an influencer by the public greatly overshadows her personal brand and diminishes the specific traits we tie to big names. Think of it this way: Ariana Grande is iconic for her large ponytail and seemingly innocent personality. We know Beyoncé for being fierce and for her distinct vocals. Lady Gaga's strange costumes and quirks make her who she is, and her music has that distinct pop and dance sound. Lana Del Ray's ghostly Americana vibes live in our heads rent-free, and Olivia Rodrigo is our generation's Paramore and Avril Lavigne. But people don't really think of anything specific (i.e. a sense of style or distinct tune) regarding Beer. The general audience largely views her as an Instagram baddie, and it's unfortunate.

But let's not forget that marketing plays a giant role in an artist's success. Rodrigo's 2021 album, SOUR, became such a massive hit that it earned her three Grammy Awards. Immediately after its release, conspiracy theories arose about the next album she was supposedly coming out with. Rodrigo and her PR team did not shy away from these speculations. The "Lacy" singer would even drop hints and tease about new music. Her PR team successfully kept her fans on their toes for two years, and the seeds were carefully planted. The long-awaited anticipation was successfully built, and everyone was ready to stream Guts once it finally dropped on September 8, 2023.

With the help of a marketing team that focuses on Madison Beer as a person, there's potential for her to become a sensation. I think she can make waves in the music scene with her etheric vocals and romantic songs. Maybe the problem is us, and we need to look past the whole influencer thing and see the passion she's putting into her music. Beer just released Silence Between Songs, a Lana Del Rey-inspired album that even the "Video Games" singer has described as "beautiful." As she keeps growing and changing in her career, it's up to us to appreciate her for the talented artist she is, instead of sticking her in a one-dimensional box.

Beer tells Variety, “To have someone like her [Lana Del Rey] say like, ‘I think your album is beautiful,’ means the world to me.” She adds that Rey’s favorite tracks were “Spinnin” and “Ryder.”

She continues, “She also taught me to not put so much pressure on myself when it comes to releasing music. I tend to overthink the timeline of my releases, and she’s much more casual about it. I love making music, and I want to release more, as I please. I’m excited for what’s in store.”

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