Transcript for Boy bands sell millions of albums but they still await paycheck: Part 5
everybody So in 1998, mtv has this show called "Trl," total request live." Welcome to the show, "Total request live," or as I would like to start right now for all the kids at home watching, "Trl." It is the hottest thing on afternoon television. "Total request live." A show entirely determined by what viewers like. You have Britney spears. You have Christina Aguilera. Every day at "Trl" was regular pandemonium. When one of the teen boy bands would come in, it was, like, double pandemonium. It was just completely crazy. It's tearing up my heart when I'm with you when we are apart I feel it too At the time it was all about cds, and they cost 15 bucks. Nsync would come out with a new album, and it would sell 2 million in a week, which is unheard of. Lou Pearlman, for all of his faults, was an amazing casting director. He believed you had to have five members. And he believed within that five members, you had to have a guy for every girl. I noticed that the fans were looking for different guys. Like they'd find something in Nick which they would find something different than Kevin. It's great to have somebody Latino who gives an extra flavor to it. That first time I saw nsync, I did not think that this was going to be a massive band. He really saw things in people that would not blossom for years. Nsync was in some ways more relatable to the audience than backstreet was. They're like the kids next door. They're going to wear sports gear. Our clothes were just horrible. They were always just oversized. No one really cared. There was no stylist that came in and was like, "Oh, we're gonna do this and we're gonna fit you that." No, it was, like, "Here's a rack of stuff. We're putting you in this and that's it." Hi, we're nsync, show us the way to the snakehouse. And then we'd get so busy we didn't have time to cut our hair or to put bleach in our hair. So that's when I started just kind of getting this bleach and putting it in my hair and just putting my fingertips in it. And that's how the frosted tips were born. The boy bands become such a huge part of pop culture, Ben stiller and Andy dick do a parody of them on the mtv music awards. Do you still want me do you still want me around Lou became a bit of a celebrity himself. He would be at their shows and fans would be like, "Big papa. It's Lou." Big dog! Lou wanted to be famous, period, end of sentence. That is what he was in this to do. Pearlman really wanted to become a major music mogul. We just thought that it was us and the backstreet boys and that's all that he was really focusing on right now. Not knowing that he was developing tons of bands on the side. Lfo, which I think stands for "Light funky ones." New kids on the block had a bunch of hits Records a song called "Summer girls." He started C note. Take 5. He was hoping to be able to continue to milk the market. Yo I'll tell you what I want what I really, really want Around this time, the spice girls were huge with their hit "Wannabe." If you wanna be my lover you have got to give So it made sense to Pearlman that maybe he should get into the girl band business as well. We came out with a girls group called innosense. He almost signed one of the most famous female stars of all time. Here's 10-year-old Britney spears! After she loses on "Star search" -- M-I-c-k-e-y m-o-u-s-e! Britney! And she goes on to be in "The Mickey mouse club." Britney spears was almost in Lou Pearlman's girl group innosense. I don't care what you say I don't care what you do She decided she didn't want to stay with the group. He decided to go solo. But we went on and continued to develop the girls band. Here's a little bit of old school for you that goes a little something like this. Pearlman also manages a young boy named Aaron Carter, the little brother of Nick Carter. With his stable of musical acts, sometimes Pearlman liked to compare his company to motown. A lot of synergy to motown. You had the four tops, we have C note. You have the temptations, well, we have backstreet boys. Or take five, that was the Jackson five. You have the supremes, we have there's a lot of synergy between that. Berry Gordy created motown but he actually produced and co-wrote many of their legendary songs, like "ABC" for the Jackson 5. And the classic "Do you love me" by a group called the contours. Do you love me I can really move do you love me No, he was never a Barry Gordy. I've heard this. This is . Okay? He was barely in a recording studio. He didn't, like, work on their records. Lou sat back and counted the money coming in. What most people didn't know about Pearlman was that in addition to being a boy band impresario, Pearlman has built out transcon into a megabrand. Trans continental companies is a conglomerate and what we have for example, is trans continental airlines, transcontinental foods, transcontinental entertainment. You've gone into the movie business now. That was a natural progression for us was to go into movies. Lou Pearlman writes and bankrolls a movie called "Longshot." It's a vanity project. It's like, it sort of shows off his cavalcade of stars. Nsync, lfo. It's got cameos from Britney spears as a flight attendant. Strong grip. Must have been some dream you had. Justin Timberlake as a car valet guy. Art Garfunkel, the cousin he always talked about, is in the movie. I'm art Garfunkel, and I just want to make a purchase. He himself is in it as well. It's okay, I checked it already. Pearlman plays a cop named captain Lewis. And he uncovers a stock scandal, which looking back on things is kind of ironic, considering how he ended up. Do you have any more jelly donuts? The movie went straight to the Disney channel, where I think it aired a couple of times, and was never heard from again. Butans couldn't hear enough of nsync, and so while they're topping the charts, some band members are wondering why they haven't seen a paycheck. We were getting our $35 a day. Per diem. I was in the biggest band in the world, and selling millions of records, and someone's making millions and millions, but I can't even afford my apartment in Orlando. I couldn't even get a car. So one day in 1998, Pearlman tells the band he wants to have a big celebration dinner and wants to do an official check presentation ceremony. Everyone was there to have this great celebration of all of our hard work finally paying off. And at the end of the dinner we have all these envelopes sitting in front of us. And I knew my life was about to change. You know, I knew we had worked so hard. So I knew what that check should be or I was hoping would be. I mean, in the best and best of worlds, $1 million would've been, like, "Oh, my god." That's what I thought we deserved. And then I open up the check and it is $10,000. I didn't want to seem ungrateful because, you know, at that point, yes, $10,000 was a lot of money. And we went back to the hotel room and that's when it all just hit me. I was so disappointed. And I ripped up the check. Like, I did. I knew something was wrong. He has no idea how bad things are going to get. They'll find out that this father figure, big papa, was a total con man. But that's not all. You never automatically thought there was something devious behind the requests. Playing chicken in the pool. "Who's going to be on my shoulders?"
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