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Screaming girls

Summer 2013 marks an auspicious moment in the history of commercial enterprise music. It's when (OMG! X 1) Justin Bieber and (OMG! X 5) One Direction can be seen on simultaneous North American tours. Bieber performs at the American Airlines Center in Dallas tonight, while One Direction is starting in Bieber's native Canada tomorrow, at Montreal's Centre Bell.

Based purely on demographics, the acts share the same fan base.  In an article in The DailyTelegraph, Neil McCormick sums it up:

"It took the meteoric rise of Justin Bieber...to demonstrate that there was still a huge appetite for clean cut, wholesome, whiter-than-white, middle-class parent-friendly pop: cute boys advocating puppy love. It is safe sex for dangerous times. And what could be better than one cute boy, if not five?"

If five truly is better than one, it certainly was demonstrated in the way One Direction's tickets flew off the virtual shelves.

"I remember one call I got from a mother back in May," said Diane Hayes, who works in the Customer Service department at ticket seller Ticket Liquidator. "She wanted Meet and Greet passes for one of the shows, and was really surprised they were sold out. She said, 'But they just went on sale today.' I had to tell her that she'd read the date wrong--they went on sale in May of last year."

Yes, you read that right. One Direction tickets went on sale fourteen months in advance – and, for most shows, sold out in minutes. Bieber's tickets had an on-sale date a mere seven months before the start of the tour, but he was can perhaps be forgiven, as he was still wrapping up his previous concert series.

Pissed off parents

This time around, it took a little longer for the Bieb's shows to virtually sell out (there are still a few tickets available here and there, but good luck finding two side-by-side) than it did the last time around. Most experts seem to believe that sales have been slower because it hasn't been all that long since his previous tour, but I have a different theory.

Parents are pissed at Justin.

Nineteen-year-old Bieber may be, technically, an adult, but his average fan is still too young to be paying for her own tickets. If she's gonna get close enough to see the sweat beading on Justin's alabaster upper lip, Mom and Dad are going to have to shell out the cash. Back when everything about Bieber screamed "wholesome," they might have been willing to do so.

But then the pastel sweatshirts came off, revealing an ever-growing collection of tattoos. Obscene gestures and the f-word, marijuana on the tour bus and cartoons depicting Bieber in bed with a young fan...it's all had an influence on the family wallet. Parent-friendly? Not so much, Biebs. The girls may still have Bieber Fever, but this time Mommy may just prescribe an aspirin.

Meanwhile, One Direction (the members of which range in age from nineteen to twenty-one) seem to have avoided damage to their squeaky clean image. A good trick for five single guys who are (presumably) making barrels and barrels of money.

And it ain't just about ticket sales, folks. It's the merchandising. Bieber's definitely got a head start in this department.You may be able to buy flip-flops that allow you to glimpse the faces of Harry, Louis, Liam, Zayn and Niall between your toes, but the list of the available products aimed at Beliebers is so long that it wouldn't fit in six blog posts, never mind just one. I expected the apparel, jewelry, pillow-cases and life-size cutouts.

Justin Bieber Nail Polish

But nail polish?

Yep, the Bieb's got a signature line of nail color which, according to Time Magazine, sold more than a million bottles the first month it went on sale.

Gotta go.  I need to run over to the drug store and pick up some nail polish.  I'm thinkin One Less Lonely Girl Glitter. It matches my new flip-flops.

Oh, and the shows may be sold out through the primary market, but there are still tickets available for all shows for One Direction and Justin Bieber at Ticket Liquidator.

Tell us what you think!

Fans:  Which of the Boys of Summer would you like to have a date with? Click HERE to let us know.

Parents: Who would you trust with your daughter? Click HERE to weigh in.

Everyone:  Rank the members of One Direction in order of hotness!  Click HERE to share your opinion.

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