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BATTLE OF THE POP TITANS (UPDATE)

As Def Jam’s Justin Bieber and SYCO/Columbia’s One Direction square off ahead of their Friday releases, it’s looking like all-out war—with every sale, download and stream vital.

Bieber’s release-day Staples Center bundle, announced last night, ups the ante; we now hear that four total dates at the venue are on hold, with two of these all but sold out and a third just announced as of this story's publication. $22 tickets for the show entitle purchasers to admission and the album. That’s exactly $4 over the regular ticket price of $18. Depending on configuration, capacity at Staples is 18k.

This follows on the heels of a Bieber promotion letting Lyft riders download the album for $5 and get a credit of equal value.

1D, meanwhile, is offering exclusive content (a digital photo album, vinyl, video and more) with pre-orders.

Both acts will be doing major TV. JB began a week of Ellen yesterday that will culminate in an outdoor show on Friday; he’s Access Hollywood’s Artist of the Month, with splashy daily looks on air and online; he hits The Tonight Show on 11/17 and The Today Show the following morning; and his dance film PURPOSE: The Movement will get a TBA primetime TV airing.

1D will be on Ellen’s outdoor stage on 11/18; they’ve tweeted that they’ll be doing Kimmel with an outdoor performance on 11/19, with a $15.99 ticket-album-tote bag bundle for fans (which sold out instantly). 1D will also be on GMA next week sometime during the show’s 40-hour marathon 11/17-11/19, performing several songs, including the U.S. TV premiere of “Perfect.”

The Brit boys also launched a "first listen" event with preorder at movie theaters that could add to their totals.

Both acts have unleashed new instant-grat tracks in the last few days. 1D leads overall in preorders, but Bieber has moved to #1 on the iTunes album chart, while 1D sits at #4; JB’s “Sorry” is #2 on the singles side, “What Do You Mean?” is #6 and1D’s “Love You Goodbye” is #9. 

Look for both acts to dominate Apple Music and iTunes starting Thursday night.

“What Do You Mean?” is currently #5 on the Mediabase Top 40 radio chart; 1D’s “Drag Me Down” sits at #12; JB’s “Sorry” is #14; 1D’s Perfect” is #23.

Both acts are expected to pull out all the stops in this combat. Some insiders are now suggesting that 1D will counter Bieber’s Staples run with an event at the Rose Bowl, which they sold out three times last year.

What else do Messrs. Bieber, Braun and Bartels have up their sleeves? What else might Columbia’s Stringer, Klaiman and team and Richard GriffithsModest crew be preparing to roll out? Grab some popcorn—this battle’s just heating up.

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