Documentary reveals how 'N Sync creator profited from boyband's success

'N Sync with manager Lou Pearlman (second from right) in happier times.
'N Sync with manager Lou Pearlman (second from right) in happier times.PHOTO: COURTESY OF A YOUTUBE ORIGINALS, PILGRIM MEDIA GROUP & LANCE BASS PRODUCTION FILMS

NEW YORK - The groundwork was not unlike that put in by today's aspiring K-pop artists.

In 1995, when Lou Pearlman created boyband 'N Sync, he made the members finetune their craft for up to eight hours a day in non-airconditioned airplane hangars.

So when success came after extensive touring to promote their music, member Lance Bass expected to get at least a decent pay cheque.

"I open up the envelope, I see the cheque, and oh, my gosh, my heart sunk. I couldn't believe the number I was looking at.

"The cheque was US$10,000. And not to sound ungrateful… but when you compare it to how many hours we had put into this group for years, it didn't even touch minimum wage. At all."

His account is among many others shared by other musicians in The Boyband Con: The Lou Pearlman Story which is streaming on YouTube Premium, reported USA Today.

Pearlman also identified himself as a band member, and helped himself to a sixth of the boyband's profits.


This was a sore point for the mother of 'N Sync member Justin Timberlake who felt Pearlman was a cheat.

"Every parent is protective of their child," she said. "Like everybody else, I just wanted to kill him."

'N Sync and boyband Backstreet Boys, whom Pearlman also launched, later sued Pearlman over unfair distribution of the earnings.

He spent the money on, among other indulgences, a lavish house which resembled a "giant theme park".

Pearlman died in prison in Florida in 2016 while serving a 25-year sentence for organising a fraud scheme.

'N Sync went on hiatus in 2002 while the Backstreet Boys continue to perform.