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Rihanna

Michael Buckner/ACMA2011/Getty Images for ACM

Rihanna always seems to be putting out new music; she just wrapped one tour and is about to embark on another. Why does she need to work so much?
—Mmetja M., via Facebook

Most pop tarts are much more ruthless than their candy-colored weaves would allow you to believe. They want to work until every last tween has been assimilated; hence the thriving practice of shooting up the talent with B-12 shots to prevent sudden collapse. However, there's a reason why specific singers like Rihanna may be avoiding a vacation...

...brutal competition. In the pop music business, it's standard for a new talent to work for at least three years straight before taking any kind of break—just to fend off all the other pop tartlets who want that same crown. In fact, three years is considered the standard for any emerging pop diva. (Between her first solo release and her ascension to film stardom in Dreamgirls, Beyoncé worked nearly nonstop for almost exactly three years. And there's a reason why relative newcomer Lady Gaga nearly collapsed during a New Zealand performance last year; she's been working like an animal since her debut studio album came out—less than three years ago.)

Rihanna has been a pop sensation since she released Music of the Sun in 2005. But she's only been a true diva for closer to three; in releasing Good Girl Gone Bad in 2007, Rihanna effectively reintroduced herself as an woman, not a teen, and has spent the next three years working constantly to reinforce that image.

Now: Why does she continue to work? Because, music marketers tell me, pop music is getting more competitive every year, and the three-year rule just may be growing obsolete...

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"As a newer artist, RiRi is still hustling to establish herself," compared to, say, a Christina Aguilera, who has been on the music scene for more than a decade, independent music and social media marketer Lisa Jenkins tells me. "Emerging pop artists understand that the more hits they have on the radio, the more love the fans will give them, and the better their career longevity will be."

It's a phenomenon that doesn't necessarily translate to other music genres, such as country or rock, where bands are generally understood to have less competition and therefore, the thinking goes, more time to unspool their music.

"It's purely speculation," Jenkins notes, "but I think you can't discount her artistic drive, too. Given where RiRi is right now, she can work with anyone she wants, and if she loves to create music, thats a pretty awesome place to be in."