Britney Spears’ new memoir, “The Woman In Me,” debuts in full tomorrow, after an already shocking series of confessions about her life thus far.
But Oct. 23 marks an important milestone in Spears’ career: the debut of her breakout hit single, “…Baby One More Time.“
It’s the first song from her album of the same name, “…Baby One More Time,” that rocketed her to superstardom.
In 2018, for the song’s 20th anniversary, Spears thanked fans for their support on social media.
“It’s hard to put into words what today means to me… 20 years ago, the world heard my music for the very first time! So much has happened since then… but what I really want to say is thank you to my amazing fans who have been there for me since day 1…”
The song, accompanied by the then provocative video, which saw Spears in a sexier variation of a Catholic school uniform with pink pom poms adorning her pigtails, altered pop culture and the course of Spears’ life forever.
Dr. Marcus Collins, marketing professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and author of the best-selling book “For the Culture,” explained there were a lot of “conditions at play” primed to make Spears a star.
“It was in a moment where R&B and rock were sort of the dominant musical genres,” he told Fox News Digital. “We hadn’t quite experienced the Orlando Pop sound that came from Britney Spears, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and the like. So, when the sound came in, it felt quite distinctive and in many ways disruptive.”
He added, “Not to mention her stylings were unique, not to mention her ability to dance was unique. She, as an artist, created the perfect vehicle by which these different elements at play created this cacophony in this song that would make it bigger than what it would have been if it was performed by someone else.”
WATCH: Expert explains impact of Britney Spears’ hit ‘Baby One More Time’ 25 years later
Business strategist Marva Bailer explained Spears’ appeal at the time.
“People were really looking for a strong woman’s voice, and it was right before Y2K, and it was just a great positive feeling from a strong woman who actually was a young woman that people had been following since the Mickey Mouse Club,” she said.
According to Collins, the song, written by pop hitmaker Max Martin, had initially been pitched to TLC and the Backstreet Boys, both of whom turned it down.
“Lore has it, she didn’t have a hit on the album at the time, and she’s like, ‘This was the song that was going to do that,’ because it worked well for her vocal stylings. But if it was someone who was much more of a virtuoso, like a Beyonce in Destiny’s Child, it probably wouldn’t have the same feel or have the same breakthrough because it wasn’t the distinctiveness that was necessary for it to feel as novel as it was when it happened.”
The music video was also a key factor in Spears’ success as a breakout young performer. It has over 870 million views since it was put on YouTube 13 years ago, but that doesn’t account for the phenomenon it was in the pre-social media days.
“What we have to put in perspective is there was no Instagram. There was no TikTok. So MTV is where you went to learn the dances and see the videos,” Bailer said.
“To frame everything… Her song was released when the iMac was released and live performances was how stars got their information out as well as MTV. And people were glued to MTV. And then we also had the record stores did really great live events in local communities.”
On MTV, the place to go was “TRL” (short for “Total Request Live”), the music video countdown show hosted at its peak by Carson Daly.
“This was appointment-based viewing for people that are going to watch the music video and watch the celebrities come on stage and talk about the video, talk about the song,” Collins explained. “This is pre-social networking platforms as we know them. So, the only way we saw artists [was] on print in magazines or we saw them in videos.”
Spears was nominated for a best female pop vocal performance Grammy in 2000, and remains one of the bestselling singles of all time, with over 10 million copies sold worldwide, and was certified platinum.
Her debut album, also titled, “…Baby One More Time,” became a hit as well, and kicked off a career that has seen its ups and downs.
She followed up her hit debut with the even bigger “Oops!… I Did It Again,” in 2000, with over 20 million copies sold worldwide, making it another one of the bestselling albums of all time, with hits like the title track and “Lucky.”
Between 2001 and 2007, Spears released three more albums, with some of her best known songs like “Toxic” and “I’m a Slave 4 U,” a collaboration with Madonna (“Me Against the Music”), and her leading role in the 2004 film, “Crossroads.”
It was also during this time that her personal life began to become complicated fodder for tabloids.
In 2004, she briefly married childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas for all of 55 hours before annulling the union. That same year, she became engaged to and married Kevin Federline and welcome her first child, son Sean Preston. In 2006, the couple welcomed their second son, Jayden James.
Spears and Federline divorced in 2007, the same year she released her album “Blackout,” and infamously shaved her head.
She later married Sam Asghari, but the couple split this year after 14 months of marriage.
In 2008 Spears was placed under a conservatorship that lasted until 2021, all the while producing new music.
Collins noted that though Spears was growing as an artist, her personal life was overtaking any attention she was receiving from her music.
“We started seeing a more mature sound with her, same sort of vocalist, same artist, but growing up with her along the timeline,” he said. “Her catalog just became a very good compliment to who she was and how she wanted to be seen.”
“The challenge, however, is that her social life created some impediments that didn’t allow her to capture all the equity that her songs provided for her.”
He added, “When the artistry started to suffer, then that’s where people were like, ‘Whoa, whoa, what’s going on here?’ So it definitely was a career low. But she has so many career highs beyond just the charts in how her songs perform.”
While Britney hasn’t released much new music since 2016, apart from a duet with Elton John in 2022, “Hold Me Closer,” she has continued to connect with fans through her social media.
Bailer also sees Spears’ use of social media as an opportunity to showcase who she is.
WATCH: Expert explains how Britney Spears uses social media to be open with fans
“We can see everything that’s going on in our star’s life, and the fans are always behind them,” she said. “And daily on Instagram, we see what they’re eating for dinner and what they’re doing and how they’re feeling. Britney didn’t have that opportunity, so now she has the opportunity. She now has a great following on Instagram and she has really reinvented herself year after year, and we’re really excited to see what she’s going to share with us in her book.”
Collins also agrees that between her Instagram videos and her memoir, fans are hoping to hear more from the artist they fell in love with 25 years ago.
“I think what we’re hoping for [from her memoir] is that we just get a little bit more context and we get it from her, the same Britney that we saw back in ‘98 with ‘One More Time,’” he said. “Because she gets to tell her story not through the media, not through her father, not through some intermediary, but her herself.”