"After the new album, I'm actually retiring, man. I'm retiring," Justin said during an interview with LA radio station Power 106 on Tuesday.
Following audible gasps from host Kurt Alexander and his colleagues, the singer then seemed to backtrack slightly, adding, "I want to grow as an artist, and I'm taking a step out. I want my music to mature."
Should the announcement be true, it would be huge news given that Justin is one of the most successful pop acts in the world. But numerous sources from his camp have said that the bombshell claim is all a joke — indeed Justin hasn't tweeted any such announcement to his 48 million Twitter followers.
Justin has been the subject of criticism and controversy in recent months amid allegations of reckless behaviour.
He addressed the negative press surrounding him during Tuesday's interview.
"People think I'm arrogant, I'm not," he said. "I've always been a caring and giving person", adding that despite his retirement claim, "I'm here solely for my fans and for the music."
The star has previously spoken about his struggle with fame, and last year revealed he turned to his mentor Usher for guidance.
"I got to the point where I thought, 'I don't want to do this. I just want to be normal," he told Fabulous magazine. "It was difficult because I'd never gone through anything like that.
"Usher was like, 'Prepare to have this stuff for the rest of your career because it's not going to stop'. He's gone through some stuff and most artists go through their fair share of bull. That was just my first time."