Rebecca Black, Music Business Journal

Without dispute, Rebecca Black and the song “Friday” have taken the world by a storm. The video was made in January and uploaded to YouTube on February 10th.  Up until mid-March, the video hardly drew attention, receiving only about 4,000 views. The success of the video took a drastic change when comedians Daniel Tosh and Michael J. Nelson posted it to their websites, and overnight, it received more than 200,000 hits. As of April 13th, “Friday” surpassed 100 million views– a feat that has been achieved by less than 50 videos on YouTube.

“Friday” was created by vanity record label Ark Music Factory (AMF). The LA-based company was founded by producer Patrice Wilson, in an effort to give aspiring singers a taste of life as a superstar: working with a songwriter, recording a song with a producer-engineer, and shooting a professional music video. AMF charges $2,000-4,000 for their services and keeps the publishing rights, while the singer retains the master recording rights.

While it may seem innocent to provide young dreamers with this opportunity, the glimpse of fame comes accompanied by all of the negative aspects associated with being a celebrity. Black, who is only 13-years-old, was certainly not prepared for the serious cyber bullying and emotional trauma that resulted from “Friday.” During an interview on Good Morning America, she revealed the most hurtful response: “I hope you cut yourself and I hope you get an eating disorder so you’ll look pretty, and I hope you go cut yourself and die.” Ultimately, Black is not a professional, and neither are the rest of AMF’s juvenile clients.  They are teenagers who are unprepared for the media attention that could result from their relationship with AMF. “I feel bad that Rebecca has been getting so many people criticizing the song because it was me that wrote it,” said Wilson.

“Friday” is only one of several productions by AMF. Each song utilizes a typical formulaic pop structure, with its main focus on achieving “catchy” quality. Each video strives to create a glam star aesthetic. Most of the other videos have received thousands to millions of views, but nowhere near the 102 million that “Friday” has amassed. If each song and video is based upon the same structure, then what set “Friday” apart?  Read the rest of OUR ESSAY ON REBECCA BLACK

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