‘Friday’ … on Tuesday

Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black's song "Friday" has been called "the worst song ever."

“It’s Friday, Friday. Gotta get down on Friday. Get-get-down on Friday. Lookin’ forward to the weekend … Yesterday was Thursday. Today is Friday. We so excited. Tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards.”

This video by 13-year-old Rebecca Black has, as of Tuesday morning, netted 33,516,413 YouTube views, hundreds of news articles, and made the video’s frontwoman (frontgirl?) a top trending topic on Twitter for days. Unfortunately for her, most of the attention has been mocking, even to the point of, as Black herself pointed out, cyber-bullying. (Read Time magazine’s take on her claim here.) Fortunately for her, it looks like she’s still going to make plenty of money off her notoriety. No word yet on how this incident will impact her college applications in five years or so.

The video was produced by Ark Music Factory, a vanity music label (the Factory prefers “indie”) in the L.A. area. Apparently, parents of budding (or wannabe) pop stars can pay to have a single written, recorded, and turned in to a music video, giving their kid a taste of fame. Black’s mother paid $2,000 for her daughter to sing “Friday.” It’s uncertain whether they now feel their investment has paid off. In the wake of the Rebecca Black phenomenon, Ark Music Factory is using the controversial attention directed toward it to promote itself. A new video promises to reveal the answer to the question “Who Is Ark?” on March 25, 2011 (a Friday, as the video helpfully points out).

If anything, the attention surrounding Miss Black emphasizes the importance of a thick skin in today’s digital society. If you’re going to attempt viral marketing, you have to be prepared for negative attention. The attention may be positive in terms of business, but quite damaging on a personal level. I’m not saying Miss Black should just toughen up, or faulting her for crying cyber-bullying. Many people were quite nasty in their comments toward her. In a digital culture of celebrity, everyone’s a critic, ensconced safely in the comfort of anonymity behind their own screen. As a society, we seem so quick to tear others down. It’s like we’ve forgotten that the person on the screen is a person with feelings too. Vanity record companies aren’t new. What’s new(er) is the ability of the whole world to weigh in on the end result.

Rebecca Black isn’t the only teen girl to record with Ark Music Factory. Her “label mates” have seen an increase in interest in their own works thanks to the attention showered on Black’s “Friday” video. I leave you with videos from the House of Ark.

Rebecca Black’s “Friday.”

This one is actually kind of cute.

The video for this one worries me in how it portrays teen-revenge-via-social media

This video I think suffers from a “Hannah Montana” complex.

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