You know what it is, and the UK’s Intellectual Property Office has been looking into the oft-maligned art of parody. Some of their conclusions:
Parody is a significant consumer activity: On average, there are 24 user-generated parodies available for each original video of a charting single. 25% are target parodies, 31% are weapon parodies and 21% are self-parodies (where the parody maker criticised themselves).
YouTube, asked for “rebecca black friday parody,” claimed 316,000 results. It only seems like that many.
The potential for reputational harm in the observed sample is limited: Only 1.5% of all parodies sampled took a directly negative stance. This is where Rebecca Black’s “Friday” comes in. While there was a “disproportionately negative response from parodists”, the empirical evidence suggested that even highly negative parodies did not harm the original work. It is advantageous to a video to attract parodies, even critical ones.
If the makers of all those “316,000″ parodies of “Friday” watched it only once, that’s still a tidy sum for RB.
There exists a small but growing market for skilled user-generated content: Parody videos located in this study generated up to £2 million in revenue for Google in 2011, a portion of which was shared with the creators.
I’ve mentioned this up before. It remains the one “Friday” parody I actually paid to add to the collection:
First and foremost, Playlist is a festival for everyone who loves online video and music! There will be live performances by many of your favorite YouTube and musical artists. Beyond that, YouTube and music have become very collaborative, so it’s about interaction. There will be interviews and interactive talks, complete with audience participation, from YouTube artists. There will be meet-ups and autograph signings with all of the artists participating, and every artist will have merchandise for sale. You can meet your favorite YouTuber and film the experience and post it to your own YouTube channel!
14 mars 2011 : le monde retient son souffle. C’est en effet en ce jour que le premier single d’une adolescente américaine dénommée Rebecca Black, “Friday”, est publié par Ark Music Factory. Depuis plusieurs jours, effectivement, Internet — et au-delà — ne parle quasiment que de ce clip. Rebecca Black, d’ailleurs, aura été la requête Google qui aura le plus progressé durant l’année 2011 !
50 millions de vues sur Youtube plus tard pour la vidéo officielle de “Friday” — à additionner aux 160 millions de la première vidéo, effacée en avril 2011, et que tout le monde s’était partagé — qu’est devenue l’adolescente, âgée de 14 ans lors de son explosion publique ?
A few minor emendations: “Friday” was actually first uploaded in the fall of 2010, and went largely ignored until it was picked up by Tosh.0 and The Daily What. And RB, thirteen at the time, will be sixteen this summer.
And “Whatever happened to…?” questions are inevitable, I suppose. That said, I continue to believe that she’s better off just above the radar, rather than making desperate grabs for the brass ring. What she has going now is reasonably sustainable and even somewhat lucrative.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On is the title of a new book by Jonah Berger, assistant professor of marketing at the Wharton School, and one of the reasons things catch on, he says, is the presence of triggers: events or cultural phenomena that remind us of those things. This being Friday, which trigger do you think is being pulled? Right you are:
Citing Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” as an example, Berger illustrates the influence of triggers in the sharing of information.
“It’s not that the song is better on Friday — it’s equally bad every day of the week, but Fridays are a little environmental reminder, what I call a trigger … to encourage people to talk about it and share it,” he said.
Hollywood celebrities will sneak out of Tinseltown Friday, February 15, to attend a special musical event in the heart of Orange County. Saxophone legend Kenny G will make his debut with Pacific Symphony at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. “Valentine’s Day With Kenny G” promises to be a romantic and soul-moving experience for the anticipated packed house.
Of course, my interest lies elsewhere:
A number of celebrities are expected to walk the red carpet, including Rebecca Black, who starred alongside Katy Perry and Kenny G in Perry’s newest music video, Iqbal Theba (GLEE), Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley (The Real Housewives of Orange County), Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, international model Beril Akçay, with more celebrities to be announced.
It is a measure of something, surely, that Rebecca Black gets top billing. Although I will have something to say about Beril Akçay later.
It’s not quite as easy to work the Rebecca Black beat during this comparatively empty period Between Singles, especially with the After All album still shimmering in the distance; the biggest “news” item of the week was a brief meeting between RB and “old friend” Austin Mahone, a Texas lad of sixteen who’s been characterized as Bieber 2.0. (Both posted photos of the reunion on Instagram.) Like Rebecca, Austin is homeschooled; also like Rebecca, he’s played the House of Blues. Speaking of school, she did say that she’s “almost conquered this semester’s finals,” which is clearly a Good Thing.
In other news, “In Your Words,” the current single, broke 1,000,000 YouTube views this week; the Hater Index is sitting at 0.26.
There was apparently an upsurge in death rumors again, but no, you can’t get rid of that “Friday” girl that easily. Lots of folks at her Sunday concert at House of Blues in Anaheim, one of whom shot this highly unofficial video:
A brief bit of facepalm-worthy goofiness from a Rebecca Black rehearsal last week:
She did a second Ustream Thursday afternoon, fraught with sound issues. (Which perhaps was an improvement over the first one, which had no such technical problems but which was marred by side commentary from various low-level griefers.) She blamed the dubious audio on having to use her manager’s Mac instead of her own, which was hors de combat for some reason. Points, though, for remaining cool under pressure. And I admit to something of a grin when someone streaming the show sent her a marriage proposal, and she replied demurely, “Isn’t this a little early in the relationship?”
Yes, I’m acting like an overstewed fanboi. Deal with it.
Even Black sees how her trajectory doesn’t exactly follow the norm for overnight sensations, and admits it wasn’t always easy to stick to the well-considered career path she and her advisors have followed.
“It definitely was hard a lot of the time,” she later says of the methodical way her post-”Friday” career has unfolded. “It’s so easy — we could have just recorded a bunch of songs really fast and just put them out there while ‘Friday’ was ‘the thing.’ And yeah, they would have gotten a lot of attention. So it was hard.
“But everyone told me, ‘It’s OK, you can wait.’ And I’m so glad I waited. It’s a hard thing to understand when you’re young, and being that I’m impatient, too.”
On Monday, December 17 from 7:00-8:00 PM PST Rebecca will be acoustically performing her new hit single “In Your Words” on AXS TV.
Which my local cable company doesn’t carry. And anyway, the song runs only 3:08, so it shouldn’t take a whole hour, and it won’t: apparently it’s running during the break on AXS’ Inside MMA. (AXS is the channel founded by Mark Cuban, formerly known as HDNet.)
Back in October, I produced what I didn’t actually call a Hater Index, which was calculated by dividing the number of dislikes on a given YouTube video by the number of likes. At the time, Rebecca Black’s first three singles were still over 1.0: more thumbs down than up. “Sing It,” however, had registered a definitely upbeat 0.52.
“Sing It” is holding at 0.52, a month and a half later; but “In Your Words” has settled down to a nice, comfortable 0.24: likes outnumber dislikes four to one. Said one commenter: “Rebecca Black, please make more songs. Every time you release a new song it seems like the haters gradually go away.”
Yep. The numbers so indicate.
Just for S&Gs, I looked up “It’s Thanksgiving,” the spiritual heir to “Friday”: it weighs in at a startling 7.29. And while “Friday” itself is still on the far side of 4.0, it’s garnered three million additional views in those six weeks, demonstrating both its staying power and the wisdom of RB’s business model.
So far this week, Rebecca Black has disclosed the actual title to her still-not-completed album (After All), the fact that she has yet to put to use the surfboard she got as a Teen Choice Award winner, and that she got an exceedingly informal marriage proposal during her Australian visit.
Seventy-one Fridays ago, the weekend before Rebecca Black’s sophomore single “My Moment” was issued, I grumbled something to the effect that “real records drop, not on Friday, but on Tuesday.”
This is, of course, a long-standing music-industry practice, and “My Moment” did appear, yes, on Tuesday. I should have figured, though, that someone would eventually violate the sacred rule, and that someone likely would be Rebecca Black, who’s decidedly orthogonal to the rest of the industry. But the idea of doing so on Black Friday — well, I’m ashamed to admit that it never occurred to me.
So the new single has dropped, as of midnight Eastern. I scored the track from iTunes at about 11:10 (Central) Thursday night. The video came up later today:
At this writing, likes are outpacing dislikes nearly ten to one.
As for the song itself, I’m thinking that if Taylor Swift is wanting to be Katy Perry these days, surely Rebecca Black is bidding here for Swift’s niche: songs simultaneously wistful and accusatory.
And because it’s Friday, let’s mention “Friday,” and cowriter/producer Patrice Wilson, who made all this possible in his own way. Wilson has now surfaced with a song about, of all things, next Thursday:
He may be a one-trick pony, but it’s a fun trick. (Thanks to Nancy Friedman, who was happy to pass it on to me.)
One of the more remarkable qualities of Rebecca Black’s original “Friday” video was the vast number of dislikes it received during its period of greatest virality (viralness? viralitude?), in the spring of 2011. The video was pulled after 160 million views or so, and then reposted on RB’s own channel. It’s still widely hated, I noticed today, and then decided to run a comparison with her later singles. The numbers:
“Friday”: 41436726 views; 205923 likes, 848917 dislikes (4.12 times as many dislikes as likes)
Essentially, this restates the obvious: the fanbase remains loyal, while everyone else eventually moved on. But for the sake of completeness, I must note that during the 3:48 I devoted to one more view of “Friday,” four more opinions were expressed — and three of them were positive. Then again, so far as I know, YouTube pays on views, not on thumbs.
Well, this was unexpected: Rebecca Black did a guest-host spot on What’s Trending, and in addition to plugging her Current Cause, she gave us a 45-second preview of that new song “In Your Words.” It’s (almost) nothing like what I expected:
No release date yet. I’m kind of hoping this isn’t the final vocal mix.
Two Fridays ago, I learned that one of the two new songs on Rebecca Black’s concert setlist was an original called “In Your Words.” And that’s apparently the next single, because this week they shot the music video, and from the looks of things, they put her in a glass cage with a Sharpie. (She posted this picture to her Instagram account Thursday. Of course.)
Nobody except the little WordPress gizmo is actually keeping count, but this is apparently my 97th Rebecca Black-related post. If I’m really lucky, the video will come out for the 100th. Not that she owes me any favors or anything.
October is, I discover, National Bullying Prevention Month, and Rebecca Black, having endured a few instances herself, is doing her part for the cause, having appeared on HLN’s Showbiz Tonight this past Thursday (screenshot by Debra Baum, no video available yet) and told her story to Entertainment Weekly’s Popwatch blog. From the latter, a possibly pertinent paragraph:
I got home from school one day, and I had gotten an email or something saying, “This is what’s going on on your video. Already there are a lot of negative comments.” So yeah, it was kind of an ongoing thing. But I guess you could say that I’m almost … [pause] I wouldn’t say used to it now, but I’m almost immune. When you see the same things so many times, you kind of don’t have a reaction anymore. Some girls and guys in school, it just gave them a reason to pick on me. But I don’t know, it was middle school. Middle school already is not the best time in your life.
I have yet to happen upon any concert footage from Wild 100, the August concert on the Jersey shore in which Rebecca Black appeared, but RB did favor us with thirty seconds of video connected to the event, and for now, that’s going to have to do:
It’s billed as a “trailer,” and there’s that “COMING SOON” blurb, so I remain hopeful.
(Title swiped from a DJ I remember from forty-odd years ago.)
One of the things I do in my not-exactly-copious free time is field Rebecca Black questions on Yahoo! Answers. For the first time in quite a while, my standard search criteria (opened in the last three days, unresolved) produced no results yesterday.
Not much going on, in other words, though she’s unearthed a couple of photographs from when she was very young and then Instagrammed them. (Is that even a word?) This shot is almost terminally cute.
I catch occasional flak for being an avowed Rebecca Black fan. (Not as much as I catch for being a My Little Pony fan, but that’s another matter.) I usually argue something to the effect that for something resembling an authentic teenage experience, you might as well go to an actual teenager, and the four RB singles to date, even if she didn’t score much in the way of writing credits, come off as fun, non-angsty adolescent fun, something I could use more of in these days of morose pop.
But is she influential? “Not so much,” I’d have said, and then I saw this, um, remarkable whatever-it-is by Taylor freaking Swift. (I’d have done the embed, but it seems to load about fifteen different modules from all over the map, and it’s slower than a tax refund in May, so you’ll have to click for yourself if you want to see it.)
“I always feel like I’ve never finished unpacking,” said Rebecca Black after returning from what was by all accounts a semi-successful concert appearance on the Jersey shore: despite a long list of attractions, it was far from a sellout, and there was a grumble or two here and there about the general organization of the show, but judging by the scant available evidence, a splendid time was had by, if not all, certainly enough to generate some noise. (There was, briefly, a video of a sound check, but it vanished nearly as quickly as it appeared.) Said Pop City Life of RB’s appearance:
She had the crowd on their feet singing her songs “My Moment” and of course “Friday”. I don’t think there was a soul there who wasn’t belting out the megahit with her. She was having a blast and owning the stage. We are now a fan.
Rebecca Black has been in Philadelphia of late, rehearsing for that Sunday (!) concert date in Wildwood, New Jersey, so there’s nothing in the way of actual news to report.
A personal observation: While RB still has plenty of detractors, there are a few folks willing to speak up in her behalf, or at least assert that she’s not so bad. I found this today at Y!A:
Last year everyone made fun of Rebecca Black and constantly made nasty comments about “Friday” and her voice. I honestly don’t see the big deal. It wasn’t her fault, it’s that ARK music company. They wrote the song and edited her voice way too much. I honestly feel really bad for her, and I saw a video of her singing the Star Spangled Banner live on a talk show, and she really wasn’t that bad. Am I the only one who thinks this? Thanks! :) xx
I assured her that no, she wasn’t the only one who thinks this. And in so doing, I made a possibly rash prediction:
“Friday,” for all its technical flaws, is positively anthemic; fifteen years from now they’ll be singing it during the seventh-inning stretch at baseball games. Even on Tuesdays.
If it happens that way, I have an I Told You So image macro tucked away somewhere.
so so so sorry but there won’t be another q&a posted today :( i’ve been super busy with rehearsals for Wildwood and I’m trying to make it the absolute best it can be for you all. the next q&a will be up next friday :)
For some reason, this amused me greatly. Rebecca Black’s weekly “Ask Rebecca” video was actually interrupted by a phone call from her manager; RB just kept right on recording.
Also, I had wanted to see an answer to this: “why do some girls wear uggs in August?” She got several responses from England and Ireland defending the practice. I am reasonably certain there is no one wearing Uggs in my town right this minute, inasmuch as the old Dust Bowl-era record for Highest Freaking Temperature Ever was tied today.