The answer is Ark Music Factory, a Los Angeles-based company operating as an industry hybrid of Maurice Starr and John Bennett Ramsey. Their casting calls are perfect bait for starry-eyed parents: “If you are a great singer without any material and you want to get discovered,” one reads, “then Ark Music Factory is looking for you.”
The formula is simple: They’ll fly your child between the specified ages of 13-17 to Los Angeles, write her a “hit,” record it in super-compressed Autotuned production, shoot an edge detection-overlay video and BAM! Maybe your kid can notch up a couple thousand YouTube views while you watch your dreams of being a pop-star parent percolate.
In the case of Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” for “couple thousand” read “over ten million.” I, of course, felt duty-bound to check it out.
James Lileks wrote about it for the Strib, which is where I heard it for the first time. And yes, it’s Auto-Tuned to death, but as disposable pop krep goes, it’s hardly in the lowest quartile. (You want to scrape the bottom of the barrel, I suggest you read about but fercrissake, don’t listen to Asher Roth’s “I Love College.”) Its biggest flaw is that at 3:42, it goes on far too long: to quote a reader remark on Lileks’ piece, “proper disposable pop takes up two minutes and change, and then gets out of your face and your ears.”
Robinson Crusoe, incidentally, was not available for comment.
Update: She can so sing.