Thumbs newly recounted

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.


  1. Tatyana »

    7 December 2012 · 4:45 pm

    What is her business model?

    I know you understand it, but just to be sure: the reason the number of “likes” increase is that she is preaching to the choir. Self-selecting database.
    Also, as I am sure RB can flatter herself that there ARE “haters”, I suspect most of those who are not listening to her videos are in a different category: we are mostly indifferent to her kind of entertainment.

    I, f.i., place her somewhere between Kardashians and Whatshername, Zoouee. All under tag “tbi”

  2. CGHill »

    7 December 2012 · 5:36 pm

    It doesn’t hurt if the choir gets bigger, though.

    And early on, things got vituperative; she was browbeaten in person, and a handful of death threats came in. How serious they are, I couldn’t tell you, but in this day and age, you have to take that kind of stuff seriously.

    Business model in short: she doesn’t sell a lot of records — “Friday” actually crawled about halfway up the Billboard Hot 100 — but as a known quantity on YouTube, she gets a substantial cut of their ad revenues every time someone watches something on her channel, more than enough to sustain her modest career. And she’s starting to do personal appearances, which aren’t quite a profit center yet. She does seem to sell a fair amount of merch. And besides, she owns all her master recordings, so she’s not having to fork over distribution costs to a record label; a 99-cent iTunes sale puts around 60 cents in her pocket, while an act on a major label might be lucky to earn a dime from such a sale.

    The likelihood that she will turn into a superstar is next to nil, and she knows that. But she’s carved out a little niche for herself, and so far she seems comfortable with it.

  3. Tatyana »

    8 December 2012 · 7:29 am

    That seems a smart model..forgive me, but I don’t think it’s exactly “hers”. What was she when she started, 14? 17? how old is she now and did she have any financial training? I am not saying teenage girls are stupid, it’s just at that age there are other matters that occupy their minds, rather than thinking hard about owning master recording, getting guarantee percentage from YT ads @ video watches, etc.

    as to death threats…sorry, I can’t believe you don’t see what they are. especially after praising her for cleverness in her business model.

  4. CGHill »

    8 December 2012 · 2:18 pm

    She does have professional management, so I must assume that she didn’t think up the whole thing all by her lonesome. Still, it’s pretty darned ingenious: were it perfectly obvious, there would be a lot of budding performers doing likewise.

    She recorded “Friday” at thirteen. And at the time, she did not see it as her ticket to the Big Time; she saw it as just one more thing she could stick on her CV on her way to college. (“2010: Fronted a music video.”) For its first four months on YouTube, “Friday” went largely unnoticed. A couple of Middle-Time references (The Daily What and Tosh.0, both looking for “bad” videos) all of a sudden made her a household word. She saw her chance, and she ran with it.

    When I was her age, I’d have dismissed death threats as beneath notice. Today, with the number of sociopaths at an all-time high, I am more wary.

  5. Tatyana »

    8 December 2012 · 4:17 pm

    Oh, I think number of sociopaths does not change with ages – just get reported more often now. It’s you who have changed: being a father and a grandfather will do it for you.

  6. CGHill »

    9 December 2012 · 12:34 am

    I may have to concede you that point. Nothing makes you more suspicious of teenage boys than having a teenage girl in the house.

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