Honestly, I’m impressed. The once battered and bruised psyche of Rebecca Black has come back a force to be reckoned with. Sure, the songwriting is well… not exactly the most original piece of music ever composed but that doesn’t matter. If I was a fifteen year old girl (which I’m not), hell, I’d probably love this. I got my best friend (Yes, that’s the same girl from the backseat of Black’s car in Friday) backing me up on guitar. I even got some crazy synth going on and a pounding bass part that may or may not be being played by the bass player (doesn’t appear to be). It’s catchy, and that’s what matters. After one listen (much like with Friday), I can’t get the damn song out of my head. It’s memorable and simple, and you know what? She’s probably going to sell fifty thousand copies. People hate her right? Or do people want to hate her?
The Music Industry is a bitter business to work in. Not to say that people who are involved in it don’t love every single second of it, but much like with any field you can become spiteful pretty quickly when you see people who you don’t believe deserve notoriety begin to see it. So what? Get over it. Rebecca Black can sell more copies than you, but she was a nobody before her big break with Friday. Now, she’s collaborating with Katy Perry. Can you say the same? And before you even begin giving any one of the countless numbers of excuses as to why you haven’t made it, remind yourself of the fact that she started ‘indie’ as well. That’s right, just like every other hopeful musician out there. Sure, her parents put in a couple thousand dollars to get some pre-made songs, but she was also sixteen. We’re not. Get a job. Buy Logic (or Pro Tools). Make a record. Hell, don’t even use a label. As if Ark Factory actually helped boost Black’s career. Daniel Tosh pretty much single handedly broke Rebecca Black. YouTube pretty much broke Rebecca Black (as with Bieber). Ark Factory provided Black with the written music and a studio to record it in. Take this excerpt from an article in the Michigan Daily News, for example:
The main difference about this record label is that the company doesn’t pay the artists — the artists pay the company. Rebecca Black’s mother paid $2,000 for a package that consisted of pre-written songs for her daughter to sing. Talk about selling out. This is an absurd and unrighteous way to showcase talent. Sure, there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or in this case, a music career), but seriously — who would ever think we’d live in a society where people pay for their stardom? I know some celebrities are low enough to stage their own paparazzi shots, but to pay for a terrible song just so they can become a YouTube star — that’s crazy. Maybe, I’m just naïve, but is the 15 minutes of fame really worth it?
Unfortunately, you are very naïve. Labels have been doing this for DECADES. Sure, they may have changed some of their practices over the years, but it’s pretty damn close to what they used to do. If you paid for enough radio play a couple years ago, hell, anyone would think that song was popular (payola much?). But of course, that never actually went down according to the record companies (tell that to the FCC). Money can buy you pretty much everything right? (except maybe happiness, and talent, and a whole host of other things). It got Nadya Suleman octuplets and it can definitely get you your own record contract along with a fancy new album. Money could get you on tv, money could get 50 cent to rap in your videos, and money could get you fifteen Maseratis all parked on your front lawn. For a while, we as consumers have been okay with this sort of ‘coercion’, or as I like to call it the record labels ‘guiding’ our tastes in music. It seems that now, we’re actually starting to fight back. But then how on earth did Rebecca Black become a superstar overnight without a label?! The horror. The horror.
Superstar or Super Villain?
Black was bullied by everyone from Justin Bieber to you and me. I’ll be honest, when Friday first came out, I almost threw my chair out of a window. I was angry. How the hell could this **** become popular? I said. The more I listened… well, I never really changed my opinion of the song. However, I did change my opinion of Black. Rebecca wanted to sing. She was pursing that when Friday became a success. How could she or her parent for that matter, ever imagined what kind of reaction they recieved. Any press coverage is good press right? That’s debatable. And arguably, varies from person to person. Sure, she definitely used auto-tune or anyone of the millions of other vocal enhancement effects in most modern DAWs now. But honestly, who doesn’t? We can’t be hypocrites. Not now. If we’re going to hate her for it, you better hate the hundreds of other artists who also use it. Just to prove my point of this hypocrisy, I’ll site an appearance Christina Aguilera made in Los Angeles on August 10, 2009 when she wore a t-shirt that had “Auto-tune is for pussies” plastered on the front of it. A mere 4 months later, however, in an interview with XM/Sirius Satellite Radio, Aguilera had to explain why she now felt so inclined to use auto-tune (quite noticeably, I might add) in her song Elastic Love. Well that’s awkward.
– So, we can’t hate Rebecca Black because she’s using Auto-tune: After all, plenty of artists use it… behind closed doors. They just belittle it in public.
– We can’t hate her for being ‘indie’: She didn’t grow up wealthy. Her parents paid Ark Factory a very reasonable sum of money for what they got in return. *If you really want to know how much they spent, you can waste your time looking it up. All I can tell you is that I’ve made more than that in one summer of work.*
– We can’t hate her for having a record contract: Tons of people get record contracts. Tons of people get dropped from their record contracts. Katy Perry was dropped from her label twice. Also, do you see any of the other musicians on Ark Factory making it big? Thought so.
– She doesn’t write her own music. Of course, this must be it. Wait, you mean to tell me that you think everyone in the music industry writes their own material? How wrong you are. In fact, you can make a career (a quite profitable one at that) writing music for ‘performers’ who don’t necessarily want to focus on their compositional skills. Rhianna’s label spent over $20,000 hiring a team of songwriters to write the all of the tracks for Loud! in about 2 weeks.
Well, what do you have left. What else can you hate her for? Those lyrics in My Moment are indeed accurate. We can sit here and continue to be pissed off and blog about how much we can’t stand Rebecca Black, and all the while, she’ll see more and more press. Slowly people will become curious and her downloads and views will increase. The more we talk about her, the more power we give her. She’s not a millionaire, but she is a household name. If that isn;’t making it in the music business, I don’t know what is. I can’t say that about many other sixteen year old girls. Regardless of what you believe about Black, she’s seeing success. Her target demographic, similar to that of Bieber’s is a dedicated group and although she has quite a few ‘haters’ she also has quite a few loyal fans, and that’s the key to success. A die-hard group of fans who are willing to do anything to make sure you can continue to put your music out there. You better find yours.