"I say Rebecca Black is a genius and anyone telling her she's cheesy is full of sh*t." - Lady Gaga
Ah yes, Friday is upon us again and this week in media has not disappointed in delivering yet another WTF moment...great for our Venn, not so great for the listening public.
"It's Friday, Friday...Gotta get down on Friday. I know everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend..."
No, these lyrics have nothing to do with our collective thrill that it is in fact Friday, and we are indeed looking forward to the weekend. They're from the now infamous poppy-nightmare of a song, aptly named Friday, that has transformed itself into a cultural meme in the amount of time it took its producers to write said lyrics. Which is to say, no time at all.
Yes, thirteen-year-old Rebecca Black's $2000 vanity music video has been viewed more than 45 million times on YouTube. Contrast that with Lady Gaga's Born This Way: with its on-air hatching, Universal Music marketing muscle and hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in production costs, it's lagging at a mere 24 million views.
YouTube celebrity is certainly not a new thing; it's become a powerful platform for launching pop rockets. Just look at Justin Bieber: he put out homemade YouTube music videos and captured the world's (and Usher's) attention with his raw talent before he became an international superstar. In Black's case, however, there is something jarring about a video going so infectiously viral when it was designed to do just that and when the talent is, well, suspect. Is fame really that easy to engineer, especially in the age of social distribution? And WHY all the media attention?
Love her or hate her, Rebecca Black's story is a vital one for those looking to understand, and even capitalize on, the new ways media is discovered and distributed. What makes Black important is not the content of her video, but the fact that people are the new distribution. Ironically enough, it's Charlie Sheen who's summed up Black's success best: "We don't hate Rebecca Black because she's famous. She's famous because we hate her."