almost everybody can relate to rebecca black.
almost every pre-teen year-old girl in american is singing shit like this in living rooms and bedrooms after school, singing into that universal hairbrush, dreaming about being lady gaga, britney, avril, whoever, dreaming to be the pop-star that somehow signifies freedom, acceptance, awesomeness, status, happiness, success.
but the world has changed. the living room now has cameras and the cameras connect to youtube.
i wonder about this all the timeâ€¦about what the fuck would have happened if iâ€™d had all these tools of social connection online and ability to broadcast myself at 15.
i would have been SO FUCKED.
i was so eager to connect, so eager to share, so eager to be accepted, that no doubt my life would have been a narcissistic avalanche of facebook updates and groovy hipstamatic self-portraits taken by candlelight on the roof of my parents porch after getting stoned and scribbling on my online journal about how NOBODY FUCKING UNDERSTANDS ME and how I AM SUPPOSED TO BE A ROCK STAR and WHERE ARE THE FUCKING MEN IN THE FUCKING LIMO TO PICK ME UP AND DRIVE ME AWAY FROM THIS GODFORSAKEN SCHOOL AND THESE HORRIBLE PEOPLE WHO DONT UNDERSTAND ME IN THIS GODFORSAKEN SUBURB AND DRIVE ME TO WHEVER ROCK STARS ARE SO I CAN START MAKING MUSIC VIDEOS LIKE CYNDI LAUPER????
fortunately for me, this did not happen. the music i was writing and my singing voice at 15 were awfulâ€¦like, REALLY awful. i was screamy, off-kilter-not-in-a pleasant-way, off-keyâ€¦.justâ€¦awful. i had not found my voice. i wasnâ€™t a natural, not by a long shot. and autotune didnâ€™t exist. i would have been FUCKED.
instead, i wrote, alone at the piano, cranked out bad song after bad song and conjured up imaginary masses in my narcissistic little imaginiation - i played for STADIUMS in the silence of my parentâ€™s living room - and i dreamed of a â€śYes, Somedayâ€ť when i would actually access people. there was no internet access. there was no access.
rebecca black GOT that fantasy fulfilled.
the men in the limos came, in the form of ARK music factory.
the girlâ€™s career is over, and sheâ€™s only 13.
or is there hope?
is it possible that she can achieve anything without the shadow of this catastrophe?
and why does everybody care?i put the lefsetz list at the bottom.
itâ€™s brilliantâ€¦thumbs up. all very right fucking onâ€¦
thereâ€™s a huge emotional component at play here as people all over the world lambast - and try to protect - a fleeting, (currently) unreachable icon.
even hitlerâ€™s got an opinion (hint: he had a bad reaction).
but the true question staysâ€¦.can any good come of this?
does she have any hope of having a normal life after this?
Rebecca Black Lessons
1. Selling recorded music is not the only way to make money in music. Ark Factory came up with a new way, ripping off the parents of little kids. Let this be a lesson to you, rather than complain that the old model is dead, innovate.
2. Old media loves to piggyback on new media. â€śGood Morning Americaâ€ť featured Rebecca Black as did â€śThe Tonight Showâ€ť. Make noise and old media comes running.
3. Old media is last.
4. If you want to make an instant splash, youâ€™re better off starting online instead of hiring a publicity agent and using old wave apparatus to dun old wave media.
5. Shelf life online is forever. Like a land mine waiting to be stepped on decades later, if you can Google it, it can always blow up. In other words, a spin on radio evaporates, a YouTube clip is waiting to explode.
6. Young kids want to play in the big time entertainment world. Having been sold prepubescent kids as talent, they ask themselves, why not me? This paradigm, like reality TV, will never die. But like reality TV, itâ€™s only part of the landscape.
7. A tastemaker is anybody with an audience. In other words, Tosh.0â€™s got more impact than Lucian Grainge or Lyor Cohen. Tosh.0â€™s got an audience. If labels were smart, theyâ€™d figure out how to be a brand themselves and gain an audience independent of their roster, but theyâ€™re dumb.
8. YouTube hosts videos for free. Too much emphasis is being put on how much Rebecca Black is getting paid. More important is the mechanism that led to her fame. Used to be you had to pay independent promoters to get your track on radio, hoping to have it heard and discovered. Today airplay is free.
9. Music and video production are cheap. Rebecca Blackâ€™s mother paid Ark Factory two grand and got not only a song but a video. Not only does this beg why major label productions are so expensive, it reinforces the fact that anybody can play. In other words, if youâ€™re bitching about needing money to make it in the music game, youâ€™re playing by the old rules.
[note from AFP to lefsetz: thereâ€™s NO way that song and video cost only $2k. even if everybody at ARK worked for slave wages, or free - and why would they? - that wasnâ€™t a $2k video. thereâ€™s another deal going on there. ARK has since posted a youtube vid â€śexplaining their stanceâ€ť - they sound clueless. labels do not â€ścharge artists for videosâ€ť, etc. the whole thing is completely whack and someone needs to give the guys a lesson in bullshitting. see clueless scripted expose video HERE.]
10. Train-wreck is more important than quality if you want instant attention. If â€śFridayâ€ť werenâ€™t bad, only mediocre, or mildly good, no one would care.
11. In the modern world everybody feels heâ€™s entitled to express his opinion. Fifteen years of the World Wide Web have taught people this. Track comments more than spins. Comments demonstrate that people care. But for how long?
12. Donâ€™t equate fame with being rich or longevity. Fame is oftentimes brief and oftentimes the famous make almost no cash. I.e. reality TV. But thereâ€™s an endless parade of wannabes willing to prostitute themselves for a bit of fame. Is it the human condition or a reflection of America, where the poor can no longer be rich and fame is a substitute?
13. Those in the old world pooh-pooh. Yesterdayâ€™s story was how little money Rebecca Black was making off her success. If you think itâ€™s about money, youâ€™ve lost the plot, itâ€™s about fame. Furthermore, in the connected world, real money comes AFTER fame. Itâ€™s old wave CD thinking to believe people will pay up front to experience something new. Itâ€™s usually free and you figure out how to extend the life and profit from it afterward. With the mainstream media clamoring to feature Rebecca Black, she can get an agent and sign on as a host for Nick or Disney. Donâ€™t think small, but big. Donâ€™t think music, but fame. In other words, if all of todayâ€™s Top 40 acts want to start clothing lines, which have nothing to do with music, why should Rebecca Black be limited to the music field?
14. Give the money away. Not only does it deflect criticism, it helps your bona fides. In other words, Rebecca Black is smarter than Beyonce. In the new world, you give back simultaneously with making it. Black is giving her profits to earthquake relief in Japan. How come sheâ€™s smarter than all those stars who played for a dictator?
15. In the modern world, youâ€™re part of your audience. Donâ€™t place yourself above, but within.
16. If youâ€™re twentysomething and have been slugging it out for years trying to make it donâ€™t complain about Rebecca Black. She lives in a different world. To make it and last in music takes longer than it has since the seventies. The MTV era made stars overnight, which faded almost instantly. Now you gain traction slowly, only your fans know you, they spread the word online and you pray that you never gain a Rebecca Black moment, because that means youâ€™ll be ridiculed and be toast.
17. To get a lot of people to pay attention very quickly youâ€™ve got to get lucky. I.e. Tosh.0 directing fans to the Rebecca Black video. You cannot plot success, your career map is not set in stone, you get in the game and try to get lucky. Better to keep playing and fail than polish one track and hype it to high heaven.
18. You do not need radio or record stores to make it. There is no physical product, airplay didnâ€™t break â€śFridayâ€ť. Anyone telling you you need a label is sorely mistaken.
19. Either go for train-wreck value or be exceptionally good. Yes, if youâ€™re an â€śartistâ€ť, mediocre doesnâ€™t cut it. The landscape is evanescent lowest common denominator crap or incredible art. In other words, if youâ€™re not going to be the next Bob Dylan or Radiohead, stay in school.
20. Rebecca Black is a bigger story than SXSW, certainly than any band that played there. Question the old game. Instead of wasting money to make yourself feel good, stay home and think. Come up with something that truly gets us to turn our heads.
21. Scale is important to instant success. Tens of millions of people can watch a YouTube clip in weeks. Nowhere near that many can see you live.
22. Broadcasting once not only fails in radio, it fails in TV. We live in an on demand world. Rebecca Blackâ€™s video was available on demand on YouTube.
23. There are more people who want to glom on to a success and ride it to their own personal nirvana than can create something new and different and make it. In other words, thereâ€™s a cottage industry of prognosticators and analysts jumping on the Rebecca Black train for personal advancement, like ME!