The first time we heard the auto-tuned awfulness of “Friday” and tortured our eyes with the amateur music video, we knew it was only a matter of time before we’d be asking, what ever happened to Rebecca Black?
Yesterday Was Thursday- How it All Happened
In brief, Rebecca Black’s parents hired a company called Ark Music Factory (not to be confused with hit-makers C&C Music Factory) to write a couple of songs and produce a music video for the then 13 year old Anaheim teen. Yes, Rebecca can’t be blamed for coming up with the lyrics to “Friday,” but can certainly take the credit for singing it. The craptacular video for “Friday” (see below) was released in 2011, and to everyone’s surprise became a huge YouTube sensation pulling in well over 100 million views.
Because of this, “Friday” and Rebecca Black became one of the biggest jokes of 2011.
Today is Friday – The Success
While Rebecca Black was getting ripped to shreds in the media and on the internet, there were car loads (either kickin’ in the front seat or sittin’ in the backseat) of obvious benefits from her infamy. To mention just a few, RB co-hosted a huge shindig with pop superstar Katy Perry in Perry’s video for “Last Friday Night (TGIF)” (pictured above), “Friday” was covered on Glee, that TV show teenage girls seem to like, RB was on The Tonight Show, and parodied by some pretty big names, such as Conan O’Brien (as seen below).
Becky Black also received support from well known British jerkbag, Simon Cowell, who said,’I love her [and] the fact that she’s gotten so much publicity.” Lady Gaga, who was once seen wearing dress made of meat, actually went as far as to claim, “Rebecca Black is a genius.” On top of that, Rebecca was pulling in some decent coin from YouTube views and iTunes sales. Young success resulting from a bad product is like catnip for trolls (trollnip?). This time was no different.
In March of 2011, a devastating tsunami hit Japan. Don’t worry, it didn’t kill her, but Rebecca Black did decide to donate the proceeds from “Friday” to the tsunami relief efforts and to her school and in the process became a little harder to dislike. Which is unfortunate, because I had written a scathing review of her music just a couple of days prior to her kind donation. Besides, we were all certain she wasn’t reading the reviews, the blog posts, or the comments … Right?
Although she tried to take the criticism in stride, being a teenager and a human being, the trolls did get to her. In May of 2011, with an overwhelming ratio of dislikes to likes and more negative comments than you could read over the course of a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or the day that comes afterwards, the comments on the YouTube video of “Friday” were disabled. RB told ABC’s Nightline that she even had to quit middle school because of the bullying she received from schoolmates.
As if the real-life and cyber bullying weren’t enough, she was also in a dispute with Ark Music Factory over copyright issues. I’m almost certain both parties should have been trying to disown the song, but in any case, in June of 2011, “Friday” was taken down from YouTube altogether. The world mourned…or smiled, records were spotty around this time. For better or for worse, the terrible song we loved to hate was no longer easily available to us. At the time, the video had over 160 million views. Thankfully, in September of 2011, just as we had begun to forget “Friday” and started to redirect our hate back to regular crappy pop music, Rebecca Black re-uploaded “Friday”, and the ability to comment was back. Trololol-ing recommenced on the same day.
Gotta Get Down on Friday – A New Beginning
Since “Friday” drop kicked our ears in 2011, Rebecca Black has released 4 other singles on YouTube (produced under her own record label, RB Records). If you compare the view counts from new material to “Friday,” it’s clear Rebecca Black’s star has fallen, but it’s not all bad news for the teen. I put together some stats below and there are some interesting trends. While the total views of each video have dropped dramatically, the percent of people clicking “Like” has done a complete 360. 85% of those who picked, chose “Dislike” for “Friday,” but for her latest single, “In Your Words,” 78% chose “Like.”
These numbers suggests either Rebecca Black has found her voice and is producing better quality music … or she has found a fan base and the trolls have moved on. In any case, the California teen is probably more than happy to trade some of her old popularity for some new found respect.
The latest news? Rebecca Black just covered Rihanna’s “Stay.” Is it bad? Is it good? I’ll leave that judgment up to you, I’m all trolled out.