Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Ahh, the online music business. What can I say, except I knew something wasn't right, right from the beginning?

It looks like, on top of all the other crap that's out there, we've now made (what many say is) "the worst song in America" into a bonafide hit - and, practically overnight, netted little ol' Rebecca Black a million dollars:
Black’s tune comes courtesy of Ark Music Factory, a so called record label that churns out tween pop for a couple thousand bucks a tune. Co-founded by Patrice Wilson and Clarence Jey, the L.A. based company courts young teenage singers and “signs” them to short, vanity recording projects. Jey reportedly is the lyrical genius behind “Friday.” According to The Daily Beast, Black’s mother forked over $2,000 for two songs written by Ark Music Factory’s team and one video, the now infamous “Friday.”

It would seem that the investment paid off, many times over. Although the YouTube/Google party line on video ad revenue is vague (“There are no guarantees under the YouTube Partner agreement about how much you will be paid.”) some digging turns up speculation on potential profits. TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld reported today on Google and YouTube’s revenue figures. Looking at 2010’s actual numbers, the site makes about $1 per thousand page views. For videos running ads as part of the revenue sharing program, that revenue is then split between YouTube and the content creator. Content creators, or partners, take 68% of the profit. At 30,000,000 views, that lands Black and Ark Music Factory $20,000 – a 1000% return on investment. That number matches the figure reported by Damian Kulash Jr., the lead singer of indie pop band OK Go, who have made a name for themselves via viral videos.

The revenue doesn’t stop there, though. Where Google has had a notoriously tough time monetizing YouTube content, Apple’s iTunes has had significantly fewer problems. Since hitting the online music store last Monday, “Friday” has amassed a staggering number of downloads, reportedly topping 2 million; the song currently sits at #45 on the iTunes Top Singles chart. According to 101 Distribution, an independent music distributor, iTunes pays out $.70 per single download in the United States. That’s a much juicier check for Black and Ark Music Factory; even if the numbers are exaggerated, the intake from “Friday” could top $1 million. What’s more, Black is planning to release an acoustic version of the song to disprove speculation that her voice is reliant on AutoTune. Cha-ching!

...Like it or not, there’s probably more to come from Rebecca Black and Ark Music Factory.
And that last sentence is the point of this post:

As Sir Bob Geldof and Bon Jovi (of all people) have recently pointed out, the internet has not only wrecked the music industry, but music itself.

Of course, you can't get many to admit it. The writer at the Bon Jovi link, above, claims he's "never listened to so much amazing and diverse music in my life", but then starts promoting what headphones he bought before mentioning a generic and mediocre Euro-style Trance artist - DJ Tiesto - without wondering A) what he's missing or B) whether he's got any taste to begin with.

Let's consider this guy is right, that DJ Tiesto is brilliant and the music world is fine (I know - it's a stretch - but bear with me) why is the first comment I found at Tiesto's link this?
I find it sad that the highest rated comment here is about Justin Bieber. Why the fuck do people care so much about him? If you don't like him fine, neither do I but don't post stuff about him on a Tiesto video. Just listen to music you enjoy assholes.
I'll tell you why:

Because there's something other than music appreciation going on here, folks.

Prior to the advent of the internet, America was known world-wide for consistently good Pop music - across all genres - but now there are literally millions of great artists and musicians, starving, ecause of how the internet's notoriously immature gee-gaw factor warps the business of music, so we're now making millions for aural disasters and novelty tracks, and dooming ourselves to more of the same. That's the situation we're in.

And considering that's the case, despite the occasional one-hit-wonder, or overnight success story, is it any surprise that sales have gone through the floor overall, too?