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?


  1. I blame MTV, which made music a visual experience besides audial. In fact the visual outweighed the music. I often didn't appreciate some of the betters songs until I heard them later without the stupid video to distract. Internet is MTV*10.

  2. Shiffting gears here.
    Dude! CoCo Crack over at Althouse!
    Killed me!

  3. What is interesting is that music executives today are wanna-be baby boomer hipsters, clearly most interested in making a buck quickly. Their square old man forebears, music suits from the 60s 70s and even 80s, were able to spot and sign genius acts with talent. Would boomer executives today recognize talent even if it hit them over the head? doubt it.

  4. If you want to make money from music, then make a better product and market it to consumers - that's free market capitalism at work.

    The best music, like Black's "Friday," makes millions

    While the lame music (and petulant "starving artists") sink into well-deserved obscurity.

    Money is the ultimate proof of who is deserving and who is not - that's what makes us americans, after all.

  5. Either you believe in free market capitalism, which is exactly what our military us fighting to defend, or you are an elitist snob who wants to take attention and money away from successful artists (like justin bieber) and redistribute it to untalented whiners.

    Look, you don't know what you're talking about - and I never mentioned redistributing anything - and, because I served and you clearly didn't, I think you're being just insulting enough that I'm going to tell you to read my policy above the comment box before you decide to call me your "pal" again.

    Get your head on right.

    You've been warned.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. it isn't art until it sells.

    If something sells, we can be sure it's one thing: a product.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. If we want real socialism for actual persons, we should all join the US military: Everything is socialized in the military, the personnel getting socialized medicine and socialized housing and socialized transport and much else, the ideal and modus operandi being one of purest collectivism, the training the kind that teaches recognition of hierarchies and obedience in that long chain of command – chain is the operative word – wherein you do what you’re told, you listen to the boss, you don’t question, you don’t fend for yourself, you don’t step out of line. How totally un-American. Thus does the military man, having given up the struggle for self-command and self-reliance, receive diapering and feeding and care, ideally from cradle to grave, never opting to grow up and survive in the rigors of the marketplace.

  10. Col. Mustard,

    Jesus, where do we get you idiots from? Do you not think soldiers are the product of the society they come from? And not all soldiers are lifers. But even if they are, so what? Whatever. I'll tell you what's important:

    We're trained to kill.

    Keep it up - you're the target.

  11. Looking at recent "debates" on this blog it's confusing trying to understand here what makes an "American," much less an AMerican "conservative

    The sterotype is that USA "conservatives" care about three things: the Bible, capitalism and the military. But this blog seems to contradict all three

    The Bible, one, well that's obvious, just look at this blog that can't be it

    The military, two, as another poster pointed out, for US conservatives the radio celebrity who took a pass is considered a bigger patriot then than an actual war hero, so its not about that either

    It really does seem to come down to money here, unless there is something I'm missing? Seriously... you guys bash people who dedicate themselves to making your country run like teachers, nurses, etc, while defending and giving massive tax breaks those who spend all their time and energy trying to gut your economy and move money and industry abroad... eithe rto countries with high standards of living and educated populations like Sweden or countries with cheap labor markets and zero social safety nets like China and Brazil...

    I don't get it. I can see why maybe this would benefit the 1% of the population that controls 60% of the wealth in your country - they can easily move around the globe and owe their loyalty to nobody but themselves.

    But what good does it do you other 99&? What's "conservative" about that?

    Not that I'm complaining... by all means, the lower the dollar dips the better precious metals do and I'm very confortable with the living I do make. And suffice it to say its not at all dependent on any kind of US comeback!

    But it is funny and interesting to watch you do this to yourselves... reminds me a lot of Russia actually.

    Oh well. USA #!!!!! LOL.

  12. Stura,

    Though you misunderstand a lot, this is still a good catch on your part. let me see if I can clear up a few things:

    I am part of the new conservatism, most widely known as "South Park Conservatism". Unlike Liberals, just because I smoked pot (and more) it doesn't mean I lost my mind or am willing to betray my country for anyone or anything. I am not an African-American, I am an American whose skin is black.

    Yes, I am an atheist, but not part of the "new atheism" because I accept Christian ideals as the historical basis of our country and don't have a burning anger about it. I have a burning anger at those who will not abandon the supernatural.

    I served in the military. I like Rush Limbaugh. Serving in the military is not a litmus test for patriotism. Standing up for our military is - and Rush passes with flying colors. I don't know what "war hero" you're referring to, but if it's Kerry - who returned from duty and then lied on his fellow soldiers for his own gain - well, he's the kind of "hero" who explains why liberals are such scum.

    It really does seem to come down to money here, unless there is something I'm missing? Seriously... you guys bash people who dedicate themselves to making your country run like teachers, nurses, etc,...

    Yes, you are missing something, and the Left wants you to miss it because it benefits them:

    The teacher's and nurse's unions (public government unions) negotiate with the politicians they put in office with union dues. It's the public who get screwed in that deal because no one at the table looks out for our interest - when all they're discussing is how to screw us out of our money! It's a racket and it's good Americans have finally caught on.

    One more thing on that: No, we are no a class warfare society and we do not hate corporations. I am typing this on an Apple computer. To hate corporations is stupid, and those who claim to are hypocrites, unless they're sending emails by carrier pigeon.

    Finally, you laugh at us now, because your friends on the Left have made things difficult, but they will not always be in charge (they only make it about once every 20-25 years) but they won't be there forever and we Elephants A) never forget, and B) remember your laughter when you want our help. That's why we're known to be such bastards. Because of people like you. We're not going anywhere - that much is guaranteed - but, like France (3 times) Germany (once) Japan (twice) or Iraq (twice) or now the rebels of Libya, the rest of you may not survive without us.

    Hope that clears things up.

  13. Hi thanks for your reasonable reply

    so to make sure I understand:

    1) "I accept Christian ideals as the historical basis of our country"

    Most of your founding Fathers were Deists, for what its worth - like you they completely rejected all of the supernatural elements of the Bible.

    Jefferson even created his own version of the Bible, snipping out all of the obvious fairy tale elements so readers could focus on what Jesus' core message: forgiveness, mercy, peace, etc.

    Are those the Christian ideals you subscribe to? Forgiveness, mercy and peace?

    2) "Serving in the military is not a litmus test for patriotism. Standing up for our military is"

    Color me skeptical about Limbaugh

    So he wants you to pay him $50 and he will CC: a soldier his newsletter, how exactly does this help support the troops again?

    Instead of raising money for more body armor or to lobby Congress for stronger veterans' benefits, maybe even paying for the artificial limbs wounded soliders need, he wants to send them a newletter paid for by other people


    3) "It's the public who get screwed in that deal because no one at the table looks out for our interest - when all they're discussing is how to screw us out of our money! It's a racket and it's good Americans have finally caught on."

    You are right about this, at least:

    In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have:

    - 38.3% of all privately held stock
    - 60.6% of financial securities
    - 62.4% of business equity.

    The top 10% have

    - 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity
    - over 75% of non-home real estate.

    Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.

    Hint - that's not the unions

    "There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” - Warren Buffett

  14. Stura,

    Gawd, I hate talking to people over the internet because answering this type of stuff is so much easier:

    1) Most of your founding Fathers were Deists.

    I know, but they weren't and aren't the country. Even they knew the country was and is Christian, which is why they structured things the way they did: the people scared them.

    2) Look, if you don't like Rush (because - like most critics - you don't listen to him and thus don't understandhim) then leave it at that. I'll merely say he's been the #1 radio personality in America longer than many people have been alive - with a fierce, well-armed, opposition in his face, including most in television news - and not only has he prospered, but he defeats them, again and again, and embarrasses them on a daily basis, so there must be a reason for that.

    Also, as he likes to say, with his vast fortune he does more for those in the military, and for the country, than most people (without seeking publicity for it) and, I'm sure, most American soldiers would be overjoyed to have a subscription to his newsletter, whatever it's providence, because he loves and supports us.

    3) More class warfare. I really can't be bothered. You don't state where you're writing from but, I've noticed, wherever I've traveled - and I've been all over the world - there's a much greater interest in trying to fix our house (and trying to get us to hate our success) than dealing with your own. "Poor" in America doesn't mean the same thing as in any other country I've been to - and usually translates into a car, a cell phone, a computer, a television in every room in the house, and the latest fashions - so, please, before you try and tear us down, I think you'd better look around and see if there isn't a deficiency you couldn't be fixing in your own backyard.

    We're doing fine.

  15. Ha! I swear, I didn't go looking for this, but, like any good joke, it's all about the timing:

    Warren Buffett told CNBC Thursday that the collapse of the euro zone's single currency is far from "unthinkable."

    "I know some people think it's unthinkable...I don't think it's unthinkable," Buffett said in an interview.

    Still, Buffett said he believes there will be "huge efforts" put forth to preserve the euro. In the meantime, struggling peripheral countries like Portugal must find a way to resolve fiscal crises.

    "You can't have three or four or five countries that are in effect free-riding on the other countries. That won't work over time—they have to get their fiscal houses in reasonable harmony," he said.

    Now - since you have so much respect for Warren's opinion - I think you better take my/our advice and stop worrying about us because we'll be fine.

    One other thing - in case you're an American:

    Not that I'm complaining... by all means, the lower the dollar dips the better precious metals do and I'm very confortable with the living I do make. And suffice it to say its not at all dependent on any kind of US comeback!

    Then donate to the blog and shut-the-fuck-up. But if you're not an American, as I said, be warned:

    You laugh now - just as they've always laughed when we fall down - but we always get up, and, in only 270+ years, we're the lone superpower with the rest of you eating our dust. Nobody risks their lives to get anywhere else, so, please, go ahead and laugh. I've already told you we won't forget it. And, in the long run, it really doesn't matter - I told you, I've traveled, and know you're merely jealous. Sorry:

    We're better than you.

  16. Hi thanks again for your reply

    I don't have much argument with anything you've written here it mostly seems to be question of emphasis

    Some people like the moral messages about forgiveness in the bible; others, prefer the stories about miracles and so forth

    U must admit that I've never heard if an atheist who likes the superstitious stuff without believing in it but could do without the moral message but ultimately this is a question if taste, un much the same way I might like a movies special effects without believing in them and simultaneously ignore or miss the larger story

    RE Rush I come from the "talk is cheap, each what people do instead" school of thought but I will readily admit that he has created a wildly successful entertainment brand for himself which certainly appeals to a certain demographic so degustibus bin disputandum

    To the third point I'm not reality laughing, and the trend I delineated us not a new one either, your dollar gas been getting weaker and your middle class disappearing for at least 30 years now

    The statistics simply are what they are, you have a situation where the top 10% own almost everything and the bottom 80% own almost nothing...

    It actually is sad as I said because at one point you were the kings if the world

    But every nation can chaise what direction it wants for itself, whether by accident it design your country has chosen the Mexican economic model over the Scandinavian one, you certainly have the right to do so and I do wish you the very best of luck un dealing with it.

    Again as I said it is odd that mist in your country would sacrifice retirement, social mobility, healthcare and education to support the ambitions if some small number at the too, but then you all believe you're going to win the lottery some day, don't you? It's as good a plan as any I suppose...

    Finally, yes I agree with you about Apple, not their computers so much as their stock which has been unstoppable lately! I am bullish in this and other companies in your tech sectors certainly.


  17. Statistics can be twisted to look like anything. The reality is we're a rich country, and what you claim is to "own almost nothing" is having three cars in the driveway.

    If you think that's worthy of pity, then please, be my guest.

  18. What I mean by own almost nothing is having negative net worth - owing more in credit card debt than they have ability to pay off, more on home loan than home could be sold for, and no money to retire on.

    That is your middle class - a far cry from the prosperity of the 50s, 60s, 70s.

    Today in news I read that 50 million Americans had trouble affording food in 2009. I do feel pity for these, once again, this was not necessary but the product of a very long process that took 30 years, beginning with Reagan, but Clinton did nothing to stop it either.

    But these are decisions that were made personally we woyld have a difficult time tolerating Paris Hilton or donald trump where I live people woyld be ashamed to act like this, we look out for each other which is why we have high taxes different choices for different societies it seems

  19. These are decisions that were made personally,...

    That line is the only one that made sense to me. Hey, it's a free country, which also means people are free to make bad choices. That's what "free" means. Don't feel bad - we don't - unless some evil has befallen them. Otherwise, accept that some people are dumb, and move on.

    There is such a thing as maturity, you know.