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Why Rebecca Black’s Popularity Alarms Me

Rebecca Black is the latest 13 year old to catch the world by surprise. Started by a blog entry and a few Twitter posts, her popularity increased...

Rebecca Black is the latest 13 year old to catch the world by surprise. Started by a blog entry and a few Twitter posts, her popularity increased exponentially to absurd proportions this week. As of this posting her YouTube video, entitled “Friday” has 22 million views, most of which occurred during the past four days. Regardless of your opinion on her musical ability, the severe use of auto tune, the shallow lyrics, or her “unique” style of pronunciation (no bias here, of course), Black is looking to make a decent amount of money on top of the fame she has already received. What are the implications of this?

 

 

  1. The Power of Social Media – Rebecca Black is once again a prime example of how social media has changed the way people interact with the world around them. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and, I would argue, has the potential to ruin a company if not handled well. The negative publicity for the video generated curiosity from millions of people who then took it viral – showing their friends, family, etc. Oh yea, and it’s super-catchy.
  2. Copycats and “Me Too’s” – There’s an acoustic version. And a Bob Dylan version. And an a capella version. It’s everywhere. These don’t alarm me nearly as much as the potential of other people who think, “Hey! Rebecca Black is famous for how bad she is, maybe I can do that too!” The potential of being inundated with hundreds of copycats, or people who are creating absolute trash ON PURPOSE, troubles me. Unlike William Hung, who received a record deal because of his epic poor performance on American Idol, Rebecca Black has shown that with the help of YouTube, you too can have 16 million views in a matter of hours! Let the fun begin.
  3. Deterioration of Music Culture – I find it troubling that there is so much buzz over such a poor representation of “good” music. Realistically, the reason why it is so popular is because of how poor of a representation it is. That, however, doesn’t soothe me. What can be said for a culture that places value in things like this? I see Rebecca Black as a prime example of how disappointing pop music is nowadays and showcasing the commercialized culture that surrounds it.  I haven’t seen this much buzz about anything music-related in quite awhile, and don’t suppose I’ll see it again for some time.

 

In conclusion, bravo Rebecca Black, bravo. You may have your 15 minutes of fame, but our culture has not improved thanks to your contribution.


 

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  1. Kelly March 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Wow that’s crazy how the social media can turn a nobody into a somebody, but its sad when the person get a bed reputation. Perhaps because the social media is so powerful and accessible to anybody with the Internet, people should be advised to understand the foundations of public relations before posting anything that could go viral?

  2. helene March 31, 2011 at 3:13 am #

    This is pretty crazy! I can’t believe I hadn’t heard this story before. It kind of reminded me of the “Bed Intruder” video and song. It seems like our culture is ever ready to make fun of things, to create spoofs and elevate the ridiculous so that we can laugh at it. Kind of cynical.

    I thought you made a really great point about the detrimental capacities of word of mouth, especially on the web. Do you think that the internet as a medium is more likely to promote destructive discussion and behavior than other mediums?

  3. Casey Warso April 12, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    It is sad to think how much money she is making off her so called music “career.” It is amazing to think how little effort she put into becoming famous, when bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones had played in small clubs for years before a breakthrough. It saddens me to think where the music industry is going if we have such low standards that Rebecca Black becomes famous.

  4. Rebekah Pierce May 2, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    I can still proudly say that I haven’t seen this video!

  5. Mark Logie May 9, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    I’ve never seen a YouTube video with 2.6 million dislikes before.

  6. andy August 16, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    come on, dude. rebecca black is hilarious.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/why-rebecca-blacks-much-mocked-viral-hit-friday-is-actually-good-20110315
    her follow up is EVEN BETTER if you can believe that

  7. Jordan Koschei April 3, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not reality.

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