TAKING BACK FRIDAY, rebecca black, shorty awards in NYC, censorship forum in boston.
hola my dear comrades, one and all.
thank you all for the beautiful and smart comments (and retweeting) of the last blog. struck a chord? yes….
it’s been a crazy week. i’m home but untethered, plenty to do, millions of tasks but very few priorities.
we’ve all been drinking a lot. sometimes that happens around here when the calendar says spring and the sky says winter.
no amount of alcohol can banish “friday” from our memories.
i have to admit it, i’ve become entranced. addicted. completely. hooked.
from the first second i saw it, i could not stop watching the “friday” video.
it was all over for me.
it is the Best Worst Best thing ever made in the history of youtube.
my favorite moments are when she talks about ceral (obvi) when her “friend” in the backseat beckons her to join them (subtle, but so awful), and of course the overwhelming awesomeness of the bridge.
also i now want to start a band called “sunday comes afterwards”. we will be awesome. we’ll be a screamo band that only plays justin bieber songs. we will wear only white. there will be blood.
and then there’s ARK MUSIC FACTORY, the illusive and seemingly completely out-to-lunch dudes who made this video – and many others like it with other prepubescent girls whose parents in the LA area had enough dough to buy their kids 5 minutes of potential viral fame on the interwebz. weird.
pope pointed out that he’s got a friend who – when the writer’s strike hit and shit got rough in filmmaker world – started making videos of kids for their bar mitzvahs for $2500 a pop, starring the kid “as their favorite movie star in their favorite movie scene.” the first video (the eager client in question wanted to re-enact ralph macchio’s scorching last scene in “the karate kid”) screened at the kid’s bat mitzvah party, and the next thing you know, the parents of every other pre-teen are waving money at this filmmaker saying “our joey wants ‘war of the worlds’!” and “our stephanie wants ‘titanic’!!” and “our stevie want ‘star wars’!!!!!”. (the budget goes UP on fucking “star wars”, people. that shit is HARD to do on $2k).
point being, pope’s film-maker friend asked it pope would come on board and do “faux” music videos for these kids. pope’s answer: fuck no.
looks like someone else nabbed the gig.
and since i’m right off tour and slightly floating…all the subsequent related-meme media has become my daily bread.
rebecca black on good morning america.
rebecca black on jay leno.
rebecca black everywhere.
reading bob lefsetz’s spiels about her goings-on and how it clearly illustrates what is happening with music and the internet resonates.
he originally posted the video along with a comment from someone’s incredulous twitter about how it had more hits than lady gaga’s “born this way.”
that’s why *i* saw it. i was offline when it came out, i was so late to the game it already have over 30,000,000 hits on youtube by the time it infected me.
i spent two days mulling this over and rapping with my house about the topic.
here’s the weirdest thing: this clip makes people HAPPY. for fucked up reasons, for sure, but i felt WAY MORE GLEE watching it, and sharing it – and even singing it in the streets with my friends – than i felt about the lady gaga clip, which left me cold. gaga’s video probably cost a million bucks. this one, relatively, cost practically nothing.
how do we make people happy, and does it even matter how?
it really connects with my last blog.
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 time…about what the fuck would have happened if i’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 awful…like, REALLY awful. i was screamy, off-kilter-not-in-a pleasant-way, off-key….just…awful. i had not found my voice. i wasn’t a natural, not by a long shot. and autotune didn’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 parent’s living room – and i dreamed of a “Yes, Someday” 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 girl’s career is over, and she’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. it’s brilliant…thumbs up. all very right fucking on…
there’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 hitler’s got an opinion (hint: he had a bad reaction). if anything made be happier than the video itself, it was this:
but the true question stays….can any good come of this?
does she have any hope of having a normal life after this?
either way, the earworm crawls; i’ve literally been skipping down the street in boston with casey singing this for hours, and i wake up with it in my head.
i sat down in a coffeeshop the other day meaning to write a funny parody, but it didn’t come out funny, it just came out shocking and sad.
what do i do with it? pope came over and filmed me & casey singing it today, but the clip isn’t quite right. i’ll either record it down in new york this
week, or when i get back to boston after that. it’s….disturbing. hint: it’s “friday” sung from the point of view of a truck stop hooker. and it just gets worse.
what is it with my brain?
a propos: i told casey that all major artists, to show solidarity, should release their most embarrassing 13-yr-old bedroom recordings.
but i meant it as a joke.
i never will. you’ll have to wait until i’m dead.
or until i ACTUALLY achieve enlightenment.
there you go.
you’ll know i’ve achieved enlightenment when i’m a brave enough person to let you hear that awful, awful, awful unlistenable shite.
it really is THAT bad.
NEW YORK FUCKING CITY:
this monday (the 28th) i’ll be in town for the @ShortyAwards, a night to honor the best people and organizations on twitter (and social media, in general)…as the LA times said, “think Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes — but for Twitter.”
read more HERE.
i’ve been nominated in a special category, nokia’s “connecting people shorty award,” which’ll be given to a person who is “genuinely bringing people together through twitter and social media”….ahm? awesome. here’s the announcement i’m nominated…feel free to drop by and thank them and congratulate the other nominees.
plus i came up with a special song for the event…i think you’ll like it.
and get this: they’ll be WEBCASTING. the stream will be on shortyawards.com starting at 4pm PDT. we’ll try and embed the feed at partyontheinternet.com as well…make sure you’re following @AFPwire for the lowdown.
and if your’e in NYC, there are still a few tickets to the event itself, go HERE.
aasif mandvi (@aasif_mandvi) of “the daily show” is hosting. and kiefer sutherland is gonna be there presenting. hot?
on april 10th, at 2 pm in boston,
i’ll be speaking at a FREE EVENT with my trusty friends and mentors steven bogart (who directed “cabaret”) and anthony martignetti (one of my best friends) on a discussion panel with emma feinberg, the lexington high school student whose direction of “columbinus” – a play written by stephen karam and PJ paparelli – was banned from being performed at the school due to language and violent content re: the columbine shootings. we’ll be rapping freely and un-censoredly about the play, art, life, and the importance of not censoring things (especially in schools).
info about the forum discussion is HERE.
tickets are first come, first served.
GENERAL WEIRD UPDATES:
the remix contest is JUST about to wrap up. it’s taken a while to get a the correct tracks in order, but WINNERS HAVE BEEN SELECTED and the whole collection (plus some extra fun stuff) is going to be up on bandcamp. stay tuned.
the podcast i recorded at kevin smith’s SModCastle should be up within the next few days, and i’ll bloggywog the whole thing and also put it up on bandcamp for donation with the profit going to support planned parenthood.
that’s all for now, lovesluts.
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. “Good Morning America” featured Rebecca Black as did “The Tonight Show”. Make noise and old media comes running.
3. Old media is last.
4. If you want to make an instant splash, you’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, it’s only part of the landscape.
7. A tastemaker is anybody with an audience. In other words, Tosh.0’s got more impact than Lucian Grainge or Lyor Cohen. Tosh.0’s got an audience. If labels were smart, they’d figure out how to be a brand themselves and gain an audience independent of their roster, but they’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 Black’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 you’re bitching about needing money to make it in the music game, you’re playing by the old rules.
[note from AFP to lefsetz: there’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 wasn’t a $2k video. there’s another deal going on there. ARK has since posted a youtube vid “explaining their stance” – they sound clueless. labels do not “charge artists for videos”, 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 “Friday” weren’t bad, only mediocre, or mildly good, no one would care.
11. In the modern world everybody feels he’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. Don’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 there’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. Yesterday’s story was how little money Rebecca Black was making off her success. If you think it’s about money, you’ve lost the plot, it’s about fame. Furthermore, in the connected world, real money comes AFTER fame. It’s old wave CD thinking to believe people will pay up front to experience something new. It’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. Don’t think small, but big. Don’t think music, but fame. In other words, if all of today’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 she’s smarter than all those stars who played for a dictator?
15. In the modern world, you’re part of your audience. Don’t place yourself above, but within.
16. If you’re twentysomething and have been slugging it out for years trying to make it don’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 you’ll be ridiculed and be toast.
17. To get a lot of people to pay attention very quickly you’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 didn’t break “Friday”. Anyone telling you you need a label is sorely mistaken.
19. Either go for train-wreck value or be exceptionally good. Yes, if you’re an “artist”, mediocre doesn’t cut it. The landscape is evanescent lowest common denominator crap or incredible art. In other words, if you’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 Black’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, there’s a cottage industry of prognosticators and analysts jumping on the Rebecca Black train for personal advancement, like ME!