Source of Wealth:Music
Date of Birth:June 21, 1997
American pop singer, Rebecca Black, has an estimated net worth of $1.2 million. Rebecca Black went from teenaged anonymity to national infamy in March 2011, when the video for “Friday,” her debut single, began attracting millions of viewers on YouTube. Black had recorded the song several months earlier with the help of Ark Music Factory, an L.A.-based record label and production facility with a roster of young, aspiring pop singers. Ark Music Factory also shot a video for “Friday,” which was uploaded to the Internet in February 10th, 2011. After attracting less than 1,000 viewers during its first month, the video went viral on March 11, kicking off a bizarre media craze that dominated national news for weeks. Before the month was up, “Friday” had cracked the Billboard charts and racked up more than 64 million views on YouTube, despite an almost universally negative response from media outlets.
Put more bluntly, the video become the laughingstock of millions, who have latched on to its simplistic lyrics and low-price polish to push it into the public consciousness. Despite the movement’s dubious beginnings, though, Black may be the one laughing now.
Black’s tune comes courtesy of Ark Music Factory, a so called record label that churns out tween pop for a couple of thousand bucks a tune. Co-founded by Patrice Wilson and Clarence Jey, the company courts young teenage singers and “signs” them to short, vanity recording projects. Jey reportedly is the lyrical genius behind “Friday.” Her mother paid $4,000 to have the single and an accompanying music video put out as a vanity release.
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 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, “Friday” has amassed a staggering number of downloads, reportedly topping 2 million; the song sat 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. According to The Daily Beast, Black plans to donate a portion of her profits to “Japan relief organizations and school arts programs.” Like it or not, there’s probably more to come from Rebecca Black and Ark Music Factory.
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