When a 14-year-old girl receives threatening messages and hateful missives, we usually call her the victim of cyberbullying. When people tell a 14-year-old girl to kill herself and question her self-worth, we usually call her the victim of cyberbullying. But when it’s Rebecca Black, the most disliked girl in these United States (literally!), we just call it “leaving a comment.” Scroll down for hate.
Just think about it this way for a moment: All that animosity, all of those three million dislikes of “Friday” on YouTube, all of the death threats and hate mail, all of that is being steered towards a girl who is still one-third of her life away from legally having a beer. She’s 14! And she’s just despised.
Rebecca Black doesn’t need defenders. She doesn’t necessarily deserve defenders. The viral star put herself out there, and funny things can happen on the way to fame and fortune. In the end, there’s a reason PR people subscribe to the adage “just spell the name right” and “all press is good press.” Bring on the hate, bring on the parodies, her handlers must be thinking: All it does is help drive up her sales.
“Friday” climbed up to #58 on the Billboard Hot 100, and her iTunes sales of nearly 40,000 in her first week of digital sales netted her and her Ark Music Factory producers about 70 cents per song. Then there’s her YouTube earnings — the site makes about $1 per thousand views, according to Forbes’ Chris Barth, and content creators are said to earn about 68% of that. Her first video was viewed more than 160 MILLION times before being shut down in June, meaning Black and Ark likely took home more than $100,000 before they yanked it. Throw in ringtones and appearance fees and signings, and while you’re laughing at Rebecca Black, she’s laughing on the way to the bank.
So now it’s Round 2. Black dropped “My Moment” on Monday, and in 24 hours was “disliked” on YouTube more than 188,000 times. That number will continue to rise dramatically, no doubt. And it had been viewed more than 2.8 million times — that number will also continue to rise dramatically. More hate, more views. More dislikes, more controversy. It doesn’t matter whether she “addresses her critics” in this new video, whether the song’s any good, whether the video’s any good. Haters gonna come and hate, but they’re also putting money in her pocket.
Black isn’t the first singer to make money through hate, and she won’t be the last. Hell, Vince McMahon has been making money off this concept for more than three decades: It’s called a “heel.” People love to hate much more than they love to love. Hate is active. Hate is visceral. Hate moves people. It brings people into wrestling arenas, just as Black brings people onto YouTube and iTunes.
If you *really* hate her, you’d ignore her. Otherwise, you might be shining her shoes one day.