An Ordinary World

books, blabberings, and a life semi-common

Take All My Money! No… Really!

Last weekend, Rebecca Black (I can’t help but wonder if that’s her real name or if it’s her tween nod to the TWILIGHT books because… I could see the little chick doing that) went all viral (that sounds so dirty) with her video for “Friday.” It was produced by some company in LA and from what I’ve heard on the radio about it, it’s one of those companies that say, “Hey… Give us some money and we’ll make you a star!”

That’s not anything new. I remember seeing those ads in the newspaper when I was a kid – acting, modeling, singing. There are money-making corporations who tend to prey on the children who want to be famous and the parents who want their son or daughter to be the next Justin Timberlake, LeAnn Rimes (maybe minus the cheating), Britney Spears, etc. and that’s only the music side of it.

Now that I’m a working adult (also sounds awkward), I can’t help but note the similarities between this girl with her nonsensical video and authors who head to a vanity press rather than waiting and working to become accepted at one of the larger publishing companies (most, if not all, of whom require the use of an agent).

Let’s compare:

“Friday” is a mediocre and annoying song that is song by a young girl who may or may not be able to sing based on the level of auto-tuning that’s happening (I’m thinking Britney Spears here but at least BSpee can dance and has a presence). I doubt this song or this girl would be picked up by an A&R exec from any of the larger record companies (though, you never know these days…).

Vanity publishing gets its name from the idea that the author is publishing in vain because the piece of work would not be published from a “legit” publisher. Either that or the author doesn’t want to wait for his or her work to be published; it’s the call of instant gratification or at least, semi-instant gratification.

“Friday” was funded by Rebecca Black’s parents – that is, they gave ARK Music Factory (their name reminds me of C&C Music Factory which in turn causes me to remember “Everybody Dance Now,” a song that was used for a gymnastics routine I did with a group at the age of 7 or so) the money for the written song, recording time, and the video itself. Understandable that it was her parents since Black is only 13 years old – I found this out only through a link to her page on the company’s website (I’d share the link but the web design girl in me cannot bear to send you to a page of Comic Sans and Rounded Arial white text on a black background).

Subsequently, guess who pays for almost everything at a vanity press? I’ll give you a hint – it’s not really the publisher. The author pays the publishing company to have their work printed; it’s one of the main reasons authors will go to a vanity press rather than self-publish. The author is also the one in charge of promoting and marketing their book. The press also doesn’t distribute the book.

All of that being said… There is one major difference between the two.

Whether an author self-publishes or uses a main publishing company, plagiarism is frowned upon and has the ability to spark controversies and lawsuits.

With “Friday,” the copycat – performed a cappella by a dude named Brandon – is much better and should be listened to as opposed to the wretched original that sounds like it should be named “Fry-eed-dgay.”

**Thanks to BFF for sharing this video with me.


One response to “Take All My Money! No… Really!

  1. Sara 18 March 2011 at 11:07 am

    Love everything about this. Except the original song, obviously.

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