What Do You Know – Bernie Su – Music

Last week’s What Do You Know – Allison Vanore – Nature

In this week’s What Do You Know we get to hear from Bernie Su twitter: @berniesu. I first heard about Bernie when his show Compulsions launched. If you haven’t seen it, as soon as you are done reading what Bernie has written please go watch it. The amazing thing I admire about Bernie is not only his glowing personality and the camera permanently attached to his neck, but his ability to write about the way he writes and why he writes truly amazes me. If you haven’t, after you watch compulsions go back and read Bernie’s blog entries. I can’t wait to see what else Bernie is up to in the future, not to mention I hope to work with him as well. Watch out folks, he’ll be a household name in no time. And I truly mean that.

Read his piece about music after the break.

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Rebecca Black – The middle finger  to the pop industry.

In tackling this topic, I originally figured I would go into some deep discussion about my eccentric musical tastes and how it feeds into my creativity. But alas we have a mass/pop culture musical ‘phenomenon’ to discuss regarding music – love it/hate it/sick of it –  we have Rebecca Black.

If you haven’t sampled the track, you clearly aren’t one of the 27 million people that have seen this video. The track is universally described as an “awful” song with an “awful” video, but with the amount of penetration that this teen artists has achieved, it is no doubt a cultural phenomenon, and we as consumers and observers of content can take a lot from analysing this.

When I first heard of this track I was at SXSW and really didn’t know anything except that it was trending all over the place. The video was shown to me by Burnie Burns (no relation) of Rooster Teeth productions (Red vs. Blue), who had theorized that the video was just a big prank/(F-U) to the pop music industry and even though he is technically wrong, in my observations he is absolutely correct.

The track and subsequent fallout has in itself showcases how ridiculous the music industry can be. In the week where hip hop artist Nate Dogg passes away, the biggest news in music is the noise of Rebecca Black.

So let’s talk monetization, how much money has this generated in what is ‘entertainment’. I’m not analyzing how much money Ms. Black or the record company is making. I’m analyzing how much is literally being sent around because of the track. So yes you have the record company, but you have all the news organizations that have coverage of her, avenues like YouTube monetizing ads against her content and content about her.

First the video, 30 Million views (at time of writing) on YouTube. Even with a low $1 CPM, that’s $30,000, if we’re talking a more reasonable $5 CPM, now that’s $150,000 on JUST THE VIDEO. On iTunes it currently sits at number 45 in most downloaded songs.

Now if you extend to the fallout, it’s easy to see how the dollars flying around ‘Rebecca Black’ content could be raised exponentially. How many respectable journalistic organizations have covered the Rebecca Black phenomenon? Is i there fault, their job is to report the news and Rebecca Black is the news.  Do a search on “Rebecca Black” on YouTube and look how many videos there are about her. Finally, call it insult to injury – one of the girls in the video, Benni Cinke, has been asked so many questions over Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, that she felt the need to do a response video on YouTube, and now has close to 250,000 views in 3 days.

In closing I’d like to emphasize that we shouldn’t fault Rebecca Black the person in all this. I read her as a 13 year old girl that dreamed of being a teenaged pop star, like a million other girls in this world. She’s just been exploited to no end. We only see this as an example of exploitation in the era of the net. This is the world we live in, deal with it.

And… to those of you who really want to know about my musical tastes, my most played musical groups  are Evanescence, The Bloody Beetroots, Gotan Project, Breaking Benjamin and TRV$DJAM/A-Trak.
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Bernie is a Writer and Producer of scripted original online content. He is writer and creator of the critically acclaimed independent web series Compulsions, receiving praise from publications such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, and Vanity Fair magazine. The series was honored as the Best Original Web Drama for 2009 by Clicker.com as well as earning Bernie the 2010 Streamy Award for Best Writing in a Drama Web Series.

Bernie is also a  co-creator and co-executive producer of the YouTube sitcom Game Room which is part of the Machinima.com network and is a writer for the supernatural anthology series Black Box TV. He also has a sci-fi multi-platform series in development with one of the studios.