.Who the Hell Made Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ Video?

By now, chances are you’re one of the 100,000 people who today have ratcheted up a ton of views on the completely Bonkersville video for Rebecca Black, “Friday.” Where to begin? The way Autotune makes her pronounce the word “Fraah EE Daayee”? The existential question of which car seat to take? The segment in the bridge where it is very explicitly explained exactly where in the rotation of days of the week Friday falls?
See for yourself:

So yes, you are blown away. My friend Trevor puts it best: “It’s like everyone involved was given cat tranquilizers and then forced at gunpoint to make a video. The expression on her face when she’s saying the “fun fun fun fun” line is somewhere between ‘I’m saying “fun” but that word means something different on our world’ and ‘Help me I am being held hostage by Kim Jong Il and forced to do this.'”
Who the hell made this video?
The answer is Ark Music Factory, a Los Angeles-based company operating as an industry hybrid of Maurice Starr and John Bennett Ramsey. Their casting calls are perfect bait for starry-eyed parents: “If you are a great singer without any material and you want to get discovered,” one reads, “then Ark Music Factory is looking for you.” [It’s now been removed; screen grab here.]
The formula is simple: They’ll fly your child between the specified ages of 13-17 to Los Angeles, write her a “hit,” record it in super-compressed Autotuned production, shoot an edge detection-overlay video and BAM! Maybe your kid can notch up a couple thousand YouTube views while you watch your dreams of being a pop-star parent percolate.
Ark Music Factory was launched last month by Patrice Wilson and Clarence Jey—pictured here with one of their pop stars-in-training, J’Rose. Clarence Jey has a MySpace with songs like “Nasty Boi” and “Party Like the Rich Kids.” The biggest name he’s worked with so far is Richie Kotzen, a guitar player from the 1980s hair-glam band Poison. He’s made a “chillax album,” and apparently has studied his Giorgio Moroder. He’s worked with girls as young as nine years old.

In fact, young girls seem to be Jey and Wilson’s preference, looking at Ark Music Factory’s roster. Here’s CJ Fam, a girl who usually sings at Ronald McDonald fundraisers and County Fairs, starring in “Five Days With Ark Music Factory.” It’s supposed be a commercial for Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson’s company, but it just looks plain depressing, creepy and horrible:

Ark Music Factory obviously has put a lot of effort into promoting a girl from Madison named Kaya Rosenthal, whose “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” video was heavily promoted but has already been surpassed in views by Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video since I started typing this post:

Kaya at least understands the music video game—she took part in this spoof of music videos—but most of Ark’s clients appear oblivious to the realities of the music industry. In the comments of another video filmed by Ark Music Factory’s in-house producers, Sarah Maugaotega’s friends ask questions like “howd you make this !?” and “amazing howd you do it?” Sarah’s probably the most natural-sounding and looking singer on Ark’s roster, and her official YouTube channel has only seven subscribers. Nevertheless, this video got made:

The Ark Music Factory video team of Chris Lowe and Ian Hotchkins has some pretty standard teenage boy-girl ideas revolving around breakups, like this video by Ashley Rose, or this dippy, semi-charming video by Britt Rutter…

…both of which trade pretty heavily in teenage tropes like texting and video chat. Then there’s the truly unexplainable videos, like “Crazy” by Darla Beaux, which shows the teenage singer in a straitjacket on a survelliance camera, interspersed with hipstamatic shots. Most of the others are just as formless in concept.
You’ve got to wonder: What if all these Ark Music Factory girls hung out together, for one night? What would happen? Would the space-time continuum rupture? Behold, the Ark Music Factory launch party, which has to be seen to be believed:

Now look—I’m not going to say that Jey or Wilson are pedophiles, like a lot of internet commenters are doing. That’s a really rash conclusion to reach with no evidence, especially when we all know that the music industry thrives on young girls. They’re just doing what every shuckster in L.A. is doing, with the knowledge that short shorts on skinny legs will never go out of style.
But I will point out that their company obviously needs a lot of money to rent Rolls-Royces; pay studio time; shoot videos and rent venues and musicians and soundmen for launch parties. That money ain’t coming from record sales or publishing royalties. It’s coming pretty obviously from rich parents, buying a chunk of the L.A. myth a few days at a time so their kids can brag about it at school and continue to inflate their own vanity.
Is it sad? That depends on your point of view. Is it hilarious that “Friday,” Ark Music Factory’s biggest hit, has gotten famous for being mercilessly made fun of on the internet? You bet it is.

206 COMMENTS

    • She’s a girl who I don’t hate but I hate her music. She can’t sing and honestly I think she needs to stop with making music and get a new career…

    • A douchebag who can’t sing shit,
      the new justin bieber who can sing shit
      god, teenagers these days can’t sing shit
      rephrase: american young teenagers who sing pop songs can sing shit
      now if we turn to jean maunier, that’s some singing

  1. Thank you so much for this. I thought there had to be some sort of corruption behind this deplorable video. Super funny, though, you must admit.

  2. Then: Talent, creativity, intensity.
    Now: Rich, well connected parents.
    re: answer to the question: “what does it take to be a rock star?”

  3. Any idea what her myspace page is? I have to hear how horrid the rest of her music is! Also, have you always had to register and be approved to access the Arks web site? That’s insane!

  4. Their party was at BUSBY’S? The frat-boy pool hall?!
    Sounds like the John Casablancas or Barbizon of the American Idol era. I bet they make parents pay them a fortune for makeup, hair, costumes, and video production that does nothing to get their kid a recording contract or tour dates. Only talent or connections will get you a career. If someone makes you pay, then you don’t have the talent or the connections.

  5. The most telling video is the launch party one. I feel sorry for those kids–they are not good singers, and no one is telling them that. It’s not wrong of them to want to be famous, or want to make music. It’s whoever is capitalizing on their dreams to make money that’s really at fault here.
    Who knows? Maybe deep down they have some talent, and maybe they could have been reformed with guidance. But now I think they’ve been ruined.
    I also feel sorry for that announcer, who is clearly running himself ragged trying to get the crowd to be excited.

  6. Yo Douche!!Sounds like you getting Patrice Wilson mixed up with Clarence Jey and got all the information confoosed along the way about Ark Music Factory. Both are 2 of the coolest cats ever.
    In anyevent, the song’s catchy no matter how crazy the content is. The song has turned over 400,000 heads in 24 hours, no matter what any one uses.. front seat of back seat.lol

  7. Seriously?? Do your homework before you post stuff like this. They are a production company and a lable. They do development deals with people then put them in showcases for A&R reps in the industry to try and get them an actual record deal. They niether promise these kids a deal or promise that they will get one with them. That is stated clearly in the contract that they sign. They also either offer a full 360 development deal or a partial 360 development deal, meaning that some may have to pay for the video, but they also give them the option of getting a video done with someone else of their choice and not them if they ony get the partial 360. Other than that they pay for nothing else, not studio time, PR, or the photo shoots they get and typically they get a 3-4 song production deal.
    Yes, they do work with people who want to pay them to produce their music. Who wouldn’t when someone offers you $20k? It’s called business. As far as who they have signed to their actual label, it’s few and far between and they are a really talented group of people and not all of them are kids. A majority of them are in their 20’s.
    Go to the source before making crap up. Clarence and Patrice are 2 of the most honest and hard working people out there (and are both MARRIED by the way). To make them seem skeevy and creepy because they work with kids is wrong on every level. I guess that would make the people of PBS, Nick, & Disney just as guilty?
    All of the comments about this makes me ill. Humanity has sunken to a new level when it making fun of a 13 year old girl becomes entertainment.