Apr. 01, 2011

Terrible: the new cash cow in content popularity

“Genius,” was the word used by GaGa to describe the latest phenomenon in video popularity, Rebecca Black.  When Lady GaGa, likes something you’d better take note. GaGa’s YouTube Channel has had over a trillion views and she is reshaping the status quo of what’s popular. Brands have a lot to learn from the edgy creativity that’s led to GaGa’s popularity.Lady GaGa was featured in a Google presentation entitled, “Google Goes GaGa,” highlighting the performer’s success with social media where she recently complimented Black.
Why Business Should Pay Attention to What Lady Gaga Says
Why should businesses pay attention to what Lady GaGa says about Rebecca Black? Because how popularity is defined in popular culture could change how we think about content strategy. Rebecca Black is an unknown teenage singer who made an inexpensive amateur music video called, “Friday,” that garnered an unprecedented amount of negative reviews, parody and ridicule. The video has over a million dislikes on YouTube. Forbes reported Black as a millionaire according to their estimated calculations after her parents only paid $2,000 for the video.

My first friend request on my personal YouTube account from a total stranger seems old fashioned now compared to Black’s accidental mass outreach. User, MortenFaerestrand, approached me to friend him and subscribe to his YouTube channel which consisted of videos playing his guitar in an effort to market his new CD. He seems to be getting positive response from his outreach. Recent comments on his channel page include:

  • "Sincerely appreciate the friend invitation, which I admirably accepted. Just subscribed to your channel. Awesome talent you have there!"  Symone
  • "Thanks for the invite"

Friending as many people as possible on YouTube who frequent popular channels seems to be the general consensus around how to build a subscriber base. At last glance MortenFaerestrand has over 3,000 video subscribers which is a fairly high number for an unknown independent label musician. MortenFaerestrand is working very hard to build up a subscriber base one-by-one in the time consuming outreach of friend requesting. By comparison, the channel responsible for posting Rebecca Black’s official video has over 37,000 subscribers simply by being terrible. When you consider the financial potential of a subscriber base that size, Black’s reported revenues in the first week of her sensation and the time it will take for poor MortenFaerestrand to hit the same numbers with his one-by-one process, it might just pay to be terrible.

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