Did 'Friday' Really Make Rebecca Black a Millionaire?

Forbes was wrong about the singer's payday, writes Annie Lowrey
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2011 11:40 AM CDT

Thanks to a song that’s inspired unrestrained hatred, Rebecca Black has been proclaimed a millionaire by no less an authority than Forbes—but that’s unlikely, writes Annie Lowrey in Slate after a quick analysis. For one thing, "Friday" has sold 30,000 copies, Billboard says; Forbes had reported that it had been bought 2 million times on iTunes. The lower figure means about $26,000 for Black. Forbes also estimated that Google makes $1 per thousand YouTube views, meaning the singer would get a $20,000 cut of the $30,000 made from 30 million views. (It's now at 47 million.)

But Lowrey guesses that's lower, too, since the ad rates depend on how many people actually click the ads. She estimates a grand total of $40,000 or so—"hardly chump change, but hardly $1 million either," Lowrey notes. But on top of that, Black’s producers at Ark Music may be taking a cut after acting "as a promoter, manager, and record label." The teen may thus be taking just half of that $40,000—or less. Still, she stands to make a lot more money: After all, YouTube sensations "don't make money from a video, but because of it." If Black signs with a traditional label, tours, sells merch...maybe she’ll end up a millionaire after all. (More Rebecca Black stories.)

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