They say those who can’t do, teach (and those who can’t teach, teach gym). So what about those who don’t make it on the Disney Channel? They sign with Ark Music Factory.

Ark Music Factory has been the buzz around cyberspace since 13-year-old Rebecca Black became a trending topic on Twitter and serenaded us via YouTube with our favorite days-of-the-week song, “Friday” (you know, today is Friday, tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards — that song). But what really constitutes this house of fake Mouseketeers that we keep hearing about?

Ark Music Factory is a record label to which young teens and pre-teens sign in order to make ridiculous songs with equally ridiculous music videos only so they can become “viral stars.” At the moment, eight artists are exclusively signed to the label, ranging from the Auto-Tuned pipsqueak Madison Bray (who sounds like she’s 21 when in reality she’s 11) to the much more mature Ishraq, whose profile photos on Ark’s website are more sex than sing.

Ark calls itself an “indie record label,” but the “stars” it produces are not what most would call indie. I mean sure, technically they are “independent” — being new and undiscovered — but what this factory really pumps out are pure Bieber-esque pop wannabes with over-indulgent stage mothers and a sad life ahead of them. I’m not saying that these kids aren’t talented — they probably are — but they just seem like the Mickey Mouse rejects who weren’t wholesome or perky enough to be the next Hannah Montana.

The main difference about this record label is that the company doesn’t pay the artists — the artists pay the company. Rebecca Black’s mother paid $2,000 for a package that consisted of pre-written songs for her daughter to sing. Talk about selling out. This is an absurd and unrighteous way to showcase talent. Sure, there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or in this case, a music career), but seriously — who would ever think we’d live in a society where people pay for their stardom? I know some celebrities are low enough to stage their own paparazzi shots, but to pay for a terrible song just so they can become a YouTube star — that’s crazy. Maybe, I’m just naïve, but is the 15 minutes of fame really worth it?

Take for instance our new viral friend Rebecca Black. She claims she wants to be as popular as the beloved Justin Bieber. To start, she does not have the hair. Secondly, the company is doing it backwards. Usually, as in Bieb’s case, he put himself out there and then signed a record label contract. He was an unknown who generated a lot of views and popularity from the videos he put up, which then got the record exec’s attentions (yeah, I saw “Never Say Never” — judge me, it was awesome). What this company is doing is signing these hopefuls with the promise of making them YouTube stars. You can’t push popularity like that — that’s what makes people push back. That is why Rebecca Black has generated so much hatred. It’s not that her song sucks — a lot of songs suck — it’s that this company is trying to force YouTube stardom.

Ark Music Factory is a revolutionary type of record label. It’s not looking for the next Grammy winner or chart-topper, it’s looking for the next artist who can gain a million views on YouTube in 24 hours. The rise of this type of record company truly shows that times are changing. People don’t even want to be pop stars anymore, they want to be YouTube stars. Oh, and we already knew that Sunday comes after Saturday — thanks.

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