Rebecca Black looks to move beyond "Friday"

Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:30pm EDT
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By Gail Mitchell and Glenn Peoples

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - News flash for the legions of online haters poking fun at Rebecca Black: We probably haven't heard the last of the YouTube phenomenon.

Black, 13, has been in the eye of a media hurricane thanks to the viral spread of her party song "Friday," which had racked up a mind-boggling 44 million views on YouTube at press time-compared with 24.5 million views for the video of Lady Gaga's Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper "Born This Way."

"Friday," which was written and produced by Ark Music Factory of Los Angeles, has been ridiculed mercilessly in the mainstream press and the blogosphere as a cheesy joke.

But Black may wind up having the last laugh.

After generating first-week U.S. digital track sales of 37,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, "Friday" debuts this week at No. 72 on the Hot 100. And the eighth grader has made appearances on "Good Morning America" and "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" demonstrating admirable poise and a sweet appeal.

Meanwhile, Black and her family have been plotting her next move, hiring a lawyer, a publicist and, perhaps most tellingly, a manager -- John McEntee, president of TEI Entertainment in Anaheim, Calif. TEI provides headliners for corporate events held by Fortune 500 companies, but McEntee says he took on management responsibilities independent of his company.

In the span of a week, McEntee's team registered the URL through and built a Web site with all the requisite trappings of an artist home page, including a brief bio, photos and embedded videoclips of her "Tonight Show" appearance, her "Friday" video, an iTunes link to buy the single and an invitation to join her fan club.

"Record labels have been contacting myself and Ark Music directly about Rebecca," McEntee says, declining to disclose names. "There is definitely interest from real record labels. They've found out she can sing. With all this exposure, we're looking at her coming out with more songs and an album. We've been getting submissions from a lot of fantastic songwriters. That's a good sign."   Continued...