$2.99 to Watch 'Friday'? Paywall Experiment Backfires
By Marc Schneider Posted Jun 13th 2011 05:03PM
UPDATE 6:10 | Internet Wins! 'Friday' is back to being totally free to enjoy. We'll update if/when we get to the bottom of this experiment gone awry.
UPDATE 5:16 | The video that started a thousand memes has been removed entirely.
Gotta make your mind up. People have clicked "play" on Rebecca Black's 'Friday' video over 165 million times. That's half the U.S. population joining the California teen in "looking for-ward to the wee-eek-end." All for free. Now, when one reaches the video, uploaded by "trizzy66," they are given 1:54 worth of the infectious stink bomb before being prompted to pay nearly three bones for the rest. Pay up, it says, and playback begins immediately. "You will be able to watch this video for 72 hours."
Yes, for $2.99, you aren't getting unlimited access to "fun, fun, fun, fun" -- just renting for three days. That won't even get you to this Friday. Since 13-year-olds don't normally make these kinds of financial decisions, we've reached out to the producers and uploaders of the track, Ark Music Factory, for comment. And since Black has reportedly broken ties with Ark, we have also reached out to her rep.
First and foremost on our minds, did the RB sign off on this?
In a few short hours since the Internets caught whiff of this pay-to-play move, the response has been ... hilarious. "I think, literally, you have found the moment where the Internet is officially over," wrote one commenter on Reddit. "I heard it is because she gets naked at the 1:55 mark," wrote another.
It's also become clear that users in countries other than the United States do not yet have access to 'Friday.' Many "fans" are complaining of getting this message: "This rental is currently unavailable in your country. Sorry about that."
Back in April, Black and her mother threatened Ark Music Factory with a lawsuit, alleging they never gave them master copies of the recording and were selling an unauthorized ringtone of the song. The family has since cut ties with Ark, but the YouTube video for her song appears to belong to the producers.
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