Having 'the worst song of all time' is great news for 12-year-old Alison Gold
Critics have dubbed Alison Gold's pop debut Chinese Food the "worst song of all time", but the 12-year-old American isn't upset - it's what she intended.
Rather than a record label, her hit was contrived by Ark Music Factory, which gives singers a shortcut to fame by releasing tracks it thinks are good enough to get stuck in your head and bad enough to go viral on YouTube.
The company first hit headlines in 2011, when the parents of American teen Rebecca Black paid US$4,000 for her now-infamous hit Friday.
Like Chinese Food, critics hated it but it gathered 200 million hits on YouTube - TV appearances and even death threats followed.
Patrice Wilson, the man behind both hits, says: "I wanted to open a platform to young artists wanting to get discovered. I realised I could do it via the online community."
Black, he says, showed him that "people love to hate". The video gave him a formula for success: an infectious but inane song and video with a simple storyline.
As a business model, Wilson says it takes about 10 million clicks to bring in enough ad revenue to match the outlay on a video, and about 200 million clicks to make big bucks. The reputation an artist gains from going viral is far more bankable.
Black's star has waned, but Wilson hopes Gold will have staying power. "In today's YouTube world they need a good look, personality and an above average voice."
He auditioned Gold and says her parents did not pay for the video. He's confident that revenue from YouTube clicks and later song sales will yield decent returns. And not a cent has been spent on advertising.
Gold, who has had 10 million hits on YouTube, has already shot the follow-up. She believes her fame was no fluke - Wilson's help was crucial.
"You've got more chance of being discovered on X Factor than a video blowing up out of nowhere," she says.