Internet amateur actually had big label deal

image Marie Digby has been one of YouTube's greatest stars. She started posting videos of herself performing covers of popular songs. Just her sitting in front of the camera, singing away and playing the guitar. Soon her videos were getting millions of page views, and her popularity allowed her to get a track on iTunes.

This success endeared her to the internet, who saw her as one of their own. She was a real talent who had succeeded on the strength of her ability alone. She wasn't one of those creations of the recording industry's hype machine.

But an article in the Wall Street Journal reveals that she actually was a creation of the recording industry all along.
a press release last week from Walt Disney Co.'s Hollywood Records label declared: "Breakthrough YouTube Phenomenon Marié Digby Signs With Hollywood Records." What the release failed to mention is that Hollywood Records signed Ms. Digby in 2005, 18 months before she became a YouTube phenomenon. Hollywood Records helped devise her Internet strategy, consulted with her on the type of songs she chose to post, and distributed a high-quality studio recording of "Umbrella" to iTunes and radio stations.

The record label devised the strategy of building buzz by posting amateur-style videos of her on YouTube, and her connection with the record label was hidden or downplayed.

Marie Digby, in response to the article, has apparently been claiming that she never hid her connection with Hollywood Records, but from the quotations in the article, it certainly appears as if she constantly presented herself as a "lucky nobody" who just posted some videos online and then got noticed.

Well, at least it was really her singing in the videos. (Thanks, Bob!)


Posted on Fri Sep 07, 2007


Not the first time this has happened, and it wont be the last.
There were 3 other incidents that i know of, including a recent one of a model for a porn site.
It's a way to advertise without spending any money and relying on buzz, and ratings. I believe the name "LonelyGirl" rings a bell as being the biggest one to pull off this sort of thing.

Ironically enough, the recording industry dislikes youtube for many reasons.
Posted by River Styx  in  USA  on  Fri Sep 07, 2007  at  01:11 PM
And prior to the internet other emans were used, such as packing the music hall / theater with paid attendees, getiing someone to faint at the singers music, etc. I'm thinkign the famous stunts pulled to make Sinatra famous many decades ago but there were other. Including the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" and others I can't remember right now.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Fri Sep 07, 2007  at  02:16 PM
Christopher, you mean to tell me you think a member of the Jackson family would be involved in a HOAX???

I for one am shocked. SHOCKED, I say.

Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Sep 08, 2007  at  03:28 AM
I believe it all originally started with the gomlisch effect, used by boybands (I assume thats a real word, i heard it on south park).
All they do is make music videos that have girls screaming, which make other girls scream. The singers/dancers dont have anything to offer: They're not talented, they don't play instruments and they sure didn't write their own songs. They rely on social networking and people to do what they see other people doing.
What the industry did since then is take it one step further and rely on Hits and ratings to generate buzz (Obviously if 2 million people saw this video, id be an idiot not to, right?), and thats how they've been doing it. The best way is to skew the hit counters and mess with google results..And they dont have to spend a dime of actual money to do so. Then they convince a few major sites/magazines to run a short article, and before you know it, they're selling records and then they can make buzz on their own and report them as a "Internet Superstar who was still living in her van while singing at redneck bars".
The problem is it doesn't work because they always get caught in the end and then everyone feels insulted and is less likely to give a shit then before.

Hey Alex, why dont you do an article on pop bands, they're the biggest hoax thats still in effect for over 50 years now. Start with the beatles, then work your way to new kids on the block, milli vanilli, vanilla ice, britney and n-sync. jessica and ashley simpson and michael jackson deserve a mention too.
Posted by River Styx  in  USA  on  Sat Sep 08, 2007  at  12:04 PM
The Wall Street Journal article was wrong about Marie Digby. There was no deception, and Marie Digby never lied. By all appearances, Marie Digby has always been herself.

The article stated:
"Ms. Digby's MySpace and YouTube pages don't mention Hollywood Records. Until last week, a box marked "Type of Label" on her MySpace Music page said, "None."
However, she had joined MySpace in 2004, roughly 2 years before she was signed, and she merely didn't bother to update a setting, and she'd probably forgotten that setting even existed. I signed up for a MySpace music page, and it could even be missed when first signing up. And, since months after she recorded her CD, there was no indication it was ever going to be released, I wouldn't expect that it would even cross her mind to change her status to signed, even if she was still aware of that setting.
The article went on to state:
"After inquiries from The Wall Street Journal, the entry was changed to "Major," though the label still is not named."
Why name a record label when there is no indication they are going to release your CD? (Note, the CD, titled "Unfold", finally came out on April 8, 2008. Buy it, it's great).

The Wall Street Journal article also contained:
'Most of Ms. Digby's new fans seem pleased to believe that they discovered an underground sensation.
In fact, the vast majority of the posts were about her music, and not about "discovering" her. For most of us viewers, a huge number of people had already seen her videos when we found her, which were posted long before the WSJ article, so we could hardly claim to have 'discovered her.'

The term "feigning amateur status", used in the WSJ article is completely ridiculous.

Consider the following quote in the article, with the subtitle, "The Lucky Nobody".
Marie Digby has posted that a Wall Street reporter talked to Marie Digby for about an hour, but they never asked the questions that would have cleared this up. Instead, they took one response, which merely meant that her signed status wasn't relevant to her goals (and frankly, would have seemed ridiculous in the videos), as meaning she was hiding it.

There were radio station interviews, before the WSJ article, where she mentioned being signed. If she were hiding it, she would have hid it there too.

I gather Marie Digby's family is rather well off. She never mentioned that in her videos either. I wouldn
Posted by Bill Hallahan  in  New Hampshire  on  Fri Jul 18, 2008  at  10:34 AM
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