Sep 6, 2007

More CGC Done By Ps, not Cs

Professionals, that is.

It seems that “amateur” singing sensation Marié Digby, whose YouTube performances have logged her millions of hits and airplay on MTV and numerous radio stations, is a big fat fraud.

Today’s Wall Street Journal, in a very nice piece of investigative journalism by Ethan Smith and Peter Lattman, uncovers the fact that Digby has been under contract with Hollywood Records since 2005, and that the record label was instrumental in selecting and recording her YouTube appearances.

It was, to give credit where it’s due, a clever approach. Digby, an exotic looking acoustic singer of Irish and Japanese heritage, is shot in her bedroom, strumming on her guitar, as if she were just some girl next door whose boyfriend put video of her up on the internet. Her MySpace music site had a great big “none” next to “Record Label” until the Journal outed her. (Though, as Messrs. Smith and Lattman point out, it’s now only reads “Major.”)

I’ve pointed out on here time and again that there’s not really a whole lot of “user” or “consumer” generated content out there. Most entrants in “make your own commercial” contests are wannabe directors/actors/creatives in search of an agent or a job.

Digby and Hollywood Records are only guilty of taking it to the next level, of using our constant craving for the “next next thing*” to launch her career. Digby is ideally suited to this sort of scam, since her shtick is all about a stripped down, no-frills approach that sounds like, well, like a girl in her bedroom playing for her friends.
They just bottled it and put it on YouTube.

*Props to Michael Lewis for that phrase.


Anonymous said...

‘User-generated’ is the equivalent of ‘near-miss.’ It only sounds like it means more than it does.

What does the user generate in terms of true original material anyway? They’re already behind the 8-ball because their starting point is what the brand gives them to work with.

I’m fine with consumers submitting funky ads, but I can't pretend that they now have total control over how I develop, produce and sell my product. Input? yes. Total control? No.

Where was I. Oh yeah. Screw the label for getting one by on fans. IÆd be pissed if that was my favorite artist. There’s plenty of other stripped-down angst out there to listen to.

Anonymous said...

This just makes no sense to me. There is NO way to hide this type of thing in a digital world and the press/blogosphere is looking for martyrs.

What I really don't get is there is no need to lie like this. She's still young, struggling, undiscovered, etc. She may be on a label, but she's far from mainstream. Why not use this as an authentic venue to display her talent and gain traction to go to her label? It's baffling to me.

RFB said...

off topic - but the picture reminds me of my failed search to find a "Wall Strret Journal" Photoshop filter.

They still do those drawings by hand.

Alan Wolk said...

@JetPacks: Yes, a friend of mine had his picture in the Journal and I thought that it was coolest thing-- sort of like having Al Hershfeld do a caricature of you

Anonymous said...

(sorry, posted this erroneously earlier. doh.)

it's called "stippling" that wsj illustration technique. not sure why. it is a major coup though, isn't it. getting one's mug done like that.

user-generated = loser generated. seriously, how unemployed do you have to be to get into that? something important is missing from your life. there have always been brand "freaks". just because they have a camera doesn't make them any less freaky. and their creations still have to be judged by the same people. remember that cgc doritos spot from last year's superbowl. much like a bbdo doritos superbowl spot, wasn't it? hmm...wonder why.

PS: hollywood records is a disney subsidiary.

Anonymous said...

It would seem to me that a wannabe creative still, in many ways, qualifies for being a "C". They're trying to crack into the marketplace.

But what Hollywood Records have done here is violate an unwritten rule. Unfortunately unwritten rules don't mean a damn thing...they're actually collective hopes which turn into perceived standards of how to do things online. I share those hopes but not the idealism.

This will be just one of many so called violations of social media etiquette.

What's more telling is the idea that the recording company could behind the scenes create a lot o buzz...something that the average young singer who is in actuality could not.