Thursday, September 06, 2007

What's wrong with what Marie Digby did?

No, she wasn't caught partying with Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan. She wasn't arrested or sent to rehab.

As described in a front-page article in today's Wall Street Journal (link - $$), musician Marie Digby made simple videos of herself singing cover songs, posted them on YouTube, got millions of views, and parlayed that into gigs on the Carson Daly show, local LA radio, and general buzz as a true YouTube discovery.

Oh, and she made an album with Hollywood Records (part of Disney) last year that is about to be released. The YouTube idea and the TV and radio appearances were done with the approval and assistance of marketing at Hollywood Records.

Oops.

Like any such situation, the coverup is far worse than the initial offense. So she was signed to a major label. So what? She made the videos herself, posted them herself. People found the videos themselves, played them, recommended them, etc. The YouTube buzz was legitimate.

So what didn't she do right? She didn't list her affiliation with a major label on her MySpace page. Not so bad, given that she hadn't yet released an album.

Worse was the way she tried to erase the Hollywood Records connection. Here's are examples from the Journal article:

When Los Angeles adult-contemporary station KYSR-FM, which calls itself "Star 98.7," interviewed Ms. Digby in July, she and the disc jockey discussed her surprising success. "We kind of found her on YouTube," the DJ, known as Valentine, said. Playing the lucky nobody, Ms. Digby said: "I'm usually the listener calling in, you know, just hoping that I'm going to be the one to get that last ticket to the Star Lounge with [pop star] John Mayer!"

and

Ms. Digby gave a backstage interview that was posted online by NBC. "I just did this YouTube video two months ago and never, ever imagined that it would actually get me on TV or radio or anything like that," she said. "I just did it in my living room and it blew up first on YouTube and then I guess it got to Star 98.7 and then Carson Daly found me so that's why I'm here."


Now it's not just Marie Digby. I'm certain the marketing folks at Hollywood, and her manager, were deeply involved in preparing her for the appearances, including rehearsing what she would say.

And the radio hosts and Carson Daly could easily have pointed out that Hollywood Records saw the same things in Marie that the viewers saw, and that she's recorded an album to be released soon. But instead they played along with the "YouTube discovery" story and in so doing share part of the blame.

As best I can figure, Hollywood Records either fell in love with the story, even if it wasn't completely true, or they were concerned that people finding out about their connection would be a buzz kill. In either case, they got in their own way.

So, a plea: media companies (really, all marketers), learn from your mistakes. Stop trying to manipulate audiences! It doesn't work anymore! Use YouTube and all these new outlets to allow people to discover new artists, but for God's sake have enough confidence and integrity to stand up and reveal that you've also made that discovery.

Then show them where to buy the songs.

(And now to demonstrate that there's no such thing as bad publicity, here's Marie Digby's most popular video. It's pretty good.)



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you listen to the August 2 interview of Marie with star 98.7 she does say that she is signed and is working on her album. And a simple search of her name on google would lead you to numerous articles (prior to the WSJ comin out with their "expose") that mention she is signed to hollywood records. I see no deception...

Anonymous said...

It is rather funny seeing people that don't know Marie' aautomatically accuse her of being a fraud because of what a publication said. Such BS.

Anonymous said...

What's really sad is all these bloggers who are jumping into the fray and citing only the wsj article and not any actual new facts or even corroboration from any additional sources. The wsj author never mentions where he got the info about all of this being planned... other than the obvious place, his head.

What's even worse is the use of quotes that do not support your arguments, the whole "trying to erase her connection" thing just doesn't work with those quotes... no where does she say she's unsigned or that she has no connection to any record label. /em sigh

Stop using other rehashing bad information for your own benefit.

Anonymous said...

ditto allthree above comments. but you know what, this is just more publicity for her and people can search to make their own judgement of her talent. thanks for writing this article about her again and again and again... she will certainly benefit more from this due to her own talents. many thanks!

John Caddell said...

While I don't agree with everything the commenters wrote, I certainly agree with the last "anonymous" who wrote that Marie Digby's career will be helped by the publicity generated by the WSJ article. And she is talented.

Publicity is a good thing for an artist, and almost all "bad" publicity is as good as, and in some cases better than, raves.

Bill Hallahan said...

The Wall Street Journal got this story wrong.

Marie Digby herself says the idea of using youtube was entirely her own, and the timing of her videos coincides with her story.

Note also, the Wall Street Journal article contained factual errors. The post they cited as typical was not representative of what the vast majority of people in the topic. Most were thrilled for Marie.

Marie Digby never lied. There is no comparison to the lonelygirl case, and by the way, she didn't lie either, at least not as far as I have seen.

It always struck me that there is a special term in journalism, i.e. "Investigative journalism."

Here's the other, more accurate side of the story in Marie Digby's own words.

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=4165438&blogID=307265009

John Caddell said...

Bill, thanks for your feedback. You left a larger rebuttal on my blog over at pennlive.com. I need to ask you the question I asked there: do you have any affiliation with Marie Digby, her management or her record label?

Thanks, John

Bill Hallahan said...

I found Marie Dibgy on youtube, liked her music, and purchased her CD. I then found the Wall Street Journal article, did some research, and then posted the refutation.

I have no affiliation at all with her management, or her record label. I have since contacted Marie Digby at her MySpace site, and posted similar comments to the above in her blog, with the idea that others could post the refutation at any site I missed. This was after I posted the Wall Street Journal article refutation at many sites.

Thanks for asking John, I should have written that in my statement before.

Bill Hallahan said...

I found Marie Dibgy on youtube, liked her music, and purchased her CD. I then found the Wall Street Journal article, did some research, and then posted the refutation.

I have no affiliation at all with her management, or her record label. I have since contacted Marie Digby at her MySpace site, and posted similar comments to the above in her blog, with the idea that others could post the refutation at any site I missed. This was after I posted the Wall Street Journal article refutation at many sites.

Thanks for asking John, I should have written that in my statement before.