Wall Street Journal Exposes MariÃ© Digby
The Wall Street Journal did an amazing job of unearthing the real story behind YouTube music sensation MariÃ© Digby in a brilliant exposÃ©. Writers Ethan Smith and Peter Lattman pulled no punches in investigating how Hollywood Records manufactured Diby’s grassroots campaign and coached her to lie to reporters about “being discovered on YouTube.”
According to the Journal, Hollywood’s well-crafted, promotional campaign falsely portrayed 24-year-old MariÃ© Digby as just a girl who posted a song of her singing an acoustic version of “Umbrella” by Rihanna on YouTube, and became a phenomenon overnight.
“What her legions of fans don’t realize, however, is that Ms. Digby’s career demonstrates something else: that traditional media conglomerates are going to new lengths to take advantage of the Internet’s ability to generate word-of-mouth buzz,” reveals the Journal.
“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 Journal article continues.
However, the worst part of this ruse, is that Digby has gone along and is now “living the lie.”
In an August 16 posting on her MySpace blog, Digby stated: “I NEVER in a million years thought that doing my little video of Umbrella in my living room would lead to this . tv shows, itunes, etc !!!”
According to some of the comments on her YouTube pages, this has seriously damaged her reputation and has alienated some fans Hollywood Records worked so hard to fool. But many of the aficionados who haven’t read the Journal’s article don’t care, and continue to post accolades.
Digby’s cover version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” was recently included in an episode of “The Hills” and generated a number of other radio and television appearances. A high-quality studio version of her acoustic take on “Umbrella” was distributed to radio stations, and was the clue that triggered Smith and Lattman to begin their investigation.
Digby quickly defended herself on her MySpace blog, and accused the Journal’s writers putting a negative spin on the whole debacle, but in reality it only makes her look worse. “What hurts the most is that this loser took every genuine thing I said and made it sound like I am acting, that this whole thing is scripted,” Digby vented. “The dude is desperate to be onto the next ‘lonely girl’ or whatever,” the artist bathered on. The “lonely girl” call out refers to the fake lonelygirl15 blog posts that were professionally created by a management agency and posted on YouTube. Like Digby, LonelyGirl15 was hugely popular until the concocted series of posts were exposed.
The Future: The jig is up for Digby, but the question remains if the unveiling will hurt her new career or give it a boost. Due to the article’s popularity, there is significantly more awareness for Digby, and that can never be a bad thing.
The real takeaway is that Hollywood Records is at least trying to spark sales by attempting to pull the strings behind the curtain that is the ‘net â€” where anybody can be anything. The problem is that Everyone pays attention to the man behind the curtain in the online world, something that the marketing team at Hollywood has failed to realize despite the plethora of Gossip sites.