At some point over the past few months, someone may have sent you this YouTube of a pretty girl covering “Umbrella” in her living room, on an acoustic, seemingly DIY. Slowly, that clip (and others) got Marié Digby placement on The Hills, on FM radio, on Carson Daly. And every step of the way, she’s been all “OMG! I just turned on my iMovie and look at me now! Yay YouTube!”
Except, she’s full of shit! Yay YouTube! Or more accurately, yay for shrewd dudes who’ve learned how to capitalize on the assumption of do-it-yourself authenticity created by Web 2.0.
Turns out Marié’s been signed to Hollywood Records since ’05. They bought her Apple laptop and video editing software. They delivered high-quality versions of her YouTube covers to iTunes and radio. They booked her Carson appearance. And all along in interviews she played the “aww shucks can you believe my luck/look at little ol’ me!” card, while her MySpace made no mention of her major label status. Until the Wall Street Journal came a knockin’…
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.” After inquiries from The Wall Street Journal, the entry was changed to “Major,” though the label still is not named.
The artist and her label say there’s nothing untoward about the campaign. In interviews, Ms. Digby and executives at the company describe her three-month string of successes as part of a lengthy process of laying the groundwork for the upcoming release of her debut album.
Ms. Digby says she doesn’t mention her record label on her Web sites because “I didn’t feel like it was something that was going to make people like me.”
Lying to make people like you is always a good play. Didn’t come back to bite LonelyGirl15 in the ass right? Views were … oh wait, they went to shit didn’t they. Then again, even though the show sorta sank (who’s psyched for season two?!) — and unsurprisingly — Jessica Rose is getting work. So is Digby going down? Who knows. But when this is the best plan record labels have for success in the face of a collapsing industry, it’s no wonder empty lip-service to music biz paradigm shifts seems like such a revelation.