YouTube Phenom Marie Digby – WOM Success or Burning Bridges

She’s not the first one, and certainly won’t be the last, but how does this successful manipulation of the whole WOM chain of communication feel to those who believed in her?  Seems like a few successes like this one quickly use up the core value of WOM (honesty) pretty quickly.  Burning  Bridges anyone?

Download This: YouTube Phenom Has a Big Secret – WSJ.com

“Ms. Digby’s simple, homemade music videos of her performing popular songs have been viewed more than 2.3 million times on YouTube. Her acoustic-guitar rendition of the R&B hit “Umbrella” has been featured on MTV’s program “The Hills” and is played regularly on radio stations in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Portland, Ore. Capping the frenzy, 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.”

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2 Responses to YouTube Phenom Marie Digby – WOM Success or Burning Bridges

  1. Bill Hallahan says:

    The Wall Street Journal got this story wrong.

    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. That in itself shows an agenda. The posts are still there, and while it might take some time to find the post they cited, it’s very clear the WSJ reporters misrepresented the actual situation.

    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

  2. Bill Hallahan says:

    I now have done much more research, which clearly shows the Wall Street Journal reporters made errors. Here’s what I’ve written since then.

    The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article was wrong about Marié Digby, and there is evidence to show that. Marié Digby never lied. To anyone who followed her videos, it’s obvious that Marié 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. Note, her CD didn’t come out until approximately 2 years after she was signed, and approximately 4 years after she joined MySpace.
    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.”
    —–
    Makes sense to me. There is no point in naming a record label when there is no indication they are going to release your CD. And, given that, who she was signed with has just as little relevance as that she was signed. (Note, the CD, titled “Unfold” finally came out on April 8, 2008. Buy it, it’s wonderful).

    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. Marié Digby posted music videos, and expressed enthusiasm, and hope. She was largely unknown outside of Los Angeles.

    Marié Digby has posted that a Wall Street reporter talked to Marié 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 Marié Digby’s family is rather well off. She never mentioned that in her videos either. I wouldn’t say she was, “feigning middle class status,” but I’m sure some people would! Sad!

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