Did YouTube singer Marie Digby do anything wrong?

News:  By now, you’ve probably heard about the brouhaha about YouTube singer Marie Digby who posed as an unknown amateur singer on YouTube, even though she has been an unknown professional singer signed by Disney back in 2005 and had Disney handlers helping her all along the way on YouTube.  The Wall Street Journal broke the story on its front page this week, and I’ve summarized the account here.

Analysis:  Several readers have written in with thoughtful comments explaining why the “deception” involved with Marie Digby’s marketing on YouTube was wrong.  I’ve also read other comments on YouTube and the Internet that are quite critical of Digby and Disney. 

OK, I guess I agree with some of these sentiments.  If YouTube sensation Esmee Denters actually had been a professional (signed) singer from the start on YouTube (even though she appeared to be an amateur posting from her bedroom), I would feel duped.   I haven’t followed Marie Digby or her videos enough to know how strongly she gave the appearance of being just an unknown amateur singer.  But if the WSJ article is accurate, then maybe Digby did cross the line.  (I’ll reserve judgment on how far until I see more of the evidence.)

On the other hand, I don’t necessarily see it a bad thing for music labels like Hollywood Records to try to promote unknown singers on YouTube.  Hollywood Records and Ms. Digby will have to face whatever backlash that comes from their PR stunt on YouTube, so maybe the WSJ did us all a service.  (Personally, I’d buy Ms. Digby’s music if I really liked it when it comes out.)  I do still question whether the whole story deserved front page coverage. 

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13 Responses to Did YouTube singer Marie Digby do anything wrong?

  1. jb says:

    Ridcoulous arguement. How can someone pose as an undiscovered artsist, when they are still undiscovered. Im not too bothered, because its just the sort of nonsense that people love to get down with. Even if there had been any false impression- which if you had been following her work pre-hollywood records- then would realise clearly there hadnt been. But regardless of this unfounded debate. What much more important is the Music. And im not just talking “umbrella” Go to the Fan page and check out her original songs. I just did and was jaw to the floor blown away. Its so soooo obvious that such a fine talanted and gifted person, would come to great things. I dont think she really needs to promote anything. This sound kinda promotes its self. I had the pleasure of knowing James Morrison around the time he produced “you give me somthing” (And sorry bout this Jimbo’) But Marie’s rendition has just totally captivated me. There is a fine future ahead for both Marie,..hopefully, doing what she loves (amongst the many things) and for us. To be given the sweet sound and emotion of her music. Im really look forward to seeing more albums in the years ahead.
    To Marie I say- I heard that journalist was recently exposed as being completely out of touch with his subject material, when all the time he’d been posing as some kin of authority, employed by a well known Paper. Wow, I guees that means he’s not a journalist after all. Im so shocked!! What Will we all do???? !!!!

  2. Challenger says:

    For those of you supporting Marie Digby and saying the WSJ article is flawed, disprove these three points:

    Hollywood Records purchased the laptop and software that Marie used.

    Marie Digby recorded “Umbrella” in June in a studio.

    Then on August 2nd, on NBC she says: “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,”
    In addition, on Aug 16th she posted on her blog: “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 !!!”
    Note that this is roughly 3 months after the professional studio recording of “Umbrella.”

    She’s certainly talented, but the WSJ article is not the one lying or deceiving people. In her blog on Sept 9th 2007 she mentions she is “now” working on her Album. She completed her album in 2006!(Source: Wikipedia)

    On her blog in response to the WSJ article she states:
    “that i would have this amazing record which would never see the light of day. Oh, and something else, as many of you have asked me, i STILL don’t know when I get to actually release an album !! I mean, I ‘m hoping that thanks to all of this good stuff lately, that it will get the chance it deserves but i still don’t know for sure.”
    Note that in that section she both implies that she has not done an album and that she has.
    In other words: “Oh look at me, I’m suddenly so popular NOW I’ll start making an Album! Oh look, its done, here you go guys!”

  3. Hyashi says:

    A response to Mr./Ms. Challenger- as daunting as your name sounds, I find your message more of a child’s play than anything that is close to a ‘challenge’.

    First of all, I would like to think that one would have done enough research and have gathered enough facts to proof a point. And by doing research, I don’t mean by pulling a few pointers from Wikipedia, twisting it and claiming it your own.

    “Hollywood Records purchased the laptop and software that Marie used.”

    Where does it say this? And what kind of special tools or software, may I ask, would one need to record a Youtube video besides a cheap Webcam and Windows Movie Maker that comes free with Windows?

    I have every reason to believe that you, sir, are missing the facts and then some.

    “Oh, and something else, as many of you have asked me, i STILL don’t know when I get to actually release an album !!” — This, sir, was only a small part of her blog entry that responded to the Wall Street Journal article. Instead, she said that never lied about being signed to Hollywood Records and has stated that her videos were her own “desperate” response to a lack of promotion.

    The fact is, Marie has been signed with Hollywood labels for quite a while now but her work hardly received any attention. She commented that she was “stranded” because her talent and creativity were buried. Posting Youtube videos were a way of reaching out to the world about what she can do, and clearly, she has impressed and touched a lot of people because we can relate to her music and the song she writes about her experiences and then some. If she wasn’t talented to begin with, why would anyone be interested in listening to her sing in the first place?

  4. janice says:

    Response to Challenger-
    So what if Marie recieved 3 or 6 or 8 months of training~ whatever! She’s made it! and u havent! The lady is talented, sweet and just as nice as it could get. You must be so mighty jealous of her talent that is paying off right now. Grow up and stop arguing about what, how and when- U tube s a place for starters, losers, winners everyone!

  5. randy smothers says:

    I agree with Challenger. In response to what Hyashi said about it being Marie’s own idea as a “desperate response” to lack of promotion, I have to laugh. Did you read the WSJ article? The YouTube videos WERE her promotion. It was the idea of the record label and the marketing people employed by it… This girl is pretty good, but saying she is sweet and and nice as it could get is king of out there. You don’t know her . I find it hard to believe that a genuinely decent person would go along with such a sham and decieve the public to get money and fame.

  6. ernest says:

    i just love marie..leave her alone you envious evil!

  7. Steve says:

    Marie is an amazing singer and woman and i hate when people try to run her name through the mud. i think this article or blog someone wrote is stupid. 3 things

    First: Get a life

    Secound: Get your damn facts straight before you make your self look stupid

    Thrid: Challenger get a life.

  8. Steve says:

    sorry i never mean to offend the writer of this blog you rock but i just hate when peoples good names start to get runied by people you hate on her.

  9. Sam says:

    Some people are jealous of others. They have to make other people look bad so they can feel good about themselves. Mr. Challenger is obviously one of them. These are the people that have subscriptions to all tabloid magazines so they can read negative comments about the celebrities.
    I’m glad she posted her video on Youtube. I’ve would not have found her music. Now I am a big fan of Marie Digby.

  10. kate says:

    for those of you that are Marie fans..there’s a new interview with her discussing talent and the internet … and much more!

    (i can’t post the URL tho..)

    so.. google “uncensored interview.com” and you’ll find the interview 😉

  11. Bill Hallahan says:

    Correction, they are ‘signed’ before their record is out, however, it just doesn’t mean all that much.

  12. Bill Hallahan says:

    Challenger, you ask some fair questions, and I’ll try to address them with facts. Suffice to say, some will see a conspiracy even when there is none.

    Challenger wrote:
    ———-
    For those of you supporting Marie Digby and saying the WSJ article is flawed, disprove these three points:

    Hollywood Records purchased the laptop and software that Marie used.
    ———-
    Yes, and Marie Digby even posted about that. However, that’s not the question.
    First, the recording industry purchases laptops for many (all?) artists. There are lots of uses for a laptop. Many of the artists did not use the to post videos on youtube. They all might now, but they clearly did not before.

    Marie Digby stated it was her idea to post videos on youtube. The recording executives stated it was her idea. And, read the sequence of events. It was not clear her album was going to be released, and it was a long time after she recorded it that she started posting songs. There is no evidence that her story isn’t true.

    Challenger wrote:
    ———-
    Marie Digby recorded “Umbrella” in June in a studio.
    ———-
    I’m not sure what the month was, however, again, that isn’t relevant. She posted the Umbrella video on May 29, 2007.

    Note, she recorded lots of songs the year before that. Nothing was happening, and she was clearly concerned she was not going to be promoted, as happens to many artists.

    Challenger wrote:
    ———-
    Then on August 2nd, on NBC she says: “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,”
    ———-
    Carson Daly said he found her on youtube. So did the DJ at Star 98.7 in Los Angeles. I found Marie Digby on youtube. (I am curious where you found her?) In any event, if those stories aren’t true, then Marie Digby isn’t the person who is lying!

    Challenger wrote:
    ———-
    In addition, on Aug 16th she posted on her blog: “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 !!!”
    ———-
    First, one has to parse an expression of enthusiasm, versus trying to be factual. Marie Digby also used the expression “110 percent” in an interview. Of course, that makes no sense, but I wouldn’t call it a lie. In any event, she is absolutely correct if she asserts that her youtube videos are what initially made her famous. Even after her album has been released, people still have continued to find her there. And, I doubt very much Marie Digby would have been on television without youtube.

    Challenger wrote:
    ———-
    On her blog in response to the WSJ article she states:
    “that i would have this amazing record which would never see the light of day. Oh, and something else, as many of you have asked me, i STILL don’t know when I get to actually release an album !! I mean, I ‘m hoping that thanks to all of this good stuff lately, that it will get the chance it deserves but i still don’t know for sure.”
    Note that in that section she both implies that she has not done an album and that she has.
    In other words: “Oh look at me, I’m suddenly so popular NOW I’ll start making an Album! Oh look, its done, here you go guys!”
    ———-
    This is a misinterpretation. Clearly she did ‘not’ mean that.

    What she wrote is that “i would have this amazing record which would never see the light of day.

    She did not imply at all that she would start making an album, however, to be clear, there was ‘no’ album at this point available anywhere, and it did not come out for over a year after that.

    The album was not yet made. The music was recorded, and that is all. That’s typically done in from one day, to a few days. Sometimes longer. That’s just the start. Then, the songs have to be chosen, since typically, much more music is recorded than is put on a CD. That was the case here. Then, the artwork has to be done, the little booklet that goes into the CD has to be written, the promotional plan, and more.

    What Marie Digby clearly means is that she feared her CD would either be dropped, as does sometimes happen, or it would be released with absolutely no promotion, as happens very often. Only certain artists get promoted, widely advertised, booked on shows, and sent on tours.

    Now, for the errors in the Wall Street Journal article:
    ———-

    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!

  13. nitin says:

    i love your songs marie….this is nitin from india…..you really rock

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