Who is the real Marie Digby?

Who is the real Marie Digby? A rising music star created by posting music videos on YouTube and iTunes or the product of a carefully planned campaign by a Major Record Label? The answer turns out to be a bit of both.

Marie Digby, you may have heard her song ‘Umbrella‘ (opens in iTunes), was signed by Hollywood Records (a Disney label) in 2005 with the idea of using social media tools to build her career. After a lot of work, music videos, and social networking, Digby built herself a large and loyal fan base. Her mistake was waiting until that point to announce that she had been signed by Hollywood Records. Now, many of her fans feel burnt, and rightly so, since Digby and her label violated their trust.

So much about music is an emotional connection with the material. That’s just not going to happen if in the back of your head you remember this incident. For instance, is her "Ugly Betty" song truly a heartfelt creation or deliberate cross promotion (or in Disney speak ‘Synergy’).

This is very similar to the LonelyGirl15 scenario which recently ended with her character being ritually sacrificed to appease fans. But at least the show still had fans. Digby and her record label need to do some damage control here and perhaps her career can be saved.

Frankly, I had been hearing a small bit of buzz surrounding Marie Digby the last few months. Her music isn’t necessarily that original, but she has budding talent that is well represented in her music videos. I hope she’s able to over come this serious faux pas and build a long career.

For more on this read "Church of the Customer", the Wall Street Journal article where the lie was revealed, and Digby’s response to that article. BuzzFeed is also tracking this story.

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7 Responses to Who is the real Marie Digby?

  1. otto says:

    Why would fans feel like they were burnt? They don’t want Digby’s CDs to have world wide appeal … they want her songs for themselves? With the cost of putting a CD out – the label wants to make sure there is an audience for it. Book publishers do it all the time. Her fans feel violated? Would they feel better if Digby’s music wasn’t available to enjoy at all? Judging from her videos – she appears to sing and play instruments “live” which is more than I can say for other successful Hollywood Records acts.

  2. hozeyzachary says:

    100% in total agreement with OTTO. If the “FANS” want Marie Digby to see her album being sold worldwide, they the “FANS” must not be so immature and selfish. A good support from the “FANS” is what she needs NOT
    bombarding her for some naively rubbish comments and out of this world stupid feeling of violated trust! Come on people, if you’re a good “FAN”, show some support, the right way.
    I, as a “FAN” and all of the others from Asia, would like to say, ALL THE BEST TO MARIE DIGBY AND MAY YOU HAVE A BRIGHTER FUTURE. WE HOPE TO SEE YOU ONE DAY HERE IN ASIA!

  3. kit says:

    who posted this stupid article anyway?
    marie digby rocks so, if you think she’s not good enough to have “FANS”, why dont you make your own music video, post it on youtube then wait for comments. who knows, hollywood record agents might spot you. haha.

  4. Kit,

    I think you have the order of events confused. She had the record label and then started posted videos. She wasn’t discovered on YouTube, it was a ruse to get fans to think she was fan discovered when really it was just a brilliant marketing plan.

    In the end, her music and talent should stand on its own. So she has a good chance at continued success. But the lesson is internet users have a long memory and will ferret out every deception eventually. So basing your marketing plan on deception is probably not a very good business plan.

  5. Basil says:

    Doesn’t anyone remember that she won that Pantiene (I forgot how to spell it) Pro-Voice thing a few years ago? That’s how I learned about her. She’s been around a little while and she was not discovered because of YouTube. That’s like a hobby and way to get her new stuff out. She’s got so many loyal fans out there, why would we feel “burnt”?

  6. Bill Hallahan says:

    John from thedisneyblog.com,

    The Wall Street Journal article was wrong. Dead wrong. First, it contained errors of fact. The article, using the term, “feigning amateur status” attempted to disparage Marie Digby, however, the facts are on her side.

    The only substantative thing in that article was the Marie Digby was supposedly listed as unsigned on her MySpace site.

    However, she had joined MySpace in 2004, roughly 2 years before she was signed, and she merely didn’t bother to update a setting that she’s probably forgotten even existed. I joined a MySpace music page, and it could even be missed when first signing up!

    The Wall Street Journal article also listed a post in one of the topics, citing it as being typical, when, in fact, the post was not only atypical, but the vast majority of posts were positive.

    And, the term “feigning amateur status”, used in the WSJ article is ridiculous. Read Marie Dibgy’s blog entry on this. It just takes a web search. Marie Digby had been signed for many months when she posted her first video, and there was no indication that her CD was ever going to be released at that point, so, there would be no reason to announce she was already signed. She never lied.

    In fact, I would say, given the factual error, and the complete lack of research, the Wall Street Journal reporters who covered this were “feigning professional status,” however, that might be a bit harsh. After all, there is a special term, “Investigative Journalist!”

    The reporters talked to Marie Digby for an hour, but they never asked the questions that would have cleared this up. Instead, they took her 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.

    In most of her videos, she didn’t speak unless singing. Her personal business, quite frankly, was, and is, her business.

    I gather her family is rather well off. She never mentioned that in her videos either. I wouldn’t say she was, “feigning middle class status,” because of that, but I’m sure that some people would.

  7. Bill Hallahan says:

    I have since found more information regarding this topic:

    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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