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.