Friday, September 7, 2007

Is Big Biz manipulating you on the Web? Meet Digby, figurative sister to LonelyGirl15

Marié Digby came across as a budding musician, naïve in the ways of the music world. Her apparently ‘homespun’ performances have been viewed more than 2.3 million times on YouTube, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Imagine all those other budding musicians who, hearts full of goodwill, cheered Digby’s success in signing with a major record label. Imagine all those same budding musicians’ emotional responses when they learned Digby’s innocence was carefully marketed. She actually signed with Hollywood Records in 2005. Echoes of LonelyGirl15 should be sounding in your psyche right about now.

It should come as no surprise that the Web, considered for so long by writers, artists, musicians and others as a frontier where all have an equal playing field, is being utilized as a resource by big business. It was only a matter of time. I listened to a publishing agent at a conference recently as he described the use of MySpace and viral emails to promote a forthcoming title. And there’ve been many articles about writers reviewing their own titles, under a pseudonym of course, on sites like

Most of us like to think the person we read about or admire is exactly who we believe him or her to be. Truth is, in life as on the Web, that may not always be the case. The best tactic is to think for yourself rather than buying into talent just because others have. A certain bias is created in group adulation, and it works in favor of the person seeking your admiration. Sites like YouTube and MySpace are an advertiser’s dream—a low budget path to big budget profit. It should come as no surprise that big commercial outfits, just like those of us in our own small corners on the Web, have come to see the light.

As for Digby, she makes me think of Britney Spears for some reason.

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