Faking “viral” success is now a tactic that media companies are using according to this piece at the WSJ.
A 24-year-old singer and guitarist named MariÃ© Digby has been hailed as proof that the Internet is transforming the world of entertainment. What her legions of fans don’t realize, however, is that Ms. Digby’s career demonstrates something else: that traditional media conglomerates are going to new lengths to take advantage of the Internet’s ability to generate word-of-mouth buzz.
Summary: Video of chick signing on YouTube gets millions of views. Agency claims that they signed her because of it, but in reality, they had signed her before the videos were made, so they’re using the “hotness” of the YouTube story angle to generate PR. I’m not sure I blame them really though.
The fact that a big company supported Ms. Digby’s ruse reflects how dearly media giants want in on the viral revolution that’s changing how young consumers learn about new entertainment — even if it means a tiny bit of sleight-of-hand. It also reflects how difficult it is for new recording artists to get noticed now that young fans are paying more attention to Web sites such as Google Inc.’s YouTube and News Corp.’s MySpace than to traditional media like commercial radio.