Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Hollywood Lies Again! Also Just In: Birds Fly, Fish Swim.

Have we learned nothing from the sham that is LonelyGirl15 on MySpace?

If not, don’t miss this story in The Wall Street Journal today about a 24-year-old guitar-strumming singer named Marié Digby, whose fans on YouTube thought her an authentic, bubble-up amateur.

Uh-oh, she has turned out to be more of a creation of a Hollywood recording company–specifically, Hollywood Records.

The Disney label, for example, pretended it had just signed her last week and called her a “Breakthrough YouTube Phenomenon,” even though that happened in 2005. Since then, Hollywood Records has been phenoming her secretly, conducting what amounts to a duplicitous, though successful, viral online marketing campaign.

In what is about the most astonishing–OK, appalling–quote, Digby tells the Journal’s Ethan Smith and Peter Lattman that she neglected to mention her big record deal, because “I didn’t feel like it was something that was going to make people like me.”

Actually, I don’t like her much at all after hearing that, although she sings an acoustic version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” pretty well (see video below).

But, of course, such behavior is going to become normal as more Hollywood entertainment conglomerates latch onto the fast-moving, link-loving nature of the Web for marketing, especially when dealing with Web-savvy young people.

Well, not as savvy as all that, as it is sure easy to trick them or anyone else.


I guess it is pointless to get all righteous about this. But in this Voices text and video post, singer-songwriter Jill Sobule is asking the right questions about how to create and distribute music in the digital age (and she is actually authentic and honest and has had label deals).

And I am not entirely clear why a lot of this can’t happen on the up and up, given that both Digby and LonelyGirl15 are quite entertaining and having a Hollywood deal is not fatally uncool like wearing gaucho pants.

And speaking of viral phenoms, this is not a new thing for the Web. Recall back in the day, such digital winners as “I Kiss You” Mahir Ça?r? (pictured above) or, my all-time favorite, the Dancing Baby (also see below, but only if you want to be happy forever).

Oh, how I loved the time when it was all as innocent as Baby Cha-Cha and as brilliant.

Take note, Digby.