I’m sure you’ve heard of this chick if you’re connected to the online world, one of the big Youtube phenomenas of 2007 coming up with an acoustic version of Rihanna’s Umbrella.
If you haven’t heard of her watch this first:
That’s MariÃ© Digby, one of the new social web stars. If you listen to commercial radio in Malaysia you will have heard of her too as they play this acoustic cover on both Hitz and Mix (pretty frequently).
It’s definitely a good cover and most prefer it to the rather repetitive and annoying original (which really does get stuck in your head).
Following the success of this cover she became extremely famous online and fairly famous in mainstream terms.
The song was subsequently played on the radio station STAR 98.7, was featured on the third season opening episode of the MTV show The Hills, and peaked at #10 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. Digby performed the song on the late night talk show Last Call with Carson Daly on August 2, 2007.
And of course it helps she’s hot and female (mixed Japanese & Irish American).
I thought it was great, people getting pushed into the mainstream by the power of the social web and virality of grassroots videos and music like our good friend Ronald Jenkees.
It got interesting when I later found out it was all a carefully planned campaign, she wasn’t an independent artist and she wasn’t just spreading her love of music on Youtube…she was already signed to Hollywood Records.
So she was basically feiging amateur status to create buzz on the Internet, pretty smart if you ask me (this is known as astroturfing).
She has of course denied this…but read this article:
Ms. Digby certainly isn’t the first professional to feign amateur status on YouTube. Last year, “LonelyGirl15” was revealed to be a 19-year-old actress, working with filmmakers represented by the Creative Artists Agency.
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.
Interesting stuff, it shows how powerful the web is becoming in launching people, especially social media sites like Youtube and Flickr.
Other links of interest: