Is Sandi Thom A Fraud? (Or How To Lose Your Career In Internet Time)

 

So one of the astute readers of this blog (I knew all the smart people hung out here) bought up some interesting information about the Sandi Thom phenom.

It seems she signed a publishing contract with Windswept/Pacific Music Publishing last year.

They have deals with folks like Beyonce Knowles, Sean Garrett, Ciara, Zeke, Pete Townshend and The Who, Craig David,  Hi-Tek, Talib Kweli, Ginuwine, Fischerspooner, etc.

Not exactly small-time, play in the basement, artists.

But that's not all.

 

And it also seems that the claims about driving traffic to her shows were a bit off as well.

The traffic figures Alexa has gathered, the website appears to have experienced a big surge in visits coincident with press releases/stories published about the claims.

There’s no sign of heavy traffic occurring in the days leading up to March 16, 2006 – when, according to the PR version of events, there was a huge buzz building, and people all over the world were checking out the webcast.

To be fair, here's Sandi's side.

What does all this mean?

It means that in during next few weeks folks online are going to be all over this chick with a fine tooth comb. And if they find anything wrong they will scream it.

Then mainstream media will repeat it.

And then her career will be dead before her album hits the selves in June.

Things move pretty fast these days.

[Thanks To Adrian du Plessis for the research]

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I've been getting emails left and right about this Sandi Thom story. So I'm just going to lay out the facts and let you decide.

Her P.R Firm is Quite Great who specialize in innovative PR techniques – such as "ghost marketing"(leaving CDs lying
around in coffee shops, etc. for people to pick up, by seeming accident, and thus be introduced to artists.)

The Quite Great website has a page up about Sandi Thom. Here are some excerpts:

Eventually, ‘Windswept Pacific Music’ offered her a songwriting contract. Sandi had been given the chance to work with a whole host of different musicians and famous writers, in many places she didn’t know existed!

While singing at a gig one night in Glasgow, she was approached by a small independent record label, ‘Legacy Records which is based in Orkney. She has just completed her first ever-solo album, ‘Smile it Confuses People’ and it has only taken, 24 years!!

Gigs have been falling left right and center from touring with The Proclaimers to Nizlopi and playing anything from Giilfest to Brechin, she’s even been asked to play for Tony and Cherie Blair and Prince Andrew

She has already set up 21 gigs from her house in Tooting, which are near enough sold out and anyone not lucky to get a ticket will be able to watch it on web.

Now doesn't it seems like this girl was already signed to a label. And the webcast idea was already planned…hmmm

Good PR and a press willing to believe anything with the words internet attached…

Explore posts in the same categories: Army Of One, blogs, money, music, new media

88 Comments on “Is Sandi Thom A Fraud? (Or How To Lose Your Career In Internet Time)”

  1. Michele Says:

    Oh, too bad. I really liked this story (I guess you can tell from my post).

  2. Adrian Says:

    Me, too, I really liked this story. I’d love it if an unconnected, indie, artist could honestly get a record deal (if they wanted one), by performing live webcasts in their basement.

    Of course, there’s more to it than that – and, in this post-Arctic Monkeys environment, the web is looking to be a prime marketing story for PR folks.

    What is the reality? Was a recording contract an inevitable goal/result of the marketing and publishing team behind the artist, and the web provided them with a handy news hook? Or, is it the case that somehow, despite already having a savvy professional team at work on her career, it really was a genuine internet grassroots phenomenon that propelled Sandi Thom into a major label recording career?

    In early March 2006, James Affordy posted his observation on CNet.com that, based on Alexa’s independent website tracking, there did not appear to be any real sign of heavy traffic to the website at the time of the reported massive build-up in webcast interest.

    Further to that, checking blog activity on Technorati.com http://www.technorati.com/chart/sandi%20thom?chartdays=90&language=n&authority=a4 – there is no evidence of any significant discussion of the webcasts happening at the time. The spikes in blogging activity appear to coincide with the press releases/news stories about what purportedly was happening.

    If one million viewers from England to the U.S., Pakistan and beyond really did tune into the Tooting webcast, how is it that seemingly none of them, or so few as to not be tracked by Technorati, blogged about it?

    The internet is revolutionizing in our communications and connectivity. As yet, it doesn’t seem to be as profoundly changing the PR biz!


  3. This mistake woul make sense based on historical abilities of these companies to do any due diligence


  4. […] Chartreuse BETA unravels the story of a webcam “grassroots music discovery” who now looks to be a plant by the recording industry. Once again, he saw something wasn’t right there when her popularity first became a big deal. […]

  5. VampireFeet Says:

    Wow. Now you’re breaking stories?

    The music business people are a bunch of fucking creeps.

    This has ruined my day.

  6. Brian Says:

    A publicity stunt in the music industry? I’m shocked.

  7. Adrian Says:

    It’s not the sort of underdog story most of us were believing, and wishing, it to be. It’s still fascinating, though.

    You could call it clever, effective, PR. It’s not really viral marketing though – since it’s the old-school press releases and traditional (radio, tv, newspaper) coverage that have been driving the online interest, and not the other way around.


  8. […] So I looked around on the Web a bit, and came across a post on the music blog Chartreuse, which gave a little more detail (which also apparently came from Adrian). Apparently, Sandi Thom signed a contract with a music publisher last year — a company called Windswept/Pacific Music, which has contracts with artists such as Beyonce Knowles and The Who. And traffic stats from Alexa seem to show that Sandi’s site started to get more traffic around the time press releases and news articles appeared about her playing in her apartment, not before. No signs of her getting 100,000 viewers, in other words. […]

  9. Michele Says:

    Wow, Adrian you’re knowledge is impressive! I think that use of technology to determine whether someone is telling the truth about their stats is very interesting. I wish the MSM would spend more of their time digging instead of allowing the PR people to spin them. They should hire you🙂. You seem to have gone the extra mile they chose not to.

  10. Adrian Says:

    Michelle, you’re very kind. And you know how to post emoticons! ( : (I must learn.)

    I’m something of a retired journalist – from a previous life. Now, I’m in the music biz. And, in both fields one finds good, dedicated, practitioners – as well as those who fall short. PR folks, those in the league of this team, are very skilled at their game. Good publicity can be honest, and, obviously, it can be misleading. You’re quite right. Today’s technology enables one to break down the plays, and find the truth of matters.

    chartreuse and you all are inspiring me to blog. My first attempt is @ http://borneveryminute.blogspot.com/

    cheers!

  11. Adrian Says:

    sorry – I also need to check spelling, before sending, Michele – I shall only use one l from here on ( :


  12. ):

    I kinda liked the rags to riches story.

  13. squashed Says:

    My question,

    Who is the PR company? and obviously they have connection with Slashdot. (which is the primary node where it all get started.)

  14. Michele Says:

    Adrian, everyone misspells my name, I’m used to it.


  15. […] Our version of Sandi Thom story seems to have caught hold with some of the major music sites crediting this site and it's readers to catching on to Sony's marketing tricks. […]

  16. TerryC Says:

    And another band bites the dust.


  17. […] And it’s interesting. Here’s my summary: [For those of you who want to see what was on the chartreuse blog, click here] […]

  18. Sandi's Dad Says:

    For all you doubters out there as to the truth behind this story here are the facts.
    Truth. Sandi has a songwriting contract with Windswept Pacific music,that only shows the girl has talent.
    False.P.R. stunt by Sony/Bmg.She only signed the deal with Sony/Bmg after the webcasts had finished.
    She has worked very hard over the last few years to make a name for herself in a very competitive industry so give the girl a break,she done good!

  19. Adrian Says:

    Dear Mr. Thom ~

    No one is doubting that this is a competitive industry, nor that your daughter has worked very, very, hard to get where she is today.

    My view is that the true story of what it takes to succeed in the tough music biz is far more valuable, and interesting, to tell – than is a hyped-up tale of a webcast sensation, that people on the web doesn’t bear scrutiny.

    Why not tell it?

    The bottom line is that it’s simply not true how the Tooting webcasts have been portrayed in the traditional media. That’s why people here are crying foul.

    Your point about the Sony/BMG contract being signed after the webcasts does nothing to alter the fact that there’s it’s clearly been a PR ploy to falsely present your daughter as a skint, desperate, artist, who threw out some basement webcasts as a lifeline.

    You’re right – she’s worked hard, made necessary connections, and she’s taken the steps over the preceding years, to do what people say one must to succeed in this biz. Her manager, Ian Brown, publicists at Quite Great, marketers and techs at Streaming Tank, her Scottish financial backer etc. etc. – the entire team are all to credit.

    But, you see, the stories fed to the news media are making out that any lone lass or lad – without such industry connections and all the hard work – can blag a cheap camera and become an overnight star.

    Which you, and all of us, know is bollocks!

    What about telling the real, full, story?

    That would give your daughter her due, AND help other artists learn what it takes to advance in their careers.


  20. […] Siehe als Infoquellen: BornEveryMinute Velvetrope Chartreuse MatheWingram   […]

  21. John Says:

    If she had 1,000,000 people into her already she wouldn’t need Sony BMG. One amusing thought…do you think Logan believed it himself? Show me the logs I ask thee!

  22. OdubruS Says:

    “She told BBC London online she came up with the idea after going on tour with a car that would constantly break down.”
    source:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2006/03/13/music_sandi_thom_interview_feature.shtml

    Reality:

    http://www.nexusliveshow.com/

  23. Mark Says:

    Mmmm…this is interesting…her first webcast??

    http://www.nexusliveshow.com

    Mark

  24. the truth Says:

    OK, would you like to know the truth? I know Sandi and she had a publishing deal and record deal long before any of this – just another PR stunt I’m afraid. Her parents are rich and support her fully. She is a talented song writer, but check the credits on the CD if you know what I mean. Most importantly take everything said in interviews and press with a pinch of salt, not all of her words are her words… shame, but I guess we can be thankful that at least she’s not pretty and talentless.


  25. The basement idea is great. The fact that it’s a PR setup is a challenge that Sandi must now fight. She’s good. Really good. Talent. Attitude. Looks. She needs songs that can say something and that will proplell her far into the sky above this internet debris. She is welcome to sing our song: “Come Back Home,” featured on our rock / blues / acoutic / funk indie label Liquid Fusion (R) http://www.liquidfusion.net. As soon as I post this msg, I’ll feature a free song download of “Come Back Home” on our site. Her talent and the song message can only build bonds betweeen her and her new fans. BTW, this would be an internet inspired bonding to her fans overcome the spin throwing her off balance. A cool way to recover and bound back!!!! I’m inspired by her to take this action….

    Brewer Shettles / Founder / Producer Liquid Fusion (R) Records NYNY

  26. Katie Matthews Says:

    I found it interesting at the time that Sandi Thom would be able to afford such a webcast with the amount of sever space required. With that kind of traffic, her webcast must have cost a forune (apparently a tetra costs around 1000 dollars.) So, if she were on her way to a gig in Wales when her car broke down and she had this idea……well, she must have sold her car for a lot of money….

  27. manc_ill_kid Says:

    You’re not going to believe this, but my band, The Plimptons are doing exactly the same thing, we’ve been doing video webcasts over on youtube.com and the response has been phenomenal.

    Our first video, here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10bN0b_8E0U has had over a thousand views in the first twenty four hours online.

    Major label success, here we come!!!

  28. Adrian Says:

    Looks like this has been explored from plenty of angles, and the truth is readily apparent. I don’t know when or if, I’ll ever return to this issue in my blog @ http://borneveryminute.blogspot.com – but, thanks to everyone who’s been shining a light. It’s a funny business – that puts its creative focus on the “story” moreso than on the music.

    Looks like most of us still believe reality is more interesting – and valid – than myth.

    Go Plimptons!! ( :

  29. Chris Says:

    “The basement idea is great. The fact that it’s a PR setup is a challenge that Sandi must now fight. She’s good. Really good. Talent. Attitude. Looks. She needs songs that can say something and that will proplell her far into the sky above this internet debris. She is welcome to sing our song: “Come Back Home,” featured on our rock / blues / acoutic / funk indie label Liquid Fusion (R) http://www.liquidfusion.net. As soon as I post this msg, I’ll feature a free song download of “Come Back Home” on our site. Her talent and the song message can only build bonds betweeen her and her new fans. BTW, this would be an internet inspired bonding to her fans overcome the spin throwing her off balance. A cool way to recover and bound back!!!! I’m inspired by her to take this action….”

    Oh how gracious of you, giving her the ‘honour’ of covering your song with such a “message” to “propel her far into the sky above this internet debris”. To be honest, she isn’t really that good in the slightest…average vocals, shit song. I mean, how many punk rockers you knew had flowers in their hair? The whole song reeks of an infuriating ignorance, granted I haven’t heard any of her other stuff, but this song was enough for me. Being greatly interested in punk music it actually made me want to retch with disdain. There are too many ‘fashionable’ bands and singers out nowadays who people like, basically because they are told to by the media. Hype is too powerful nowadays and people too eager to crawl into the newest most bigged-up artist’s rectum claiming that they are amazing regardless of talent or message. I the only one that has noticed it is so ironic that she has written this song that ‘preaches’ about the days when; “music really mattered” and “the media couldn’t buy your soul” when she’s signed away her album for a million pound contract. Okay so it’s kind-of the object of being a serious musician, and it’s just a song, but it’s still hypocritical and niave. This P.R. scam has just served to make her less credible to those who appreciate real music. Well, it did to me anyways…

  30. Jamie Says:

    ditto

  31. Sandi's Webcam Says:

    I am Sandi Thom’s webcam. I feel I must speak out. I was developed by NASA scientists and I cost over £10 million. I didn’t want to webcast gigs from a basement, but they made me. Shit, someone’s coming. Gotta go…

  32. The truth will out Says:

    OK guys. heres the truth.
    In September of 2005, Rachel Fuller started a live music webcast called “IN THE ATTIC” . In December of 2005, Rachel webcast a live show from her studio called “BASEMENT JAM”.
    In January of 2006, a DVD show reel of her show was given to a TV packager who was working, it just so happens, with Sandi Thom.
    Voila. Theres her story.
    I am working with streaming tank. All the numbers were completely contrived by her PR and manager. The webcast was not live. To buy bandwidth for 500 streams for 1 year is £36,000.
    The idea was stolen, hyped and pressed.
    I wish her luck.

  33. Eric Says:

    Looks like the PR stunt has paid off, Sandi has just gone into the singles chart at no2 & is playlisted on BBC Radio, has appeared on TOTP etc.
    Good luck & all that, but it’s just a bit sickening for other indie artists to think that all this has come on the back of a fabricated PR stunt used to gain mainstream publicity. What’s more most people will believe it.
    One wonders why reporters don’t do a little more investigation before writing, esp the BBC who have the power to make or break an artist – surely they must know that Johnny Walker championed her single (original release) back in June 2005.
    You’ve got to wonder if Sony/Bmg were in on it all the time? someone’s been pulling some big favours!

  34. Pete Says:

    I tend to think Sony/BMG/RCA may have been involved early on since it takes months to negotiate a record contract not weeks – she signed online in a matter of weeks.

    Of course, if it did take only weeks to negotiate, you can bet it is a deal in which the label will always come out on top.

  35. Adrian Says:

    the story is far from being told in the mainstream press – but, it’s starting to unravel and get closer to the truth of matters; just this past weekend, there’s been coverage in several outlets, including:

    http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/05/29/1661667.htm

    [May 29, 2006]

    Web of mystery

    (The Express On Sunday Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)

    HER rise to fame from lowly Internet performances to the verge of the coveted Number One spot has been nothing short of remarkable. But Scots singing sensation Sandi Thom is at the centre of controversy amid claims her route to the top is not all that it appears.

    She has become known as the girl signed from her basement with the debut single, I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair), today tipped to knock Gnarls Barkley off the Number One spot after eight weeks.

    Sick of touring the country for next to no money, in February the Banffshireborn singer-songwriter began webcasting concerts from her home in South London, at first to a few dozen people, then to tens of thousands as word spread.

    Within weeks, she was signed, live online via a GBP60 webcam, to major label RCA for a rumoured GBP1million and is being line up for a special performance for the Prime Minister.

    But now there are claims the webcasts were a controlled stunt by a leading PR agency and the high viewing figures didn’t happen until after Sandi’s story hit the news.

    It has also been revealed the seemingly unknown artist had previous deals with not one, but two, recording companies, including Orkneybased Legacy Records. Ironically, the allegations are being circulated on the Internet. Online rumours have begun circulating claims that, rather than being a raw talent struggling for a break, Sandi had the backing of a well-oiled machine.

    They say her rise to the top was orchestrated by Quite Great PR, an innovative firm she signed with last summer, which has handled Mariah Carey, Van Morrison, Meatloaf, Simply Red and Stevie Wonder.

    Quite Great is said to have put out a news release, in January, publicising the fact Sandi, from Banff, was to do the webcasts.

    Yet, in numerous interviews, Sandi has said her inspiration for the webcasts came after her car broke down en route to a Welsh gig, in February.

    However, a spokesman for Quite Great claimed he did not have the information to elaborate on this.

    He added: “We did represent Sandi Thom, but her interests are now looked after by RCA.”

    Figures from Internet traffic monitors Alexa and Technorati show there was limited traffic and no evidence of any buzz surrounding Sandi’s name or site before March 5 – when her webcasts were splashed over the media.

    Technorati – the supposed vehicle that swept mention of Sandi’s gigs around the globe – confirmed there was no rise in related posts during the term of the webcasts.

    A spokesman said: “There has been a big increase in the amount of discussion about Sandi Thom but this seems mainly to have been over the last 30 days.”

    Bloggers have further claimed that last year Sandi signed with Windswept Pacific Music and was whisked to America and Sweden to work with musicians and writers, with the webcasts managed by specialists Streaming Tank.

    RCA confirmed Sandi had been signed to Legacy but would not be drawn on any deal with Windswept. A spokeswoman added: “Sandi was signed to Legacy. Her single is being re-released as last time it only reached number 75.”

  36. Adrian Says:

    and this article in The Independent ~ http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/music/news/article621798.ece

    Was Sandi Thom’s effortless rise just too good to be true?
    By Paul Kelbie, Scotland Correspondent
    Published: 30 May 2006

    It was the stuff of modern fairy tales. A talented but obscure singer becomes an overnight success after she starts performing to thousands of people via an internet webcam in the basement of her London home. But after it was announced on Sunday that Sandi Thom had reached No 2 in the charts with her debut single “I wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)”, she found herself the victim of the flip-side of the World Wide Web.

    Rumours are circulating among the chatrooms and blogs of the online community that the rise to fame and fortune of the cash-starved girl from Banffshire was nothing more than a carefully planned public relations stunt.

    The firm said to be behind her success is Quite Great PR, an outfit known for its innovative approach to publicity, whose previous clients include Mariah Carey, Simply Red, Stevie Wonder and Cliff Richard.

    The suggestion doing the rounds is that Quite Great not only inflated Thom’s online audience, it helped create it by placing stories about her gigs in the press.

    The internet traffic monitors Alexa and Technorati said there had been little excitement or unusual levels of interest surrounding Thom’s name prior to the first reports hitting the mainstream media.

    Other commentators make the point that Thom could not have supported such a large audience on her webcast if she really was a starving artist. “The webcast figures are so bogus it’s unbelievable,” claims one self-proclaimed IT expert. “Do you know how much bandwidth is required to support 70,000 concurrent streams? Bandwidth costs money. How does a poor, starving artist afford the bandwidth for 70,000 video streams? This whole thing is total bullshit.”

    According to the singer-songwriter’s official biography, she gave up touring the country to perform via the internet, at first to a few dozen, and then to thousands, as news of her talent spread. Eventually she reached the attention of the record company RCA and within weeks found herself lined up for a recording contract. After 21 performances webcast from the basement of her flat with her band-mates, drummer Craig Connet and guitarist Marcus Bonfanti, the audience figures for the “21 Nights From Tooting” tour had peaked at more than 70,000, with some fans tuning in from as far away as Russia and the United States.

    Word of her success made headlines around the world and her re-issued debut record shot up to No 2 in the national singles chart, having previously charted at No 15 on downloads alone.

    In a sense, just the confirmation that Thom was being handled by a public relations firm known for clever innovations was probably enough for many online commentators to believe that the whole rapid rise to fame has been carefully contrived. In the past the company has been credited with “ghost marketing” in which CDs of unknown musicians have been left in cafés and other places to be found and “discovered” by the public.

    Yesterday a spokesman for Quite Great denied that the singer’s success was down to any PR tricks. “As far as we are aware she is a home-grown talent, which is what helped her get a major record deal,” he said. “When we signed her up she had already started using the internet to broadcast her gigs.”

    It was the stuff of modern fairy tales. A talented but obscure singer becomes an overnight success after she starts performing to thousands of people via an internet webcam in the basement of her London home. But after it was announced on Sunday that Sandi Thom had reached No 2 in the charts with her debut single “I wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)”, she found herself the victim of the flip-side of the World Wide Web.

    Rumours are circulating among the chatrooms and blogs of the online community that the rise to fame and fortune of the cash-starved girl from Banffshire was nothing more than a carefully planned public relations stunt.

    The firm said to be behind her success is Quite Great PR, an outfit known for its innovative approach to publicity, whose previous clients include Mariah Carey, Simply Red, Stevie Wonder and Cliff Richard.

    The suggestion doing the rounds is that Quite Great not only inflated Thom’s online audience, it helped create it by placing stories about her gigs in the press.

    The internet traffic monitors Alexa and Technorati said there had been little excitement or unusual levels of interest surrounding Thom’s name prior to the first reports hitting the mainstream media.

    Other commentators make the point that Thom could not have supported such a large audience on her webcast if she really was a starving artist. “The webcast figures are so bogus it’s unbelievable,” claims one self-proclaimed IT expert. “Do you know how much bandwidth is required to support 70,000 concurrent streams? Bandwidth costs money. How does a poor, starving artist afford the bandwidth for 70,000 video streams? This whole thing is total bullshit.”
    According to the singer-songwriter’s official biography, she gave up touring the country to perform via the internet, at first to a few dozen, and then to thousands, as news of her talent spread. Eventually she reached the attention of the record company RCA and within weeks found herself lined up for a recording contract. After 21 performances webcast from the basement of her flat with her band-mates, drummer Craig Connet and guitarist Marcus Bonfanti, the audience figures for the “21 Nights From Tooting” tour had peaked at more than 70,000, with some fans tuning in from as far away as Russia and the United States.

    Word of her success made headlines around the world and her re-issued debut record shot up to No 2 in the national singles chart, having previously charted at No 15 on downloads alone.

    In a sense, just the confirmation that Thom was being handled by a public relations firm known for clever innovations was probably enough for many online commentators to believe that the whole rapid rise to fame has been carefully contrived. In the past the company has been credited with “ghost marketing” in which CDs of unknown musicians have been left in cafés and other places to be found and “discovered” by the public.

    Yesterday a spokesman for Quite Great denied that the singer’s success was down to any PR tricks. “As far as we are aware she is a home-grown talent, which is what helped her get a major record deal,” he said. “When we signed her up she had already started using the internet to broadcast her gigs.”

  37. Adrian Says:

    and The Guardian wieghs in today with another article that shines a light as well ~ http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1786542,00.html

    a few more circumspect journalists and even the newest bogus claims can be seen for what they are:

    An internet superstar – or just another rock’n’roll swindle?

    Owen Gibson, media correspondent
    Wednesday May 31, 2006
    The Guardian

    Scottish singer-songwriter Sandi Thom performs her first sell-out headline London show at the Islington Academy Bar. Photograph: Jim Dyson/Getty

    The latest sales figures show her single is likely to be number one by this weekend, but debate yesterday raged over whether singer-songwriter Sandi Thom is a self-made internet superstar or simply the next in a proud tradition of rock’n’roll PR swindles.
    Thom has been compared to Janis Joplin and KT Tunstall and, according to the reams of press cuttings that accompanied her rise, was penniless and struggling until she secured a £1m deal with RCA Records by webcasting 21 gigs from her Tooting basement. But amid accusations that the webcast stunt was part of a contrived PR campaign, a Cambridge-based PR company yesterday confirmed it had been working with her since last June to boost her profile ahead of the release of her single I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair), now at number two in the charts.

    Article continues

    ——————————————————————————–

    ——————————————————————————–

    Quite Great, which has worked for the likes of Mariah Carey and Chris Rea as well as unsigned bands, said it had helped place articles in national newspapers and worked to create a “buzz” around the artist. Its tactics, common among most music PRs, included targeting the student press and employing paid and unpaid groups of enthusiasts known as street teams together with the internet to spread the word about the Scottish singer-songwriter. “You can’t just rely on good music,” said Louise Harris, PR manager at Quite Great. “For unsigned artists it’s really important to have the fans and the street teams out there talking about them.”
    Paul Scaife, managing director of industry newsletter Record of the Day, whose messageboard contributors have tracked the controversy, said: “It seems that even the record label are now admitting the story created the story and they’ve all done well out of that.”

    Since Thom’s story first appeared in the Sunday Times in March, an army of bloggers have chipped away at press claims that she was a penniless, desperate singer who turned to the internet after her car broke down on the way back from yet another sparsely attended gig.

    They pointed to her publishing deal with Windswept Pacific Music (home of Beyonce Knowles), her collaborations with well-known songwriters, her professionally produced website and the track record of her manager Ian Brown in promoting a number of other unlikely success stories. They also reproduced statistics from web tracking services such as Technorati showing there was little interest in her website until the first stories appeared in the London Evening Standard and the Sunday Times. “All we wanted to do was get her to a place where she could be taken to the national press,” said Ms Harris. “Then it all kicked off. There’s no big mystery.” Once Thom was signed by RCA, which has been promoting her single around the country with posters hailing “the singer who webcast to the world from her Tooting basement”, its own press department took over.

    Mr Brown accepted that the story became inflated through an unholy alliance of the media, the artist and the record label. He said the idea for “21 Nights From Tooting”, the series of gigs recorded in her basement and webcast at 9pm every night in lieu of a traditional tour, had definitely come from Thom. Fans were initially intrigued because of an email marketing campaign that saw 1m virtual flyers sent out promoting the free online gigs, he said, leading to record company interest.

    “We had every major record company in this piss-stained basement in Tooting. If it was orchestrated we’d have done the gigs from Chelsea, not a flat two doors down from the Halal butchers,” said Mr Brown, rejecting the claims. “It was genuinely an innocent little thing to do and people watched it.” A friend of a friend put him in touch with Streaming Tank, a large online company that agreed to handle the hefty bandwidth requirements, while he also contacted the Sunday Times journalist, he said. Another friend, a radio plugger in the US, emailed 2,000 radio stations on Thom’s behalf.

    Although the numbers had since been inflated, Mr Brown said the gigs started off with 600 viewers before hitting 48,000 prior to any press coverage. It was 10 days after the web gigs finished that RCA won the race to sign her up, he said. Far from providing small, unsigned artists with the means to bypass major labels, the tale of Sandi Thom suggests that major labels have swapped their early panic over internet piracy for a sophistication in using it to promote new artists that has overtaken the media’s ability to sniff out a PR stunt.

    As Mr Brown said, clever PR is not unique to the internet age. The uneasy alliance between the press and music PRs dates back to Elvis Presley. As such, it is unlikely that either label or artist will balk at the latest round of publicity. “It’s all rock’n’roll PR,” he said. “But it starts off with a fact. Bill Grundy told the Pistols to swear on TV. Fact. Sandi Thom got 50,000 people on her website before the Sunday Times had anything to do with it. Fact. What happens after that, I’ve got no idea.”

  38. Check my ISP Says:

    Who really f*cking cares if this woman was a fraud? Half the fan base were typical ‘myspace-morons’ anyway. Don’t get so damn over excited because you ‘think we found something out here people!’. There’s a hell of a lot more exciting things to do with your time, than try and latch onto any event, artist or similar that might be the next big thing.

    I’m not convinced that 50% weren’t more concerned with being seen as early adopters, rather than actually liking Sandi Thom’s bland music anyway.

  39. Annie Bruge Says:

    Adrian, I have come to the conclusion that you and your little band of bloggers, either work for, or own Alexa, or Technorati, or both, and you are using this Sandi Thom story for your own PR stunts, to get your trafifc sites noticed !
    Why just put it bits of the above, why miss out the word FACT, which appeared twice!
    Do not insult the British public any longer by suggesting Sandi Thom has reached NO2 in the charts because of a story..We all rushed out and bought a single based on a story, do you not think this was because of her voice and her music, or would you like Alexa or Technorati to verify this first!
    The music has bypassed any story…I interviewed Sandi Thom, I am one of those journalists, Sandi Thom is a REAL STAR in the making..A story does not make a Star..
    I think it is time someone checked you out..and the credibility of Alexa and Technorati..

  40. Eric Says:

    Yes Sandi is a talented singer etc, but so are 1000’s of other singer-songwriters trying to make the scene. To suggest that the media has nothing to do with commercial success is complete bo**ocks!
    The music industry is media driven – FACT.

  41. Adrian Says:

    The story of the PR gambit has been analysed and revealed for what it is – here online for months. There has been no substantation of any hyped traffic figures. There’s no “fact” presented in connection with any such numbers claims. And, the claims of talk spreading like “wildfire” on MySpace can be independently shown to be false. As Eric notes, the BBC need only have looked back more than to the latest press release to know the context of things. Any journalist who doesn’t do their homework looks silly when the truth does start to come out – as is happening now in the mainstream press.

  42. Ian Says:

    I agree, it was pretty darn foolish of her PR company to think up this ludicrous story about thousands of people viewing her webcast when it clearly wasnt true and there was no evidence to back it up, it will make her look like a fraud and when it gets picked up it will just do more damage than anything. They should have just stuck to real facts.

    She will probably now just be a flash in the pan act. Her album will no doubt be average, with Punk Rocker being the only half decent track. It was probably pilfered from a genuine unsigned act anyway. The best she can hope for is one succesful album.

  43. oldpudge Says:

    I’m afraid you have to smell the coffee fellas. The “scam” you refer too has nothing to do with how an artist was “promoted”.

    There’s a much bigger issue for the industry here. Physical sales gave domination to the big labels. The download era takes away this power. The downside is that it opens up other possibilities…. Herein lies the scam for those who wish to dig.

  44. Annie Bruge Says:

    Gentleman, or “all the smart people” as the first few lines of this blog states..May I introduce to you all, the simplistic intellectual concept of intelligent debate, objective opinion, factual research, and emperical evidence…
    What I see over and over again, is a minor band of people, who are at the heart of all this scenarios, about PR Stunts, scams, and so forth, accusations being banded about ,relating to Sandi Thom and her webcasts, Fleet St, in a spin, Oh my goodness…
    What is it you are all trying to say..1. the webcasts never happened, therefore was a PR exercise..2. They did happen but the figures were embellished by the world media…
    3. How dare Sandi Thom have a successful NO1, cause she is a fraud, useless, talentless, cant sing..
    You all have to be very careful here…Please now take each of my three points above, and explain in an intelligent manner, using your IT expert Facts, backed by your Factual Imperical evedince, beginning with point NO1 then NO2 then NO3..and debate, Yes or NO
    You have to be very careful, as your accusations may have to be founded, ..Your personal attacks on Sandi Thom, may have to be substantiated ..
    This must be the worst case of sour grapes I have ever came across in my industry…Ok its not a great song, fine, have an opinion…The album is out today, buy it, sample it, be mature and objective, in a rational manner!
    Why cant you all applaud what is evident now, Sandi Thom is a new British singer songwriter…
    Or perhaps the breaking news I hear on the news today, that over 100,000 people were seen to be entering record shops, in a zombified state, buying this certain record,word has it, it was all because of a story, NASA and MI5 are investigating this strange phenominum…
    Oh I forgot this same scenario was being played out in peoples houses, as they downloaded this song from their computers, in a zombified state..
    Put this to bed!
    I do not in any way believe this girl is a fraud!. …
    This seems to be a genuine, story about a singer songwriter, who came up with a brilliant idea, a great story, as it spread throughout the world, figures became embellished.by the media.
    If it was all a PR stunt and a fraud, by the label, why did all the major labels visit her basement and offer to sign her, if she was already signed to RCA..
    What they saw ,they loved..
    Sadly this young woman is being subjected to terrible personal insults, slanderous personal accusations…Why?
    The media loved the story, it was news worthy, the media loved the story that it might not have really happened, that was also news worthy..
    Thats what the news media do..sell newspapers..
    I dedicate this reply to all the “the smart people” who use this blog..

  45. DoomMonger Says:

    Well the lies have paid off – based on the past 2 days sales, she’s #1 in the singles and album charts. Oh well, that’ll be her taking next years Best British Female “Brit” Award home then. How tedious.

  46. Mister Quartet Says:

    When’s the new Nizlopi single coming out then?

  47. DoomMonger Says:

    It’s been and gone, and flopped badly. We can only hope for a similar fate for Ms Thom’s follow-up. The main thing is that you can’t find a single article about her now which doesn’t question the whole webcast thing, and so it looks like she’ll forever be remembered as “that girl who lied about how she got famous”.

  48. Adrian Says:

    According to posters on the UK’s Record of the Day Messageboard, “I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) is credited as a 50/50 co-write – Sandi Thom and Tom Gilbert.

    Says one: “And better still, Tom Gilbert is a pseudonym for Ian Brown.” (Thom’s manager)

    It seems too cynical and unoriginal a ploy that the song would be co-written by a manager hiding behind a pseudonym. So, someone must know the real co-writer, Gilbert.

    Still, whoever is the co-writer, if he has a generation or two on Thom, it could help explain lyrics described by Scotland’s Herald scribe, Melanie Reid, as a “a tour de force of muddled, middle-aged, wistfulness”.

    Tom Gilbert’s publisher is said to be EMI. Anyone know this writer?

  49. mad_as_hell Says:

    Today’s BBC website has a vote button on whether Sandi’s story is
    o Inspirational
    o Made up marketing scam
    and it is currently at 60% for the latter.
    Check it out:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/pop/?displayresults=1&configfile=popindex.xml
    So the public is awake after all (apart from 40% of them)

  50. TopofthePops Says:

    Charlie Brooker has this to say: Supposing … Sandi Thom is the musical antichrist

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1793612,00.html

  51. Annie Bruge Says:

    What is this madness! Who are you people!
    Read the Daily Telagraph Magazine, today 10th June…
    Are you living in another planet, Oh I forgot, the music industry, is this whiter than whit squeky clean industry, see no evil, hear no evil, conformist, industry, the pillar of today’s society..Get REAL!
    Sandi Thom’s basement webcasts, were real, the world wide broadband speed in which the story spread,was real, the broadband speed, in which the British media, was caught napping , was real, the reality, that Sandi Thom is at the dawn of a new British music Industry is real…
    What exactly has she done wrong?

  52. DoomMonger Says:

    SHE hasn’t done anything wrong. The vitriol is directed at all the people manipulating her. She’s just their pretty front-woman. Of course her webcasts actually happened, but the lies start to emerge when they talk about the number of people watching them. Even if that many people DID see her, where did the £500,000 come from that would need to fund that level of webcasting? You can’t just stick a cheap webcam on even an 8MB broadband line and broadcast to the planet. There’s something called ‘bandwidth’ that comes into play.

    If this is the dawn of a new British Music Industry, then the country really has gone to cunt.

  53. manc_ill_kid Says:

    Hey kids, I’m doing a series of webcasts from my flat in Glasgow, the four one’s up here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Siq9nhx_UOY

    If you tell other people about it, I’m bound to be as big as Sandi Thom in just a few weeks,, or so the theory goes


  54. Press Release Source: Columbia Records

    Columbia Records Set to Release U.S. Edition of ‘Smile… It Confuses
    People,’ the Debut Album From Scottish Singer-Songwriter Sandi Thom
    Thursday June 22, 11:26 am ET
    Sandi’s Album Debuts at #1 On U.K. Charts
    In Stateside Stores Tuesday, September 12

    NEW YORK, June 22 /PRNewswire/ — Columbia Records will release Smile…
    It Confuses People, the debut album from Scottish singer-songwriter
    Sandi Thom, on Tuesday, September 12.

    Released in the U.K. on June 5, 2006, Smile… It Confuses People
    entered the U.K. album charts at #1, driven in part by the phenomenal
    success of Sandi’s hit single and signature track, “I Wish I Was A Punk
    Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair),” a #1 U.K. single and a #1 U.K. iTunes
    download.

    Too broke to go on the road on a traditional tour, 24-year-old Sandi
    Thom became a U.K. sensation when the Internet-savvy singer-songwriter
    decided to set up a webcam in her South London flat and stage a three
    week “21 Nights From Tooting” world tour from her basement. Sandi spread
    the word via Myspace.com and her own site (www.sandithom.com), inviting
    fans to watch the “tour” live on the web or in person at the truly
    underground venue of her basement (capacity 10 people). Pulling in a
    modest audience of 70 on the first night, Sandi had more than 70,000 web
    viewers, from as far away as the US, Russia, and New Zealand, by the end
    of her virtual “tour,” thanks to the wildfire enthusiasm of fans on the
    Internet spreading the news.

    Less than two weeks after “21 Nights From Tooting,” Sandi Thom signed a
    contract for five albums with RCA Label Group in the U.K. in front of
    the very same webcam in her Tooting basement, making it the first
    webcast signing in major record label history.

    Drawing on a musical palette that varies from Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley
    through Carole King and Stevie Nicks to Stevie Wonder and Aretha
    Franklin, Smile… It Confuses People seamlessly blends folk and soul
    strains and influences. Sandi takes a similar approach lyrically,
    bringing together a diverse range of themes and subjects from broken
    hearts and newborn relationships through musicians and musicianship to
    the current world’s preoccupation with “progress.”

    Sandi Thom will be touring North America later this summer:

    Jul 26 San Francisco, Ca Cafe Du Nord
    Jul 27 Seattle, WA Crocodile Cafe
    Jul 29 San Diego, Ca House Of Blues (small room)
    Jul 30 Los Angeles, Ca Hotel Cafe
    Aug 1 Boston, Ma Paradise Lounge
    Aug 2 New York, NY Joe’s Pub
    Aug 4 Boulder, Co AAA Convention
    Aug 5 Philadelphia, Pa World Cafe (upstairs)
    Aug 7 Atlanta, GA Vinyl
    Aug 8 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
    Aug 9 Chicago, Il Schubas
    Aug 10 Minneapolis, MN Ascot Room @ The Quest
    Aug 12 Toronto El Mocambo

    ————————————————————————
    Source: Columbia Records


  55. […] I thought I was dreaming when I read in the comments of this blog that Columbia Records were going to use the same lie to promote Sandi Thom here that they did in Europe. Jeez! […]

  56. Adrian Says:

    there is some very entertaining about this – in fact, it almost seems like someone must be kidding! in an April Fool’s kinda way…

    maybe it’s the sunshine, and it’s Friday…

    or, maybe it’s more like Charlie Brown is, yet again, ready to go kick the ball that Lucy is pinning…


  57. […] when the head of stain couldn’t play guitar (what does Aaron Lewis have to do with this?),not everybody drove a car (girlfriend, you live in London – not everybody there drives a car anyway…don’t you have Tube stops in Tooting?)when music really mattered and when radio was king (oh puleeeeeze! You mean freedom of choice is BAD?  You mean being stuck with the same old radio playlists while negociating rush hour traffic day after day is a GOOD thing?  Sure, I miss Top 40 radio from the 70’s before playlist consultants came into vogue as much as the next guy from that era, but come on! Music matters just as much today as it does then.  We’re just not wedded to the airwaves as much.)when acountants didn’t have control (honey, accountants ALWAYS had control.  It just didn’t use to be so obvious – you can thank “Making the Band”, all those radio payola scandals, and the needless handwringing over Napster for that)and the media couldn’t buy your soul  (Ooooooooooooooh! That’s not what THIS guy says!)and computers were still scary and we didn’t know everything (I shouldn’t have to get into the irony that this performer’s claim to fame was using webcasts to land a recording contract in her small apartment in the rough and tumble L-burb of Tooting.) chorus […]

  58. jj_sawyer Says:

    there is quite an interesting article over at Stereoboard.com which has quotes from a Scottish singer called David Lockhart who accuses Sandi thom of stealing is story!! blimey!

    http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/301/44/

  59. music luvaaah Says:

    What about the story she stole from unsigned musician David Lockhart? When is she going to come clean with that!

    Here is David Lockharts story with the proof that she stole it ( Taken from his blog on his myspace profile).

    1. She thought a computer would be better than her car to get her music out and listened to around the world , she claims her story went car to her computer to the music industry elite ( My David Lockhart story )

    2 . She was a penniless music artist from a small Scottish village who went global with a DIY method ( My David Lockhart Story )

    3. She claims to have thought up the idea to sing into her computer with a web cam to get her music out to the world ( My David Lockhart Story ,when I sent out my a cappella pieces I sang into the computer ,used only the hole on my computer monitor which has a built in microphone ( which is only normally used for chatting with a web cam ) and sent it out to the world by the internet to save money and time , , I told this to many people in the music industry and also on the phone to Krissy Storrar (Daily Mirror) (2004) an Karen Bale (Daily Record) (2005), Myspace music page ,,, again this is from my David Lockhart story ) ( but even my story dates further back than that )

    4 . She Has an A cappella way of singing (My David Lockhart story )

    5 . She wasn`t signed to any record label or publisher while doing it (My David Lockhart story )
    an it Now turns out that she actually did have a publishing contract at the time , an in the news it`s said her record label had actually signed her before her so called unique story had come out , she also had a well known manager and a pr company behind her before her story came about .

    6 . She did it all without leaving the house and the record labels then started to circle ( My David Lockhart story ) a point that was also mentioned in my David Lockhart Canadian music press article 2005 http://www.soulshine.ca/news/newsarticle.php?nid=2403,
    Sandi Thom`s story didn`t come out till 2006 .

    7 . She Was Noticed in America by the major recorded labels who started to show interest in her unusual story, a cappella style , an songs sung into the computer which was then sent out to the world , her DIY to the world , her results of her DIY ( My David Lockhart story , I was noticed by the major record labels not just in America but also Canada , Germany , Australia and England )
    (emails I still have that prove this from every major label , with also Sony and Bmg when they were separate labels and also when the joined together as one label )
    ( even had phone calls to me from America ( Universal Records ) and from Germany (Warner Chappell Publishing )
    This was from my Unusual A Cappella songs which I sang into the computer and sent out around the world by my DIY methods .
    I did this long before Sandi Thom came out with the story in 2006 .

    8. She`d been heard all around the world from her computer without ever leaving the house ( My David Lockhart story and plus I had interest from the major record labels ( including Sony/Bmg ) and publishers around the world from my a cappella pieces )

    9. She was a big hit on myspace the music site ( this was in the news that she never really had any interest from her myspace music page before her unusual car to computer to music world story went out and ran in the press , in fact it was my Unusual David Lockhart story she used to give to the press and media , I David Lockhart had it out around the world to record labels ( including Sony/Bmg) . publishers , newspapers an also on myspace before she even had an account on myspace , again My David Lockhart Story )
    I had been played on American Radio In Arizona who heard my songs on my myspace music page here before Sandi Thom even had a myspace account ,,, the show in question is the dogmatic duo (KWSS 106.7 FM Scottsdale Alternative Radio)(FEB 6th 2006) they played my song called I Told which is on my page here ,
    I started my David Lockhart music page on myspage 28/10/2005
    Sandi Thom only joined myspace on 18/02/2006 .

    10. She mentions on radio she couldn`t afford petrol for her car for one of the reasons she thought her computer would be better , in an interview on the radio 2006 ( I David Lockhart told this word for word when asked about the car and computer part of my story to Krissy Storrar daily mirror newspaper in 2004 and also Karen Bale daily record newspaper 2005 on the phone ) ( My David Lockhart story )

    11 , She leads every story that she thought the computer would be better than her car to get her music out to the world ,then she goes into other parts of my story , ( My David Lockhart story always leads with this car to computer to music world elite )

    12 . At the start she sent her demos out in jiffy bags and then she went on to the car to computer story to send it out through the internet instead to save money , which then resulted in the music industry elite showing interest ( My David Lockhart story that again I told to journalists )

    I David Lockhart already sang into my computer and put it out to the world via the internet long before Sandi Thom stole my story .
    Sandi Thom is not the new idea everyone thinks she is ( she`s stolen everything from Me David Lockhart )
    ,
    There would be no Sandi Thom story what so ever if She hadn`t stole from The David Lockhart Story .

    They also wouldn`t even have thought of adding the web cam thing to my David Lockhart story that they had already stole from me had they not read and heard the David Lockhart story beforehand .
    I was singing into my computer and putting it out to the world via the internet long before Sandi Thom was ever heard of , I was also putting my unusual story out long before Sandi Thom Was heard of .
    I even have proof that her record label read my story all throughout the company an I also have one high profile person in particular actually replying to my story and how much it was liked (2005 ) , an all this before Sandi Thom was even heard of with her so called unique story in 2006 .
    I also have proof that another person from her record label was on my myspace music website page to listen to my songs (2005), this person also sent me a friend request from this site requesting to join my web page as a fan as he liked what I was doing ( I have proof he went to my myspace music web page ).

    The other thing being I Told Sony/Bmg early last year in 2005 before Sandi Thom was even heard of was that my story had started to get phone calls an emails from well known British newspapers , as well as media interest .

    so Sony/Bmg knew that my story was already starting to create a buzz among the press n media cause I told them about it , an they also knew I never even had a single released , no record label and no music publisher behind me either which made it even more intriguing to the power of my story , that`s how powerful my story was .

    they also knew of my Canadian article ,
    http://www.soulshine.ca/news/newsarticle.php?nid=2403
    they also knew that the story I had given them was also on myspace .
    http://www.myspace.com/davidlockhart

    I can prove the newspapers (2004 an 2005 )were in contact with me about my unusual story long before Sandi Thom was ever heard of , an I also was replied to by Sony/Bmg to my story and them liking it (2005 ).I had a Sony/Bmg a&r person send me a friend request to my music myspace page (2005)

    Sony/Bmg already knew how powerful my story was before Sandi Thom and them stole it to use as their own .
    They knew they were onto a winner as they had seen the results I was achieving without no money , no record label ,no publisher an no single re-leased .

    They knew I was penniless and what I had achieved without money .
    They couldn`t lose as they had the money to push on my story ( yet push it on as if it was Sandi Thom`s ).

    Sandi Thom already had her single out once before without any unique story behind it and it flopped in 2005 ,
    She then went away to lick her wounds for a while .
    Yet when she came back ( 2006) now armed this time with my David Lockhart story behind her an Sony/Bmg Money behind her , she got press and TV coverage because of her so called unique story ( My David Lockhart Story )
    Then with the frenzy around the story it created mass interest from the showbiz world , press n media .
    She then Re-released her first time around flop single after all the interest in my David Lockhart story she had stole and it went to number one ( there are rumours and news on the internet that her record label bought up the singles to make sure she got there , with many people multiple buying the single )
    My David Lockhart story put them in a powerful position so they had to take this opportunity to get her to number one in the uk singles chart , if they didn`t they would have lost a lot of money potential on their new artist Sandi Thom .
    My David Lockhart story is now snowballing Sandi Thom an Sony/Bmg to market her around the world as it becomes more powerful .

    The music industry is heavily powered by the media ,
    without my story they could not have gotten anywhere as it already showed when her single flopped the first time round .
    Yet armed with my story the media and press went wild .
    They had to have a unique story ( my David Lockhart car to computer to music industry elite was the perfect medicine for them to use )

    How much has she earned from stealing the David Lockhart story ?
    How much more is she to earn in the future from the David Lockhart story ?
    How much money has she stolen from David Lockhart`s pockets ?
    How much has she cost David Lockhart in loss of earning`s from his story ?
    When is Sandi Thom going to pay David Lockhart for stealing his story ?
    When is Sony/Bmg going to pay David Lockhart for stealing his story ?
    There is talk of her becoming a millionaire , is David Lockhart to see any of this money ?
    Is David Lockhart to become a millionaire through this ?
    These are the questions I have as I`m David Lockhart .

    I David Lockhart haven`t seen a penny or a mention from Sandi Thom or Sony/Bmg to this day .

    Sandi Thom has been called a fraud in some news stories , yet she smiles to the public like a true thief .
    She is making a mockery out of the public as she steals the David Lockhart story , which is mine as my name is David Lockhart .

    This is just as bad as thief stealing a person`s bag on the street and running of with the contents to use as their own .

    So far Sandi Thom an Sony/Bmg have been pulled up for huge flaws in their stories ,
    Yet the huge parts she an Sony/Bmg haven`t been shown up for is stealing My David Lockhart story .

    Just cause I`m a penniless man from Scotland it don`t mean you can steal from me and get away with it Sandi Thom an Sony/Bmg .

    I want my story back to me David Lockhart where it always belonged before it was stolen from me .
    I also want what I`m owed from Sandi Thom an Sony/Bmg.


  60. pr for Joe’s Pub, New York August 12, 2006

    It was during the cold, short days at the start of 2006 that Sandi Thom had her Eureka! moment. Instead of driving to gigs up and down the country with her band in her clapped-out car, as she had done for years, the singer from Scotland resolved to try a different approach. She bought a webcam, and announced a run of 21 shows to be performed on consecutive nights during February and March in the basement of her flat in Tooting, South London. The audience capacity in the flat itself was limited to just six people. But the half-hour shows were to be broadcast, free of charge, via her website. The first night, 70 people tuned in to watch, the next night it went up to 670. And by the middle of the second week she was performing to an audience of 70,000. By then, the suits from every major record label had visited the flat to see the show for themselves. What they heard was a singer with a sensational voice – strong and expressive enough to fill the largest theatres, but also warm and soulful enough to win over hearts and minds in the most intimate of settings. All the record companies put in offers, and a fortnight after finishing her virtual tour Thom signed a recording contract with RCA Records in the UK, live in front of her webcam audience. Even before her debut album, Smile… It Confuses People was released overseas, preceded by a smash single, “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker,” which went to #1 on British Charts. Sandi Thom was a phenomenon. The company is calling it “the first webcast signing in major record label history” and she has become the overnight internet star who won a global audience and a megabucks handshake thanks to her investment in a $100 webcam.


  61. […] And before you hate me for calling her out, check out one of my sources for that post. One of the commentators is now saying that her story about becoming famous doing webcasts was stolen, as well. […]

  62. Small World Says:

    Musician Rachel Fuller posted about this on her blog in May. The message has since been removed, but last week Fuller told reporters that Sandi Thom didn’t do a live webcast. Pre-recorded tapes were streamed. Not only was there not an audience, the webcasts were not even live. Fitting. Coincidentally or not, Rachel Fuller’s boyfriend, Pete Townshend, is published by P&P/Windswept, the same publishers behind Thom and her songwriter John McLaughlin.

    http://rachelfuller.blogspot.com/2006/05/truth-will-out.html

    Monday, May 22, 2006
    The truth will out.
    OK, string session changed to Friday, more on that later.

    I have kept quiet about something for a while. I now feel i should at
    least air my side.
    Sandi Thom – webcast girl phenomenon.
    I’m going to give you guys the facts.

    In September of 2005, i started doing my live webcast “IN THE ATTIC’
    from our studio in Twickenham in an attempt to find an audience for my
    work.
    In December of 2005, i hosted a live music webcast called “BASEMENT JAM”
    from the basement of the studio.
    In January of 2006, a DVD show reel of “IN THE ATTIC” was given to a TV
    packager.
    Who happened to be working with Sandi Thom, an artist who had already
    recorded an album and had a publishing deal.

    The story broke about “this girl doing webcasts from her basement to
    hundreds of thousands of people”….

    Strange coincidence.

    From horses mouths, i have heard the following things

    “All the figures were made up”
    “It was a PR stunt”
    “It was all lies!”

    To purchase bandwidth for 500 live streams costs at least $55,000 a
    year.

    Now, i think the story might blow open. But her single has entered the
    charts at No.15, and some people predict it will go to No.1.

    How do i feel about it now?

    I think i am on a different journey.

    The reality is that i am about to embark on a world tour with In The
    Attic, webcasting live from my silver airstream. The show is set to go
    to TV. I’m looking forward to it. Its going to be seriously fucking good
    fun.

    I think there are some scoundrels in the world. Alway have been, always
    will be.

    I wish Sandi the best of luck as an artist, and hope that if the story
    does blow open, she will not suffer as a result of it.

    It’s all good.

    RachelF.xxx

  63. proofofthepudding Says:

    Pop

    Sandi Thom ** (two stars out of five)

    Leadmill, Sheffield

    Dave Simpson
    Thursday July 20, 2006
    The Guardian

    Finding a new base(ment)… Sandi Thom. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

    Four months since Sandi Thom’s famous “21 nights from Tooting” webcasts
    from her basement won her a major record deal and a number one album,
    Thom is again tucked away in an intimate venue. Still, at least the
    smallest room in Sheffield Leadmill has salubrious delights beyond what
    her PR bumf once over-descriptively called her “piss-stained basement”.
    But while she may have hacked it on a laptop, even in a venue this size
    Thom seems out of her depth.

    Struggling to dominate the stage, she confesses: “I feel a bit pukey.”
    It’s difficult not to have sympathy, but a seated percussionist and
    bassist don’t help create atmosphere.

    A more uncomfortable truth is that Thom simply doesn’t have the songs. A
    cover of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy pads out an alarmingly thin set. Steve
    Wonder’s Livin’ for the City is dedicated to “the entire population of
    Sheffield for being such a wonderful city”, but is so flat you wouldn’t
    blame them all for immediately relocating to the country. Time, a
    disarmingly tender, delicate song sung Kathryn Williams-style, offers
    hope of a new direction, but everything else is sung in a faux Stevie
    Nicks American accent. Although her hit single I Wish I Was a Punk
    Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) yearns for the days when music “meant
    something”, Thom is a product of our age. She celebrates being “on the
    Virgin playlist!” and shouts “Make some noise if you’re having a good
    time!” in a song about loneliness.

    There must be hundreds of similarly so-so Jonis and Alanises dotted
    around the country without the internet access Thom enjoyed. She’ll be
    remembered for that, but unless there are serious readjustments to her
    set, the moment may already have passed.

    · At Islington Academy, London N1, (0870 771 2000), tonight, then
    touring.

  64. someone who knows Says:

    Did you know that Sandi Thom’s mother owns & runs 2 Supertrawlers in china catching Horse Shoe Macrel?

    Grew up in a small fishing village eh?. yeah, one with multi-million dollar Supertrawlers!

  65. million dollar baby Says:

    aye, and Sandi Thom’s step-dad, Angus Sinclair, is the multi-millionaire who “discovered” Thom and signed her to his Legacy Records before she claimed to have no money to tour

  66. bluenay Says:

    there’s Terra Naomi… she did that “virtual summer tour” thing, from her apartment in this case. I’m not sure that was PR… she’s been all over youtube and myspace, has a website now, she seems popular enough. I believe now after a while she as a cd (independent?).

    Did they steal her story? (hmm)

    //not really a fan, have just heard two or three of her songs, decent.


  67. even with the hype there was only maybe 30 people at Sandi Thom’s Varsity Theater show in Minneapolis

    how much money will they throw into trying to make her a star?

  68. Coolio Says:

    The Lass is now being sold on TV in between ads for toilet cleaner and deoderent. The powers that be ie the record company are pulling all the stops out to get the public to buy. This is most sinister aspect of the whole tawdry mess. The constant pushing of a mediocre artist (at best) because they have invested money in her and the degree that they will go to for the want of profit. In the end its all to late. there may be one more hit single but thats only because of Ms Thom being sold like a can of baked beans in the ad breaks on prime time TV but after alls said and done she really hasnt the looks or talent to become what her record company were hoping for…………sad but true

  69. Coolio Says:

    Looks like the show is over folks, The new single didnt even enter the top 20 and is slipping down the charts as we speak. Hopefully the folks at RCA who signed her now realise that the the so called power of the internet which supposedly made Sandi Thom has ended up being her downfall as the true scale of their decieit was circulated around the planet by the very same medium, Goodbye Sandi.


  70. Just found your blog on Google and really enjoyed your writing style. Picked up a couple of great ideas so I’m adding your blog to my Bloglines account to share with others.

  71. Music Master Says:

    Personally, I thought this music was the best. My forum has been packed with new age comments. Sort of cool!!

  72. Big Pink Says:

    Read all this with much interest and agree that sandi thom is another case of someone with small talent and record company pressure on buying public. A terrible waste of money that could have been spent on much more deserving artists

  73. Heh Says:

    Honestly who gives a crap, if you like her songs buy her album and listen to it. If you don’t like her songs don’t. Who cares how she got famous (or whether in fact she id famous) the only people I can see caring about that kind of things are people that only listen to music to be cool


  74. […] You broke the Sandi Thom fraud story wwaayy before mainstream media caught on. […]

  75. DudeAsInCool Says:

    Let’s face it, breaking in t o the mainstream recording industry is next to impossible these days. I’m not sure who came up with the marketing plan, but does it really matter when an artist is up against the kinds of odds they are? We have a recording industry which is still wedded to big name acts from years ago and is just learning what the hell MySpace is–they might give a new artist a shot, but if they do and they dont perform, its out the door forever. We have amainstream radio that plays the same crap over and over…god knows how they pick it? And distribution is controlled by Target and Walmart. More power to any artist who can break through a mainstream media which just publishes the press releases in concert with a cd’s release.

  76. Bozzo Says:

    The whole point of this debate is that Sandi thom was in colusion with the recording industry, it wasnt about her breaking through. It was the same recording industry along with the artist scamming the public into believing that here was a undiscovered talent who was breaking rules, It wasnt, she wasnt!. We were being force fed AGAIN by RCA, buying their product while they smiled like sharks behind it all. Neither Sandi Thom or RCA have anything to crow about, they were caught fair and square and yet still deny it. Have a look at any interviews sandi has done with the british press recently, she is sullen ,aggresive and still defensive over the whole fiasco and comes acrooss as a spoilt brat. The reviews for live gigs are terrible and her second single bombed yet is still being advertised on tv weeks after it plummeted out of the charts……RCA realise they have a no hoper on their hands and are flogging the woman on tv like a second hand car dealer sale

  77. SellingbythePound Says:

    Sandi Thom is manufactured product. Thea Gilmore, who formerly shared manager Ian Brown with Thom, says as much in recent interviews. There’s no “artist” power in evidence. Her songs are written by slick pros, her “band” isn’t even heard on her album, etc. etc. It’s a sad case of industry spin and a waste of good money. No wonder the record labels are dying.

  78. pookie Says:

    ive tried and searched but to no avail. can anyone tell me axactly what thom claims to have written and what the lyrics mean directly from the author. And if no one knows who the author is (including thom) she may as well say so.


  79. […] out last year, that pretentious, condescending songstress Sandi Thom.   What a fraud SHE turned out to be, […]

  80. alelaycle Says:

    Привет.
    Продаю персональный сертификат WebMoney за $99.
    Можете проверить: WMID 322973398779 Redfern
    Всё чисто, не одной жалоб. Сделан на утерянные документы. Всё законно.
    Если нужно, то есть сертификаты ещё.
    Стучацо в личную почту на Вебмани.

    Это не спам. Не пишите на мой WMID жалобы в арбитраж Вебмани.

  81. alelaycle Says:

    Привет.
    Продаю персональный сертификат WebMoney за $99.

    Можете проверить: WMID 322973398779 Redfern

    Всё чисто, не одной жалоб. Сделан на утерянные документы. Всё законно.
    Если нужно, то есть сертификаты ещё.
    Стучацо в личную почту на Вебмани.

    Это не спам. Не пишите на мой WMID жалобы в арбитраж Вебмани.

  82. John Says:

    Really cool site! Keep going on!

  83. RobertB Says:

    This lady just wont accept its over. She had to cancels her irish gigs because hardly anyone wanted to see her, She then had to cancel all but one of her german gigs for the same reason, the one she did play was a festival so no one had actually paid just to see sandi thom. Even in Scotland her home country, she has cancelled a gig at the edinburgh festival in a really small venue because again no one wanted to see her play.
    Now she is judging Baby contests (i kid you not) in her home town and doing everything and anything to stay in the press, she is doing more charity gigs than bob geldorf has ever done just to keep her name in the public domain…her latest album and single completely bombed and its now just an embarresment watching this woman flounder under the publics eye as she performs party tricks so we dont forget her small talent


  84. Hello. I hope you dont mind me commenting here. I wanted to contact you but I cannot find your contact info. I want to subscribe to your blog for updates but I can’t find your RSS subscription button. Please assist. Thanks.


  85. […] this may not have been all that it appears according to this site. Bummer! I loved the story of the chick with moxie making her own way in the world, the independent […]

  86. annalise Says:

    to sendi thom i am your bigts fan i am going on this cemp cam i sing you song or i wish i was a pornkrt with farith in my hir or not from your biggis fan annalise chenae heinemann and ps i live in Quilpie and i am 10 yers old and i live with my femimy

  87. annalise Says:

    to sendi thom i love your siging are you a pop star and y are you not on the musci chennl eny more


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