A Quite Great spokesman spoke with Dotmusic, disputing claims that their client Sandi Thom’s webcast sessions were orchestrated and figures were inflated for publicity. “As far as we are aware she is a home-grown talent, which is what helped her get a major record deal,” the spokesman insisted. “When we signed her up she had already started using the internet to broadcast her gigs. She has worked hard to get a name for herself and has done everything to secure this deal.”
The article at uk.news.launch.yahoo.com has since been removed.
In a break between the ‘Top of the Pops’ rehearsals, Sandi Thom addressed reports claiming the webcasts had been a PR exercise engineered by her record label. “People are bound to make up little conspiracy theories because we live in a world of hype, so it’s not surprising that some people think this is hype as well,” she told The Glasgow Daily Record in a non-denial denial. “I know the truth and the people around me know the truth. At the end of the day, the song has been a success without no Radio 1 airplay. There is something about the song people love and that’s more important than anything else.” Thom wasn’t then asked to explain how she managed to pay for the equipment and bandwidth necessary to stream to 70,000 or more web concertgoers.
The Sun’s ‘Something For The Weekend’ caught up with Sandi Thom for a Q&A, while again touting her bogus claims of streaming concerts to 70,000 visitors in her basement. Asked whether the internet talk was a marketing ploy, the ‘James Frey of Pop’ responded, “The gigs were not actually marketed and the intention of the gigs was just to build a fanbase. I just wanted to get my music out to people as that is what I enjoy. Using the internet to promote music is the current way to reach people. In the past, you would have toured from town to town.” Read more.
London singer/songwriter Rachel Fuller is blowing the lid off the Sandi Thom basement webcasting fraud, revealing that even the idea behind the scheme which landed Thom headlines around the world, a pair of major label deals, and news that her re-released single is set to jump to #1 in the UK singles chart, was ripped off from her. “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,” Fuller writes in a blogspot.com posting on Monday (May 22). “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.” Fuller has since removed the posting at rachelfuller.blogspot.com.
‘Popworld’ caught up with Sandi Thom for a Q&A and asked the singer what prompted her to webcast her concerts. “Like other artists I’ve done my fair share of touring,” she said. “I do really enjoy doing live gigs, I just kind of thought web casting was a good idea. The amount of money it costs to put on a tour, webcasts are a much cheaper way of performing to people.” But those involved in live streaming of web video would strongly counter claims that providing bandwidth and server load for 70,000 connections as Thom has suspiciously claimed to draw is anything but cheap, shattering those claims into ‘A Million Little Pieces’. Asked how she got such a large amount of people to watch her webcasts, the “James Frey of pop” responded, “I just posted it on my MySpace account and on my website. It was a complete shock how much attention it attracted. During the first couple of gigs there were about 672 watching and I was quite surprised at that. Then it just went out of control.”
Mark Cousins of the Scotsman weighed in on his country’s supposed rags to riches story with Sandi Thom. He writes, “It’s a great story, but there’s been less focus on the true cost of streaming the gigs across the net, through the hiring of Streaming Tank, a professional web company whose other ‘hard-up’ clients include Audi and Nescafé. Also conspicuously absent from reports is the involvement of a London PR firm, a publishing company, a manager and a millionaire-backed indie record label – all of which may have stretched the £78 budget for this ‘DIY’ venture. It seems the only thing missing from the mix prior to the 21-night live webcast was a major label contract and a captivating rags to riches story.”
As more and more people wonder how Sandi Thom was able to stream a webcast of her performances in her basement to as many as 70,000 people (ie. who paid for the $$$$ bandwidth), chartreuse (BETA) examined the singer’s rise to fame, which seems to have been spurred by press releases and media buzz related to her internet claims, not any organic buzz. They write, “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.)” And a Velvet Rope poster found that Thom signed a contract with Windswept/Pacific Music Publishing… last year. More details at chartreuse, Daily Kos, hypebot, and SpinMe.com.
CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips spoke with Sandi Thom about her big break in music thanks to web cam performances on the internet. “We just put it in the basement and started putting out the gigs, and I think the appeal for people was just the simplicity of it all,” Thom said. Read more.
Last week Sandi Thom from the UK signed a deal with RCA/Sony BMG after they saw her performing a web cam. Today an 11 year old boy from Indiana found out that his webcam performance of ‘Breaking Free’ from the double-platinum High School Musical soundtrack had been viewed by the lead singer of the song, Drew Seeley. Tommy2.Net has more details about the boy and a short quote by Drew.
Sandi Thom spoke with The Sun after landing a record deal from RCA/SonyBMG after her Twenty One Nights From Tooting webcam tour from the basement of her London flat. “I studied at Paul [McCartney’s] Liverpool Institute Of Performing Arts,” the singer said. “I asked for his advice and he told me to keep it simple. You can’t get more simple than performing in your own basement. What has happened is amazing. I only went on the internet because I was too skint to put on a proper tour.” Though with a reported 70,000 streaming her performance, skeptics may wonder how she footed the bandwidth bill. Read more.