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MySpace phenomenon, my arse

Many, many years ago – in the mid 90s – I was in a band with a chap called Mark. Mark knew a girl called Tippi – they were from the same bit of Scotland – and she annoyed him immensely: she was one of those “I want to be famous at all costs” types, and at the time she was apparently modelling herself on Natalie Imbruglia.

After numerous style changes, Tippi was signed to a Scots management firm who put her records out on their own label. When she murdered The Blue Nile’s Tinseltown in the Rain (a dancey single in 2002 which, incidentally, attracted some particularly transparent astroturfing on Amazon), Mark was so upset that his large intestine attempted to throttle his brain. I’m quite sure that Tippi’s 2004 direction – a love of Led Zep and AC/DC producing music that sounded like, er, Sheryl Crow and The Bangles – caused Mark to hurl his naked body onto broken glass and rusty nails.

He’d have been really pissed off if he’d read this week’s Sunday Times “Ecosse” section: Tippi’s back, this time as singer with MySpace garage rock “phenomenon” The Hedrons. But I’m not just posting this to annoy Mark (although that’s a big motivator) but also to point out that whenever you see a story about a MySpace phenomenon, it’s usually bollocks.

Rather than coming from nowhere and building an online buzz, Tippi and her pals are signed to No Half Measures management, a very good management company indeed, and the band’s success so far is due to boss Dougie Souness’s contact book and Tippi’s previous life as a Weller-supporting “what style of music is popular this week, boss?” solo artist. MySpace is a red herring: yet again, it’s being used to put a grass-roots veneer on a very polished and very professional PR strategy.

Remember, pop kids: if it says MySpace, it’s from The Man!