The Power of PR and Buzz -- Sandhi Thom
A great deal of press exploded when it was announced that Sandhi Thom, an artist who was webcasting basement-based gigs to over 100,000 users online, was signed to Sony BMG. She quickly became a poster child for home grown artists recording and performing out of garages and basements.
However, it was later revealed that Sandhi had in fact signed a publishing contract with Windswept/Pacific Music Publishing (works with Beyonce and Pete Townsend, an many others) a year earlier, and that her story was created by PR frim Quite Great, whose press releases about her rags-to-riches story were the actual causes of the traffic peaks. I.e. it became a self-fulfilling prophesy.
It's an interesting example of what a smart PR campaign can accomplish, but it's also an example of how the bending of truth can cause a negative backlash. How the press and her fans will react to the news is difficult to tell; we'll see when her first album, is released on June 5th.