US Immigration Office Unable To Understand Internet Popularity

from the wait,-so-you-became-popular-where? dept

In the last few years, we've heard numerous stories of musicians rocketing to stardom, thanks to the internet. In fact, some bands really are coming out of nowhere, with tons of internet support worldwide, even if the band has only been together a short while. Apparently, that's a huge problem for foreign bands looking to tour the US, as the type of visa that US immigration grants to touring musicians requires that those musicians can show that they are "internationally recognized" for a "sustained and substantial" period of time. Unfortunately for internet superstar musicians, US immigration doesn't seem to recognize internet popularity as being "internationally recognized" and the quick rise to popularity hurts on the "sustained and substantial" period of time analysis. The folks in immigration respond that they will consider internet popularity, but since they have no idea if the popularity is real or manufactured, the band needs to prove that the sites that talk about the musicians are popular themselves, first. Even if that's the case, it seems that a few well known UK acts are having an awful lot of trouble getting to the US. Perhaps they should simply show the ticket sales from sold out clubs in the US waiting for them (the article notes that clubs have had to cancel sold-out shows after the musicians were unable to make it to the US). Either way, it's yet another example of how the internet is making old processes obsolete.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Jeff, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:22pm

    if you can show ticket sales for across the world how is that not "internationally recognized". i mean come, on but what can i say i didn't know people were still using immigration with all the holes in the boarder. most people just walk right in like they own the place.

     

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  2.  
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    Jeff, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:22pm

    if you can show ticket sales for across the world how is that not "internationally recognized". i mean come, on but what can i say i didn't know people were still using immigration with all the holes in the boarder. most people just walk right in like they own the place.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:25pm

    Hey guys its the new band the Car Bomb Boys straight out of Iraq. They havnt been around a long time but there are 95358 websites for them. At least they get to tour the united states now.

     

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  4.  
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    Simon, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 12:14am

    Surprised to see Lily Allen named in that article. Sure, she gained popularity on MySpace, but she's got bona fide success in the traditional charts. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lily_allen#Discography) her album was top 20 in the USA (not to mention #2 in the UK). Seems a bit funny that she didn't just submit a copy of the Billboard charts with her application.

     

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  5.  
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    no, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 12:46am

    If the only place you are popular is on the internet, then it doesn't count. That's like saying that "diggnation" has international popularity, just because a bunch of people on the internet might know what it is and who they are. Meanwhile, 99.9% of people on the street would have no idea who you were talking about.

    And really, who cares?

     

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  6.  
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    Shohat, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 1:21am

    Internet popularity

    Internet popularity = microscopic.
    What is popular on the Internet ? Maybe 500,000 know who you are ? If you air once on MTV, then 5,000,000 know who you are .

    Anyway, I think
    "internationally recognized" for a "sustained and substantial" period of time
    means something completely different from "We got 100,000 fans" and "We have been hot for the last 6 months".

     

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  7.  
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    Pavel Gogotsi, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 3:17am

    I actually disagree. Many more people are online now rather than in front of the tv. Also not all countries have MTV so it's easier for people to be online. I think that the internet is definitely a very strong influence and should definately count for something.

     

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  8.  
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    ninjamynci, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 3:18am

    Re:

    It was noted that Lily Allen did have a visa that was revoked. As the article states, "Her manager says he thinks the visa might have been revoked because Ms. Allen had been arrested in London in June after an altercation with photographers."

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 5:52am

    I wonder how much of this is the influence of the big record labels trying to keep out groups that are not under their control. I still think the biggest concern of the record labels is not music downloads, it is loosing control of its stranglehold on the industry.

     

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  10.  
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    Josh, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 6:08am

    More reasons

    Also, just because you're on MTV in front of five million people doesn't meant that four million of those people are just watching you until something better comes on, and most of the rest are watching because their favourite band is up next. If one hundred thousand people are actively watching your video on the internet, it's probably because they really want to.

     

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  11.  
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    bengie, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 6:33am

    people watch T.V. still?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 6:35am

    ICE INS IRS

    Like terrorists are gonna front themselves with a band to get into the US on a 2 week work visa. Its simpler to walk in from Canada or MX. Having worked with ICE (formerly known as INS when we were still a free country) its easy to say they are a mindless moronic gov't agency designed to take money. They are very similar to the IRS, there is no care for the well being of our Country or Citizens.

    "Your papers please..."

     

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  13.  
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    John, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 6:40am

    Bands who ARE internationally recognized have a very hard time getting the visas they need (within a reasonable amount of time) and have to cancel shows. This happens all the time unfortunately.

     

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  14.  
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    Danny, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    I totally think that assertion may be possible. Losing its chokehold on music distribution in the US is one thing they will fight to the death over. If foreign bands (with their foreign recording labels) start coming the the US the US record labels won't have a way to control them...unless they pay Congress to create a few laws that would basically state that any foriegn band that wants to release an album in the US must work with one of the big US record labels.

     

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  15.  
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    RandomThoughts, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 7:01am

    Bands book tours before they get their visas?

    Internet popularity? Look how that turned out for Howard Dean.

     

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  16.  
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    GoblinJuice, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 7:43am

    Just because Omar the Singing Yak is popular in Crapistan doesn't mean we want you in America.

    M'kay? I'm sorry, but yeah.... We full up.

     

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  17.  
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    mike weber (profile), Sep 21st, 2007 @ 11:01am

    As far back as the 70s, if you didn't have an album deal with a major label, you stood a good chance of not getting a US performing artist visa.

    I don't know about recently, but back then the INS basically rubber-stamped the USAian musician unions' decisions, which often looked (at least from the outside, to poor unsophisticated music fans like me) as being not-infrequently influenced by a desire to avoid competition for US bands...

    The Kinks - one of the important English Invasion bands, were banned for some years from the US because an AFM rep disapproved of their "unprofessional conduct" backstage at a NYC gig. (Rumour hath it that the said "unprofessional behaviour" included a debagging-and-tossing-pants-out-the-window epsisode in response to s demand for perfromance dues...)

     

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  18.  
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    Green Card, Jul 11th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Not making a living

    If the only place you are popular is on the internet, then it doesn't count, since you can not make a living only being popular there.

     

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