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.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “US Immigration Office Unable To Understand Internet Popularity”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Simon says:

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 ( 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.

Shohat says:

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”.

Danny says:

Re: 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.

Josh says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:


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…”

mike weber (profile) says:

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…)

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...