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Thursday, April 16, 2009
The Susan Boyle story looks more and more legit. This is truly amazing.
However, I still wonder about the Susan Boyle story. As an economist, I wonder how a person with that great of a voice would have to wait to be "discovered" until she was 47 years old. I am a bit skeptical.
Generally, I am confident that labor markets for celebrity are fairly efficient, notwithstanding everybody complaining about how only "pretty people" can be celebrities. For example, it is unlikely that there is another Roger Clemens throwing fastballs in a church league in Wyoming that the MLB Scouts haven't heard about. I will grant that there might be another Roger Clemens throwing fastballs in Wyoming but only because he doesn't want to play in the MLB.
If the Susan Boyle story is true then it is a potentially amazing example of an inefficient market for entertainment labor. People will argue that she was looked over because of her appearance and age, but that is not a good argument. Primarily because with a voice such as hers it is not credible that the entire music industry would have passed on her services and, indeed, after the other night it looks like the industry won't pass on her.
To stay hidden in the shadows for so long required her to intentionally and purposefully avoic being discovered, only singing for her karaoke friends and her ailing mom. Is it possible? Yes. Yet it would seem to violate all sorts of intuition. On the other hand, it might be a huge hoax or social experiment to get us all navel-gazing about how superficial our judgements can be.
The story would then be very similar to this story about violinist Joshua Bell.
I will hold off on judgement or band-wagon-jumping.
More suspicions here
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