Though this is being discussed in other threads, I though it might be best to have a specific topic dedicated to this, as the issue involves one particular label and their clients - who happen to be two of the biggest young music stars in the world right now.
Many fans and autograph collectors were excited to see Lana Del Rey and Demi Lovato offering autographed preorders at rock bottom prices, seemingly a gift to their devoted fans as well as a great promotional tactic to boost album sales. Of course, these were enthusiastically purchased quickly, with Lana's preorders selling out in a matter of about a day. Strangely, sales for Demi's preorders continued for weeks afterward without being cut off, raising question of how a huge superstar who does not like signing tons of autographs planned to tacking what was presumably tens of thousands of orders (these included autographed CDs, vinyl and, most recently, posters priced at only $10).
After weeks of delays, the Lana Del Rey orders began to ship. After hearing one fan contend that the UK signed CDs appeared to be a mixture of authentic Lana signatures and questionable signatures, I was not thrilled when I saw what Universal Music Australia sent me (scan pictured). Without extensive knowledge of Lana's signature, the fact that the signature was slowly drawn in what appeared to be an attempt to duplicate a signature immediately raised red flags. This was certainly not the signature of a young woman who has signed her named numerous times over the past few years. After consulting with a few longtime fans - a couple of whom had met Lana many times - there was little doubt that this autograph was not from the artist herself.
In the following weeks, the UK lithographs became to ship, just before the US releases (CDs and lithos). The immediate consensus was the same - they were not authentic. Many fans with little to no knowledge of what to expect or look for were oblivious to this (or perhaps didn't really care), while others raised immediate questions on social media. Something was decidedly off.
Meanwhile, the pessimism among some fans crept up regarding how UMG would handle Demi's preorder. If they shipped quickly, they would almost assuredly be autopens or preprints. If Demi actually tried to tackle all of these, it would likely take months - maybe longer. It would appear that the answer is the former. One fan immediately ID'ed the Demi Lovato signatures as distinct autopen patterns (I believe two have been identified thus far) as the first shipments arrived.
Both Universal and Lana have contested that the signatures are real, which, in my opinion - and that of others - is a pure tactic to cover their backs. Personally, I don't appreciate big companies and big artists using such low tactics to pad album sale stats. And someone clearly didn't put on their thinking cap when considering the possible PR fallout. It never ceases to blow my mind how many of these young, egocentric musicians say they care about their fans while treating them like they're idiots. I've seen enough of it over the years to have virtually no tolerance for it. Fraud, deception and greed should and will be called out.
Considering the source I think it is worse.
I had enough of dealing with Universal and am just throwing the CDs (minus the booklet of course) on Ebay. On the other hand, that's probably what they were hoping for.
I have just received my Lana Del Rey lithographs after waiting for a long time. I am not sure whether they are signed by her after all this controversy.
I came across this photo of her signed CD booklets and it appears that she does not really have a consistent autograph. There is a large variation in her autographs, perhaps this could explain why they look so different in everybody's lithographs?