Auto-Tune the News with the Gregory Brothers - US Zeitgeist 2010

Uploaded by zeitgeistminds on 13.09.2010

>>Evan Gregory: Thank you. Thank you. We are collectively the Gregory
brothers. I'm Evan. >>Andrew Gregory: I'm Andrew.
>>Sarah Gregory: I'm Sarah. >>Michael Gregory: I'm Michael.
>>Evan Gregory: The three of us guys are actually really real brothers in real
life. We grew up in Virginia and now we live in Brooklyn, where we met
Sarah, who is now my wife. Thank you very much.
[Applause] >>Evan Gregory: And we -- and we started playing
together as a band about three years ago.
>>Andrew Gregory: On our first big cross-country tour three years ago, we
played to dozens of fans. Our online videos --
>>Evan Gregory: At least two dozen. >>Andrew Gregory: -- got hundreds of views
and by the end of the tour, we'd made thousands of dollars.
[Laughter] >>Sarah Gregory: But despite those exciting
beginnings, we have found ourselves in a really curious position.
We actually just had one of our songs in the Billboard Hot 100, and that is
totally without any sort of major label help. And the "New York Times" just
wrote an article about us, so we're kind of in a daze right now.
Michael, how did it all happen? >>Michael Gregory: Well, it all started like
a year ago, spring 2009. We started "Auto-Tune the News." You just saw
a clip of that where we're taking the news and adding what we thought was lacking.
A baseline. [Laughter]
>>Michael Gregory: It doesn't have a baseline. It needs a beat, a smooth
beat, and it also needs some catchy melody, so you can remember what
they're saying. So as you could see in that clip, Joe Biden
has really become the Beyonce of the executive branch, I'd say.
>>Evan Gregory: Sorry, Obama. >>Michael Gregory: Well, Obama's good too.
He's probably more the Kanye. Half Kanye, half Jay-Z.
>>Sarah Gregory: Couric, of course, is the R. Kelly. Only in her voice, not at
all in any other kind of way. Okay. [Laughter]
>>Sarah Gregory: Let's move on. >>Evan Gregory: So that series, a clip of
which we saw, began to spread virally, it sort of touched a nerve and we
saw some resonance in the desire in the culture to have those melodies in their
news gathering. And there was also some enjoyment on the part of our unintentional
singing stars. So they were happy to spread it as well.
>>Andrew Gregory: So thanks to some of the appearances we had on TV --
MSNBC, Fox News, CBS news -- we started to get a little higher profile. And
from last summer to this summer our users went from zero to more than
200,000. >>Sarah Gregory: More than zero is where we're
at. But this summer we tried to shake it up a little bit. We wanted
to release shorter videos more frequently, and we wanted to shift the limelight
from the already famous newscasters, politicians, and sort of pick
out everyday people who we thought had that amazing unintentional star singing
quality that we're sort of always on the hunt for.
>>Michael Gregory: So at the end of July we saw one of these clips going
viral. It was a news clip, actually, about a crime that happened in Huntsville,
Alabama. And half way through the clip the world was introduced to Antoine
Dodson. (Video)
>>Andrew Gregory: You can hear the passion in his voice. Who can
already hear a melody without any modification? >>Evan Gregory: We should also note everyone
in this incident was okay. But the perpetrator is still on the loose.
>>Michael Gregory: He's already the best lyricist of the decade so far. And
I knew he could also be one of the best unintentional singers of all time. So I
holed up for three days and then put out this song on YouTube.
[Music video] [Laughter]
[Applause] >>Evan Gregory: Thank you. So the "Bad Intruder"
song, as it's known, immediately began to spread quite quickly
at a rate greater than anything we had done to date. It was an online hit for
sure. But we also saw demand from our fans who were clamoring to own this like
any other song. They wanted to jam to it in their car or listen to it at
the gym and while doing dishes, et cetera. So we invited Antoine Dodson to become our
business partner and to take a 50% ownership stake in the song and go to
market together. So we released it on iTunes with 50% of the proceeds going
to Antoine and his family. >>Andrew Gregory: There are a lot of reasons
why we think this blew up bigger than anything we'd done so far. Largely
because Antoine was such as impassioned unintentional singer. At the end
of the song, which you didn't see, we unveiled our secret recipe. Not so
secret. But we gave viewers the chords and lyrics and invited them to make
their own cover. In the last five weeks there have been more than 1,000 covers
and dance remixes. >>Evan Gregory: Crowdsourcing after a fashion.
>>Andrew Gregory: Thousands of them. From all over the world. Each of
those drives more traffic back to the original. Here are a couple of our favorite
covers. [Music videos]
>>Sarah Gregory: We're pretty flattered, to say the least. So the song has
been in the iTunes store about a month. It sold 115,000 copies. It is the first
song that I know of that originated on YouTube and is now nestled safely into
the Billboard Hot 100 with the likes of Usher and Katy Perry and all the names
that everyone in America recognizes. [Applause]
>>Michael Gregory: Now, I think it's a hit single for a good reason. Antoine
really captured America's attention. This is an anthem of righteous anger
directed at an evil doer that we all want to sing along to from time to time.
[Laughter] >>Evan Gregory: That's just a recent slice
of our recent story. It's been a pleasure to be here.
>>> Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, Zeitgeist, thank you, good-
bye. Good-bye!