Imagine you’re a relatively unknown band, with just one song languishing on iTunes somewhere below the top 100. You are not where you’d like to be, and after years of hard work, that realization could send you to drink at the bar, cause you to bail, or stimulate waves of creativity. If you truly knew the power of viral video, you’d be brainstorming the latter.
In the case of Atomic Tom, a struggling Brooklyn band, their path to celebrity was paved by a well-crafted trick and an astounding stroke of luck and viral democracy.
When our story starts, they were playing intimate dives in Manhattan. Riffing off a common experience of improvising a solution to a near-disaster problem, one band member thought up a stunt to pretend they lost their instruments, put sound packs under their subway seats, whip out their iPhones and shoot a video. After three takes, they slapped the best one up on YouTube.
Take a look:
Posted on October 14, 2010, ”Take Me Out” by Atomic Tom had 2.4 million hits in one week. Just six days later, there were 294 related posts on Google, 70 articles, and front page coverage from Billboard magazine to The Daily News. When it started going viral, “Take Me Out” even topped Lady Gaga on iTunes! The band was inundated by papparazzi who wanted to be photographed with them. From appearances on FoxTV to Jimmy Kimmel, the party had really begun for Atomic Tom. Now, do you get what I mean by the power of viral video?
- Think about the last time you went into a huge panic over an equipment mishap. How could you have improvised to make it work? Channel your inner screenwriter and take one of those examples to the extreme
- Experiment with home video-making, open an account on YouTube if you don’t have one already, become that digerati who knows something
- Learn to work with what you have, and turn it into something fantabulous. It ain’t the equipment, it’s the attitude
Photo courtesy Creative Commons, William Hook
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