Welcome to the CNN Grill - the SXSW headquarters for the cable news network, and a place for hungry reporters and guests to grab a bite, schmooze and today a presentation on the Future of News, led by KC Estenson, senior vice president and general manager of CNN.com.
Estenson gave an exciting glimpse into the future of news -- seamless integration between your iPad, iPhone, Google TV platform and desktop PC, providing you with the ability to customize your own CNN stream, and pause or resume high-definition video where you left off on another device. Their platform, iReport, delivers a platform for user-generated news reporting. And a new feature being rolled out this summer will allow readers to submit video comments on news stories.
But of course, the music world is no stranger to the world of user-generated content, where artists and bands have heavily used social media and viral videos to promote themselves.
One such example is the band Atomic Tom, a Brooklyn-based quartet who made a surprise appearance at the end of Estenson's presentation, performing their song "Take Me Out" using their iPhones to mimic their musical instruments (see video below). The song gained popularity after the guitar player's (Eric Espiritu) brother recorded and uploaded the band performing on the New York Subway.
"We put the video up Friday, and by Wednesday we had 2 million views", says Tobias Smith, the band's drummer. The fictional premise of the video was that the band's instruments were stolen, and thus the necessity to use virtual iPhone instruments. "It was a false premise for the purpose of being fun", states Smith."
The YouTube video was really the catalyst in us gaining popularity", said lead singer Luke White. "We ultimately began touring because of the YouTube video."
The video now has over 4 million views.