Atomic Tom Goes Viral With iPhone ‘Concert’ on NYC Subway


Atomic Tom’s engineered-to-go-viral subway performance video caused quite the stir this week. The whole thing is pretty harmless and inconsequential, but music blogger Bob Lefsetz threw a fit about it the other night in his newsletter.

I didn’t sit through the whole damn clip. Because the song didn’t hook me. What’s worse, it looked exactly like what it was, Brooklyn hipsters trying to goose their career, accelerate themselves into the mainstream. But I thought the point of being from Brooklyn was to be outside the game, to be hip and ahead of the game, to wait until the public catches up with you!… I’m just glad their stuff was pilfered, so I don’t have to listen to these third-rate bards play music, so they can go back to school and be professionals and contribute to society.

The comment provoked a seemingly endless discussion about the authenticity of the video and the merit of the band. Some excerpts:

Via Shari Reich (the band’s manger):

I will say that the video going around is 100% authentic and was not thought up by anyone from our label at all. We made the video for 0 dollars. Were just a NYC band trying to make it. The video was edited on 3 iphones.

Via Robal Johnson:

Is Bob Lefsetz a hip music blogger or just some old bitter dude?

What kind of crazy, fucked up world do we live in, where a seemingly hip music blogger can rant weekly about the lack of creativity and passion in today’s music and then write a nasty, unprovoked, and slanderous post about a kick ass rock band from Brooklyn? That video was shot in real-time on the B train heading over the Brooklyn Bridge. It took three takes and the people on each train absolutely loved being a part of it. There was no press, no label support, no corporate funding. It was just a bunch of creative people being creative.

Via anonymous:

Did you notice these clowns are on Universal Republic? Of course there was a machine behind this! And this “stunt” has somehow catapulted them to the front page of iTunes? Even though their album was released back in July? I guess their music sucked and this is how they try to get attention. Thanks for exposing this bullshit. Needless to say, I will never be listening to their music.

Via Greta Link:

The idea that they’re trying to promote here — “Hey, we’re regular joes in a band, look at us poor musicians, got our gear stolen so we’re gonna be cool, innovative and viral” is about as real as Taylor Swift is a home-bred country gal who got to the top from sheer talent (like her label would like us all to believe). Glad I don’t buy the hype anymore.

Personally, I haven’t watched the video in its entirety. But I downloaded the song and it’s pretty damn good. It’s all about the music, right?

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Image via Christopher Harte