In Which ‘BriTunes’ Enters Our Lives

At first glance, BriTunes—the online-only music-interview series hosted by NBC News’s Brian Williams—seems to be an elaborate, and rather masterful, hoax. There’s, you know, the name itself. There’s the fact that Williams, though known for his News Anchor Gravitas, is also known for his goofy—and occasionally even self-deprecating—sense of humor. And the fact that the introduction to the BriTunes series notes that, through it, the musicophilic newsman will be following new and noteworthy music groups “through their journey”—a phrase that, in these cynical times of ours, tends to be used un-ironically only on the Hallmark Channel and the occasional episode of Oprah.

Even more hoax-worthy is the fact that BriTunes’s inaugural interview, of the Brooklyn band Deer Tick, seems to be straight out of The Daily Show (BriWi: clad in a Brooks Brothersy sweater and collared shirt combo, perched on a cushy leather chair in what looks to be a 30 Rock green room; his subjects: clad in flannel and jeans, and crammed awkwardly onto a couch). At one point, the anchorman marvels—of the song “Dirty Dishes”—that “the lyrics are really interesting, as a piece of work, to read.”

So: ironic, right? Wouldn’t it have to be?

But, no, it is not. BriTunes is…real. All. Too. Real.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.