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The tug of war between fame and infamy

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It’s a constant tug of war for barbershop in the media.Teenagers hands playing tug-of-war with used rope

On the one side, we have great singing appearances such as Musical Island Boys on NBC’s Today show (July 2015), Crossroads on Fox & Friends (April 2015) , Ringmasters on Today (April 2013) , and many other appearances blogged at http://www.barbershop.org/category/press-clippings/  

On the other side are the times when barbershop is played for laughs, such as Peyton Manning’s Directv commercial, or the incongruous humor of The Ragtime Gals, and stretching back to “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” on The Simpsons. (Interesting fact: four kids in music school in Sweden saw that episode, liked it, and decided to give barbershop a try. They named themselves Ringmasters. They got really good.)

A previous reflection on “Who Owns Barbershop” derived from earlier interest in the Ragtime Gals (with whom we maintain a relationship.) Key takeaway: “The next time you say “barbershop quartet” to someone under 30, and he responds, ‘Oh, like Jimmy Fallon!’ reply ‘RIGHT! Wasn’t that fun? We have that much fun every week.’ Then sing a tag, and move on.”

Yes, we are always seeking more ways to get good barbershop in front of audiences. Our YouTube channel continues to grow, with 2.02 million views in 2014, and already more than 2.13 million views in the first nine months of 2015. We’re ramping up our output to get still more high quality music in front of the world on YouTube, arguably the most important video outlet for people under 20.

As the saying goes, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” While neither is a lie, Barbershop is big enough to derive value from both awesome performance and from good-natured humor.

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