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The Ting Tings: Up from 'Nothing'

It's become common for bands to sign record deals based on a couple of demos they post on MySpace. Some acts are even gaining worldwide fame without leaving their living rooms.

The Ting Tings, the English electro-pop duo of Katie White and Jules De Martino, had recorded three songs when they posted two on their MySpace page. They quickly attracted buzz, and by the band's third gig together — held in their living room — radio stations were saying, "The Ting Tings are having a house party."

"And then the fourth one, actually the whole U.K. music industry sort of squashed themselves into where we would normally sit down on the floor and watch TV, and they sat there," White says. "And it was really surreal."

Those songs on MySpace led to a major-label record deal, and turned into a full-fledged album called We Started Nothing, out today in the U.K. You might have heard "Shut Up and Let Me Go" on a recent iPod commercial.

We asked the Ting Tings to tell us what it was like to go from nobody to somebody in just one year.

"The second house party we did," De Martino says, "the first one cost us money, 'cause we put on beer for our friends — and the second time we decided to... We found this old TV, and we emptied out the contents of it and put a big arrow and a hole on top saying, 'Donations for Beer.' And after the party the next day, we opened the TV and it was £130 in there, which is about $260, I think, [in the U.S.]. And that was the first time we felt that we were actually a band."

White says that she and De Martino didn't post their music with viral marketing in mind.

"I think songs just travel sometimes," White says. "It's a nice feeling to know that people can still like a song and not know where it's come from. It's not been pushed toward them or anything, but it tends to sort of chase up because it means something to them. So it's a nice feeling."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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