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It was April 2009 when The Gregory Brothers — then a fledgling folk/soul band comprising brothers Michael, Andrew, and Evan, complemented by Sarah, who literally married into the group — debuted the first iteration of their Auto-Tune the News series. It’s a wonderful example of media convergence: the brothers record television news as it occurs; insert clips of themselves in a succession of zany costumes while singing parodic tunes over footage and commentary that is freeze-framed, sped-up, or repeated; process the audio tracks of political luminaries and newscasters through the Auto-Tune technology popularized by T-Pain; and post the results on their YouTube channel.

Previously, the group’s best effort at rising to prominence entailed getting laughed out of an American Idol interview. Now ATN’s most popular episode is approaching 3 million views on the group’s channel alone; additionally their videos are simultaneously hosted on the Barely Political channel, which brought the world Obama Girl. The Gregory Brothers have since been featured on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show. They obtained a record deal and released an album in July, and they’ve become sought-after session musicians, lending their skills to projects helmed by wunderkind Sufjan Stevens. Even T-Pain himself — an artist who demonstrates a remarkable capacity for self-parody — is now in on the joke.

So the Gregory Brothers effectively force the likes of titans Joe Biden, Michele Bachmann, and Katie Couric to sing their songs for the world to hear; their meta-commentary supplants the original commentary that it pillories.

Auto-Tune #9 debuted yesterday: