Television seems to be taking the center spot and is responsible for even driving music sales and exposure for artists. Over the years, labels and publishers avoided TV pacts, but with everyone in the industry looking for new ways of making profits, topped off with radio making its way to a slow death and music videos on MTV and VH1 being more or less rare – TV has now become a fairly important source for labels’ marketing departments.
A good example is when Mamie Coleman, VP of music and production for Fox Broadcasting spread the word to music labels and publishers of the need for a new upbeat tune for its January promotional campaign for American Idol and 24. The overwhelming response is evidence of the big impact of TV on the music production industry.
The profits can be huge. Veterans of American Idol have currently sold close to 40 million records, and have under their belt 60 number one hits and 14 platinum albums – all these are just for one TV show.
However, not all situations are win-win. Music deal-making is extremely complicated, with all parties tussling over the use of music, be it in snippets versus the entire tune, the most crucial of which are those deals that involve the internet and home video rights.
Major labels have so far shunned digital distribution, but now, with the shift in power, some major players have managed to get into the game with very low upfront costs and without the need to make use of manufacturing or distribution infrastructures.
Coleman says, “We have so much direct contact with the labels and publishers now. We are always getting people telling us they have the perfect song for ‘House’ or a great song for ‘Idol’. A lot of labels have performances for us in their offices, and when we like what we hear, we sign a deal right then and there.”