After surrendering its music label to Sony, CBS is once again in the music business. CBS had found it increasingly difficult to arrange for new artist/song “visibility” in the highly competitive American market. Sony had folded the CBS label into its own, and has since failed to use the label name for any constructive purpose.
It’s a new day in marketing, however, and CBS officials have raised their expectations of artist exposure and popularity. CBS plans to play music from the CBS label as soundtrack pieces for the shows airing on CBS, CW (formerly the Warner Brothers Network, WB), and other CBS owned stations. Primetime television soundtracks have exploded onto the scene within the past few years. The first show I remember seeing that both played real songs and promoted the artists was the alien / sci-fi show, Roswell, on the WB some five or six years ago. Perhaps there were other shows doing the same thing at the same time or before, but I cannot recall.
In addition to television promotion, CBS will make label music available for download via Apple’s iTunes and also on CBS’ own website. More plans and strategies are expected to help the now fledgling sub-company get back on its feet.
Television companies seem to hold a serious edge right now compared to all other non-radio forms of music advertising. People watch their favorite shows, and a good producer will tie in good music to enhance the feel and attachment from viewer to storyline. A well-placed ad at the end of each program (as done by Roswell) informing the audience of the name of the songs and artists included in the episode naturally persuade people to want that music.
I bought Remy Zero’s album The Golden Hum, strictly because the song “Save Me” is the title song on the Smallville soundtrack. Of course, I previewed the rest of the album before purchasing because I can always buy songs individually on iTunes if the rest of the album isn’t as good. But this album had enough to persuade me to buy.
It all began with watching a television show, and recognizing that the title song was a real purchasable song (though I don’t recall ever seeing advertising on the band during the show – I probably just wasn’t paying attention). I actually searched iTunes for Smallville because I wanted that song. That is the power of television episode soundtrack advertising.