The music industry may have its problems with the declining sales of CD’s and business complications from Apple’s upcoming iRadio. Regardless, the medium of television still seems to surprise in promoting musical artists. When the Wall Street Journal reported this year that live performances on TV music award shows are now boosting online downloads of songs, what does it portend for how music will be promoted on TV in the future?
Will the Music Video Return?
A missing piece of TV lore has been the decline of the televised music video that used to put the ‘M’ in MTV and the ‘V’ in VH1. With music videos being mostly online nowadays, will they go back to TV now that proof is available that music fans watch TV? Of course, live performance on a music award show is much more immediate. But those performances could easily be re-run in a music video format to incite more downloads. Most live award show performances have such big-budget production values that they look like a music video.
The Increase in Music TV Specials
The above Wall Street Journal report also says that a recent TV special with Tim McGraw and country star guests helped downloads surge for a McGraw-Taylor Swift duet of “Highway Don’t Care.” In a much earlier era of TV, music specials featuring music stars of the day were broadcast more commonly and helped drive sales immeasurably back when music stores existed. In recent years, however, music specials have typically been relegated as holiday broadcasting when everyone is home watching.
Will this also change in the near future? When networks land A-list music talent that brings in A-list talent as guests, the download sale surges may end up being a shared event among the artists.
Did “American Idol” Bring Television Back?
No matter what people think of “American Idol”, it might have helped push television back to being a viable form of music marketing. And the teen market shouldn’t be underestimated, because “Idol” helped bring that demographic to watching TV again on a regular basis. When it started happening more than a decade ago, everyone thought the Internet would eventually be the only medium where music would be decently marketed.
The Consolidation of TV with Internet
It’s obvious now that the line between Internet and TV have blurred. With Smart TV’s now widely available, someone can watch a music performance on TV and download the song immediately through their TV browser. Regardless, many people still separate the Internet from their TV’s while using both concurrently to create reaction to live, televised events.
Clearly, though, marketing yourself as a musical artist on TV will be as important as social media in any future music marketing plan. It may explain why so many still audition for “Idol”, even if they’d rather lose just to gain the publicity and a possibly better recording contract.