'Glee' spells glee for musicians, brands
The hit TV series "Glee" is blazing a trail for bands and brands to work more closely together to help the music industry find new revenue sources and boost artists' careers, experts say.
Placing music in TV series, advertising campaigns or video games -- commonly known as synchronization -- has become increasingly popular as the music and advertising sectors cope with the global economic downturn.
"Ten to fifteen years ago the synchronization business was a very ancillary part of our business, but that was before the music business crashed," said PJ Bloom, music supervisor for "Glee," a Fox comedy-drama series with a storyline that centers on a glee club in an American high school.
"Now everybody wants to use this as a platform and an income stream," said Bloom during the annual the MIDEM music industry conference on the French Riviera that concludes on Wednesday.
"In a lot of ways it's the income stream and the only income stream for a lot of people," added Bloom, who has worked on a number of other hit films and television series including "CSI: Miami" and "Nip/Tuck".
Synchronization has become so important to the music industry that MIDEM this year lauched its first-ever MIDEM Sync day, offering up-and-coming and established artists an opportunity to partner with MTV to create original music for television shows.
Ogilvy, a major advertising agency, meanwhile came to Cannes to find music that could make freshness an aural experience to accompany an upcoming global campaign for a fabric softener.
Being selected to head up a big ad campaign can be a springboard to stardom, as seen when Somali rapper and songwriter K'naan's remixed song "Wavin' Flag" was picked as Coca-Cola's 2010 football World Cup anthem.
"You only have to look at the association of a great artist, a great multinational group and the world's most popular sport to understand the potential upside of bringing together the music community and international brands," said MIDEM director Dominique Leguern.
Partnerships between artists and consumer brands such as toy-maker Mattel, French cognac group Hennessy and Germany's trendy Diesel clothing range seek to work to everyone's benefit.
At Diesel, an interactive video that doubles as a music video for musician Josep Xorto's debut single, "A Hundred Lovers", has notched up millions of views, making it a win-win for all concerned, Diesel's Stefano Taboga told a packed conference here.
But it's not only big players who benefit from synchronization.
Social gaming -- an industry worth 800 dollars million alone in the United States -- also promises financial rewards to musicians.
"In 2010 alone Facebook games continued to grow and mobile is becoming a bigger part of the equation," Charles Hudson told participants at a MIDEM conference about opportunities in social music gaming.
Even small record labels such as France's Last Exit Records are earning around 80 per cent of their business from TV and film synchronization deals in Britain and the United States, Last Exit's Damien Litaud told AFP.
Synchronization is also helping record sales. Sales of "Glee" versions of well-known songs have been hugely successful and in turn, have fuelled sales of the originals, Bloom told AFP in an interview.
"People love the music and are voraciously buying it and no one is more surprised than me," Bloom said.
"Glee" has featured music by artists as varied as The Supremes, Olivia Newton-John and Britney Spears, and more recently some of the biggest names in the music business have sought to appear on the show.
And while Cold Play refused to let Bloom use "Viva La Vida" when "Glee" was getting off the ground, things are different now.
"Since then, Gwyneth Paltrow has been on the show and Chris Martin contacted us to say that he would be delighted to have a song in 'Glee' too," he said.
© 2011 AFP