When you can’t get your song to break via the thousands of artists attempting fame on YouTube, radio, and other means, going to TV might be the best way to provide the jump you need. So many times, iconic scenes from hit TV shows have been underscored by amazing pieces of music in the past decade. Music has played prominently in shows such as AMC’s The Walking Dead, HBO’s Big Little Lies, FX’s Atlanta, Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, and Showtime’s Shameless among a wide variety.
Music has a role in every TV show in production, some major and some minor. Though getting your song played on TV may not provide a huge boost in sales, it gives an artist access to a large audience that they might not have otherwise. TV-based content is one area that has the contemporary audience’s attention. Though all a song may be is a soundtrack to what is going on on-screen, it can help to broaden the reputation of an artist. The great thing about this is that there are plenty of opportunities to get one’s music used in TV, film, and other visual content. It is well worth a look for artists who are seeking ways to gain new fans.
Due to the fact that TV typically uses only a snippet, this gets around common issues that artists face in getting their song played on radio – a song being too long, a song not having the same production style as other tracks on radio, not being lyrically geared towards general audiences, etc. An artist of any genre can find at least one show where a song of theirs might be appropriate to use. The artists fortunate enough to have their songs included in TV get a captive audience sitting down and listening to their song. If they don’t like it, it doesn’t matter. At least they’re listening to it and at least you’re getting that exposure.
The vast majority of the time, a song feature in a TV show is not going to be significant. Sometimes however, when a piece of music is featured in the right way, it can add a significant boost to one’s sales. The best example of this is Michael Kiwanuka’s Cold Little Heart, which was used for the opening titles of HBO’s Big Little Lies this year. Cold Little Heart’s inclusion saw Kiwanuka’s Pandora adds increase by 1000%, nabbed him an additional 7,000 fans on Facebook, increased his Wikipedia page views by 43,000, and got him an increase in radio play in the United States with month on month increases of as high as 5,000%.
Kiwanuka is among the best case scenarios for music in TV and should not be used as an expectation of what might happen should your song be used.
That said, getting into TV is one way where artists are reaching new fans and growing their engagement. If you are looking to expand your reach and are not finding existing avenues trying to get on radio working, TV is an alternative potentially worth exploring.