September 27, 2008
It wasn’t so long ago that a comprehensive promo plan meant working a record to radio and maybe buying ads in the local alternative paper when a band went on tour. This may sound quaint, or maybe, if your job depends on successfully promoting a band, it sounds blissfully simple.
Today the ways artists can promote their music have proliferated so rapidly that it can be hard to keep up with what’s new — what’s actually cutting through the clutter. It’s in this context that Billboard decided to geek out with 20 promotions and publicity experts across genres and mediums to create the ultimate multimedia metric: Our first Maximum Exposure list.
Ever wonder about eh relative value of a cover of Rolling Stone, a gig on “Oprah” or a song on “Gossip Girl”? Read on.
1: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN A TV AD FOR APPLE
Promo spots provide coveted showcase for music
Patrick Wimberly can’t stop giggling.
The reason for his uncontrollable mirth? The drummer for Brooklyn-based indie rock act Chairlift can’t quite process what he saw on a TV screen the day before. It was a 30-second commercial advertising Apple’s newly launched fourth-generation iPod Nano-with the Chairlift song “Bruises” playing in the background.
Bandmate Aaron Pfenning had a similarly surreal experience. The Chairlift guitarist happened to be at an Apple store in Boulder, Colo., when the “Bruises” spot aired. “I was picking my computer up from the repair desk, and all of a sudden there it was,” Pfenning says. “The employees just swarmed me.”
Wimberly and Pfenning certainly have every right to be euphoric. Chairlift is one of two bands featured in a new set of Apple ads, a platform industry experts surveyed by Billboard view as the best way to expose an act. For Chairlift and Copenhagen-based Asteroids Galaxy Tour, the band featured in a new iPod Touch ad, the question now becomes how they utilize their new exposure to grow and build their careers.
Perhaps it’s best that the bands take a moment to gain some perspective. It’s easy to be blinded by Feist’s blue sequins or the Ting Tings’ dancing silhouettes and think that an Apple ad is the ticket to instant stardom. Even huge stars like U2 and Coldplay have profited from their appearances in Apple spots.
But while pretty much every band that appears in an Apple TV spot enjoys some sort of sales boost, more often than not, the increases are modest. Brazilian band CSS, for example, saw steady increases in album sales after an iPod Touch ad featuring its song “Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex” started running in October 2007, but the sales figures crossed the 1,000-copies-per-week mark only twice and have petered off since then. The band has sold 48,000 albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Likewise, Cut Chemist, which was featured in an iPod Nano ad in September 2006, had a modest boost in sales of single “The Audience Is Listening Theme Song,” but sales of album “The Audience Is Listening” declined from August to October 2006, with the band’s October total of 2,600 copies almost half of its August sales.
For Asteroids Galaxy Tour, the group’s biggest hurdle might be that it doesn’t have a full-length record available. Yael Naim’s single “New Soul” sold 135,000 copies the week after it was used in a MacBook Air commercial that began airing in January. The song has gone on to sell more than 1 million units. Yet her album, which wasn’t released in the United States until late March, entered the Billboard 200 at No. 55 and has sold slightly more than 100,000 copies.
Still, no music promotional platform boasts a perfect batting average. And thanks to the still-massive popularity of the iPod and Apple’s reputation for product innovation, the company’s TV ads provide lucky recording artists with a highly coveted public stage.
According to Kay Quartararo, co-owner of Chairlift’s label Kanine Records, the band’s placement in the new Apple Nano ad was shrouded in secrecy. “We got an e-mail from someone at Apple who wanted to check them out in L.A. in July, and then we didn’t hear anything for a while,” she says. “In mid-August, they called us to get permission to use the song, but they didn’t tell us what the song would be used for or if it would even be used.”
Although the band had received some play on noncommercial station KCRW Santa Monica, Calif.; toured with Ariel Pink; and received some blog buzz, Quartararo says she has no idea how the song came to Apple’s attention. Apple representatives declined to comment.
Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s road to an Apple TV ad was a little more traditional. According to Tim Clark, co-owner of ie Management and a member of the band’s management team, they worked with New York-based synch agency Zync to try to place a song in ads. Clark says that Zync told them there was a possibility of “something special” happening, but they didn’t think it would be Apple-related. Band bassist Lars Iverson says that he was told that Apple “loved” the song a few weeks before the ad launched and that he was sworn to secrecy until the campaign started.
Now that the word is out, though, how will the bands use the campaign to build their careers? Clark says the Asteroids Galaxy Tour plans to remain unsigned and release music on its own. The band will put out a single Sept. 15 in the United Kingdom and has moved up the release date on its EP to mid-October. Clark adds that the band is planning to play gigs in the States in mid-November and will launch a larger tour in 2009. “We have the opportunity to exploit this, but we don’t want to overblow it,” Clark says.
Chairlift also plans to do plenty of touring in the coming months and will be on the road with Yeasayer in October and then head to Europe in November. Quartararo says she’s ordered more copies of the band’s album, “Does You Inspire You,” which is available at iTunes and other download vendors but won’t be released on CD until Sept. 30.
Aside from that, Wimberly says, “We haven’t changed the plan that much.”
And then he giggled again.
2: PERFORMANCES ON “THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW”
Important stage for established stars
Average viewership of about 6.6 million per show
Oprah Winfrey is one of the entertainment industry’s most influential tastemakers. Her sway over book sales is already legendary. But Winfrey also wields a formidable ability to drive music sales.
On Sept. 19, 2007, Reba McEntire, Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson appeared on the show to do interviews and sing their respective songs from McEntire’s “Reba Duets” album, which came out the day before. “Reba Duets” wound up selling 301,000 units in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, McEntire’s best opening numbers in the SoundScan era.
Another big sales gainer was Leona Lewis, who appeared on the show March 17 to perform her single “Bleeding Love.” For the week ended March 23, “Bleeding Love” jumped 8-1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Lewis only the third U.K. solo female performer to top the chart with a debut hit, as digital track sales surged 83% to 219,000.
Although Winfrey’s producers accept unsolicited pitches (Booking Team, Harpo Productions, 110 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, IL 60607), a couple of Jonas Brothers fans took a different tack when they waged a campaign to get the teen sensations on the show through e-mail, YouTube videos and online petitions. They finally prevailed when the sibling trio appeared on the show April 24 to perform its single “When You Look Me in the Eyes.” But the three brothers were apparently preaching to the converted (or to the wrong demographic group): Their appearance didn’t have any discernable impact on sales. -Kamau High
3: SONG IN A TV COMMERCIAL THAT RUNS DURING A SPECIAL EVEN WITH SIGNIFICANT VIEWERSHIP (SUPER BOWL, OLYMPICS, ETC.)
Big telecasts with big viewerships
97.5 million viewers for the 2008 Super Bowl
It’s hard to beat the massive reach of a special TV event like the Olympics or the Super Bowl, but musical performances at such events are usually reserved for big-ticket stars. Still, unsigned singer/songwriter Kina Grannis finagled her way in front of tens of millions of U.S. TV viewers by winning a music contest sponsored by Doritos. The prize? Having her song “Message From Your Heart” featured in a Doritos TV ad that aired during the Super Bowl and scoring a recording contract with Interscope Records. “Message” went on to sell 33,600 digital downloads, an impressive tally for a previously unknown performer.
Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” followed a more traditional route to a synch deal for a TV spot that ran during last year’s Daytime Emmy Awards. When New York-based advertising agency Grey Group began working on a global campaign for Procter & Gamble’s Pantene shampoo, it needed a song to accompany a pastiche of images from previous commercials. Bedingfield fan Thomas Puckett, a global creative director for Grey based in New York, suggested “Unwritten.” -KH
4: SONG FEATURED AS iTUNES’ FREE SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Free songs yield exposure and, sometimes, sales
Earlier this year, rising Bay Area hip-hop producer Checkmate Muzik produced Slo-o’s second album, “Devil on My Back,” for Muzik’s independent label Siege Records. As part of his efforts to shop the album to major labels, Muzik sent “Devil on My Back” to the urban editor at Apple’s iTunes store.
The editor liked the track “Soul on Ice” and took it to fellow iTunes staffers who determine what songs to spotlight. After the staff decided it wanted to offer “Soul on Ice” as a free Single of the Week, Apple contacted Muzik’s distributor Tunecore to secure permission to feature the track. Following the weeklong promo, “Soul on Ice” went on to sell less than 1,000 copies but Muzik says he was pleased by the experience. “The labels are more receptive to listening to what you have to say when you have the free Single of the Week,” he says. “That’s a big deal to them.”
A Single of the Week’s ability to help sales is perhaps best seen on album sales. After We the Kings’ “Check Yes Juliet” was chosen in February as a free Single of the Week, sales of the band’s self-titled debut album on S-Curve Records went from less than 2,000 units to more than 5,000 for the week the band was featured. -KH
5: SONG COVERED ON FOX’S “AMERICAN IDOL”
Show’s 2008 ratings fell but it’s still a huge hit
Average audience of about 27 million viewers
Every week, the producers of “American Idol” choose a theme for that week’s music. It could be anything from the songs of Mariah Carey to the 1970s. Those themes, according to a source close to the production, are chosen by executive producers Ken Warwick and Cecile Frot-Coutaz, show creator Simon Fuller and Fox alternative programming president Mike Darnell.
Once the theme is set, a half-dozen people from the “Idol” team dedicated to clearing music compile a list of songs for the show’s contestants. For broad themes, like the ’60s, contestants could receive a thick sheaf of pages with hundreds of songs listed. For more narrow themes, such as Carey’s repertoire, the contestants would also get a CD with snippets of the songs to listen to.
After seven seasons, the clearance department has built up a sizable catalog of cleared and clearable tracks that consists primarily of instantly recognizable pop songs. Contestants are, however, free to choose something not included in the cleared list, as long as the show can secure the right to use it. While it remains unclear if the upcoming season will stick with the theme song format, the executive producers remain the best route to getting a song added to the clearance department’s list. Send submissions to Warwick and Frot-Coutaz’s attention at FremantleMedia North America, 4000 W. Alameda Ave., Third Floor, Burbank, CA 91505. -KH
6: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN ACTIVISION’S “GUITAR HERO” VIDEOGAME
Music affairs man looks for gold
“Guitar Hero III: Legends of rock” sales in the united states total 9 million units to date.
Last year Tim Riley, VP of music affairs for videogame publisher Activision, was talking to Jim Chancellor, A&R rep for the United Kingdom’s Fiction Records. “I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for hardcore and Jim suggested I check out the band Gallows,” Riley says.
Riley contacted the group’s manager Craig Jennings of Raw Power Management, who also manages Iron Maiden, and asked to hear some of Gallows’ music. At the time the group was still shopping for a deal, so Jennings sent the band’s demo. Riley liked what he heard and then took the next step. “The developer, NeverSoft Entertainment, needed to hear the music,” he says, pointing out that some songs just aren’t fun to play from a gamer’s perspective no matter how good they are.
NeverSoft gave its OK and Riley went back to Jennings with a license agreement. The whole process took about a month.
Riley has a staff of eight that works on getting music for the various “Guitar Hero” franchises. They keep abreast of the latest major-label and indie releases, see bands and listen to unsolicited submissions. He prefers that submissions be full-length CDs with album art. “I don’t like it when people e-mail my normal account,” he says. Send them to Riley’s attention at Activision, 3100 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405. -KH
7: SONG PLAYED DURING A HIT MOVIE’S OPENING CREDITS
Hit film can lead to hit sales
About 19 million moviegoers, based on U.S. box-office receipts of $124.7 million and an average 2006 ticket price of $6.55
The opening credits in “The Devil Wears Prada” roll by during a montage of sleek beauties putting on their impossibly fashionable clothes, intercut with one woman, played by Anne Hathaway, who dresses in what passes for normal in a fashion movie.
As the nearly wordless scene plays out, KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” is heard. “That song was the result of trying between 3 [million] and 4 million songs in that spot,” hyperbolic Fox Music president Robert Kraft says.
The impact on sales of “Suddenly I See” was immediate. The song went from selling a little more than 2,000 downloads a week before the film’s release on June 30, 2006, to tens of thousands of copies per week. The trend continued throughout the film’s run and increased again later in the year when it was released on DVD Dec. 10.
“Suddenly I See” may have actually benefited by not being on the movie’s soundtrack as a result of a breakdown in negotiations between Fox and Relentless Records.
“I get about 1,000 songs a day, and I give them to people who find songs for me,” Kraft says. “I have a whole creative department that’s listening to music. We’re surrounded at Fox Music by a lot of resources so that what I get played is the caviar.” -KH
8: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN HIGH-ROTATION TV AD FOR NIKE
Nike Ads during the Beijing Olympics averaged 27.7 million viewers per night during prime time.
Three years ago, the Killers played New York’s Central Park SummerStage while promoting their album “Hot Fuss.” Jeff Straughn, VP of strategic marketing for Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJMG), the band’s label, was in the audience. “I knew at that point that they would be phenomenal,” Straughn recalls. “I also knew you had to find the right match because they wouldn’t do just any licensing deal.”
Fast forward to mid-summer this year when Straughn received a call from Mark Thomashow, global director of business affairs at sneaker giant Nike. Nike was looking for music for a high-profile TV ad that would launch during the Beijing Olympics. The company had considered everything from Led Zeppelin to more recent alternative rock bands but nothing was clicking, Thomashow says.
Straughn promptly sent over the Killers’ song “All These Things That I’ve Done.”
“The next day there were a flurry of e-mails from Thomashow saying that this works and then they sent over the visual,” he says, adding that he shared it with IDJMG chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid, president/COO Steve Bartels and Mercury Records president David Massey, all of whom gave their approval.
The track, which had been selling about 2,000 units per week for several months, saw sales quadruple the week the Nike ad began airing, then spike again to nearly 20,000 the following week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It continues to sell close to 5,000 copies per week. -KH
9: PERFORMANCE ON LOLLAPALOOZA MAIN STAGE
Radiohead, Kanye West and Gogol Bordello
Daily attendance of about 75,000
Lollapalooza, the once-traveling alt-rock festival tour that’s now held every year at Grant Park in Chicago, is booked by Austin-based C3 Presents. Bands get a spot on the main stage based on their buzz and ability to sell tickets, among other criteria. Prime-time slots go to headliners, afternoon slots to smaller bands.
This year, about 75,000 people per day saw bands ranging from Radiohead to GirlTalk. At 4:30 p.m. Aug. 1, the first day of the festival, Gogol Bordello took the stage.
The reason the band was there is that C3 partner Charles Attal had seen it perform a year-and-a-half ago at a Brooklyn club. He subsequently caught the act at Austin’s Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, another venue C3 books.
“I reached out to their booking agent-Val Wolf of the Agency Group-and said, ‘Hey, great show. Are you interested in Lolla?’ And they said, ‘Yeah.’ ”
C3 does accept unsolicited submissions at [email protected] and has nine buyers who go through the office’s unsolicited CDs box. -KH
10: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN MTV’S “ROCK BAND” VIDEOGAME
Getting music fans to play along
“Rock Band” sales in the United states total 3.4 million to date.
When Octone Records wanted to get its band Flyleaf into the first edition of “Rock Band,” Octone president James Deaner called MTV senior VP of electronic games and music Paul DeGooyer, one of the main gatekeepers to the “Rock Band” franchise.
DeGooyer knew of Flyleaf because the band’s videos were already airing on MTV and MTV2. “They gave us the record and we picked up ‘I’m So Sick,’ ” he says.
From there, DeGooyer went to Cambridge, Mass.-based Harmonix Music Systems, the game’s developer, to see what it thought. “They said, ‘We love Flyleaf,’ ” DeGooyer says.
Since MTV Games publishes “Rock Band,” the game’s music supervisors have access to an extraordinary amount of music. In addition to knowing what each label’s priorities are, MTV Games has a secure server where all the majors and most of the independents routinely put digital copies of new music for them to consider for the game’s future editions.
They also try to listen to unsolicited material as well. “If you want to send us your CD, then circle two songs on it that would be incredible for ‘Rock Band,’ ” DeGooyer says. Send to his attention at MTV Games, 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. -KH
11: VIDEO ON YOUTUBE’S MOST-VIEWED VIDEOS PAGE FOR MUSIC
Where to find the most popular music videos
YouTube Had 75 million unique visitors in July.
Grab bag of the latest hits, inspired amateur performances and direct-to-fan communications like Lars Ulrich’s recent message of appreciation to fans who cover Metallica songs on YouTube.
12: COVER STORY IN ROLLING STONE
Granddaddy of mainstream music publications.
Biweekly circulation of 1.5 million
Print is dead? Not for this magazine, whose cover has provided valuable real estate in 2008 to the likes of Britney Spears, Jack Johnson and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Not the hippest title, nor the most cutting edge, but none of its print rivals can match its reach.
13: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN ROCKSTAR GAMES’ “GRAND THEFT AUTO”
Mixing speed and music
“Grand Theft Auto IV” Sales Topped 4.7 million units through August
A best-selling game title, but lacks the peripheral promotional opportunities of “Madden NFL” (see story, page 19). Dance pop combo Greenskeepers’ “Vagabond,” heard on the “GTA IV” in-game indie rock radio station, became the group’s second-best-selling song with 9,000 units shifted.
14: SYNCH PLACEMENT ON HBO’S “ENTOURAGE”
The cable network’s tribute to L.A. bromance
Average viewership of 225,000
Despite the show’s high ranking in our survey, songs featured on it rarely get an immediate sizable bump in sales. But a panelist who has placed songs on the show says “Entourage” retains a loyal audience among entertainment industry execs: “It creates a tastemaker buzz, and that’s the buzz that can turn into sales later on.”
15: VIDEO ON THE FRONT PAGE OF YOUTUBE
Motley assortment, some music
YouTube Had 75 million unique visitors in July
With scores of live and random clips, YouTube retains a more freewheeling sensibility than other leading sites featuring music videoclips. “You have to treat that YouTube audience with a different promotional sensibility,” Warner Bros. senior VP of new media Jeremy Welt says.
16: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN ABC’S “GREY’S ANATOMY”
Hospital dramedy that loves Ingrid Michaelson
Average Viewership of 18 million
Music supervisor Alex Patsavas (see Q&A, page 26) has lent vital boosts to Michaelson, the Fray and Snow Patrol. After Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” was prominently heard in the season-two finale on May 15, 2006, digital sales jumped from 1,600 to 21,000 units. It has gone on to sell a career-best 2.2 million.
17: ANY SINGLE OR VIDEO LISTED IN THE “FREE ON iTUNES” SECTION
For emerging artists, free can be a very good price
Christian rock act Addison Road released its single “All That Matters” as a free download on iTunes in February. That helped lay the groundwork for the April release of its self-titled Columbia Records debut album, which entered Billboard’s Heatseekers and Top Christian Albums charts at Nos. 8 and 11, respectively.
18: SINGLE PLAYED ON RADIO DISNEY
Family-friendly programming reaches kids and their parents
Estimated 36.5 million listeners per week
Since early August, Selena Gomez, a teen TV star on Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place,” has sold 44,000 downloads of her single “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” from the “Another Cinderella” soundtrack due largely to airplay on Radio Disney.
19: PERFORMANCE ON BONNAROO’S WHAT/MAIN STAGE
Boasts the biggest audiences of any North American festival stage
What stage headliners drew an estimated average crowd of 70,000 in 2008
Bands sometimes preach to the choir (e.g., fest fave Widespread Panic) but can find new fans too. When 2008 headliner Metallica asked those seeing the band for the first time to raise their hands, by appearances some 80% reached for the sky.
20: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN CW’S “GOSSIP GIRL”
Lackluster first-season ratings, massive buzz
Average viewership of 2.5 million
Another show with music supervisor Alex Patsavas holding the musical reins. Santogold’s single “Creator” was featured in the show’s Sept. 8 episode, boosting download sales that week to 8,500 units, up from 1,200 in the previous week.
21: PERFORMANCE ON NBC’S “TODAY”
Artists perform live from 30 Rock
Average viewership of 5.5 million (7 a.m.-9 a.m.)
Senior producer Melissa Lanner is responsible for all entertainment bookings on the show, as well as for the program’s summer concert series. Kenny Chesney’s June 13 performance contributed to a 30% bump in sales that week, his best week of the summer, for his album “Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates.”
22: ALBUM DISPLAY AT WAL-MART
Biggest box wields biggest sales boost
Over 100 million U.S. shoppers Weekly
Music department displays are OK, but POD (position outside department) promotions can more than double sales, particularly for catalog titles. Among new releases, country and mainstream do especially well. Wal-Mart moves so much product it’s worth remembering that offensive cover art and lyrics will prompt it to bar titles from its stores.
23: PERFORMANCE ON COACHELLA’S MAIN STAGE
Helped spark U.S. festival boom
Estimated daily ’08 attendance of 50,000-60,000
Prince’s cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” at this year’s Coachella-and his subsequent request that videos of the performance be taken down from YouTube-generated the artist’s biggest headlines of the year.
24: PERFORMANCE ON ONE OF MTV’S AWARDS SHOWS
At the Video Music Awards, it was all Britney, all the time
2008 VMAs drew 8.4 million viewers
MTV senior VP of music and talent Amy Doyle and VP of music and talent Joanna Bomberg serve as producers of the VMAs and book the talent that appears. On the celebrity side, the duty falls to senior VP of studio relations and celebrity talent Robin Reinhardt.
25: PERFORMANCE ON MAIN STAGE OF VANS WARPED TOUR
Warped has become the definitive punk showcase
estimated 2008 attendance of 622,427
Warped founder/ producer Kevin Lyman says a main-stage act has to be either a band “of note or heritage-NOFX, Bad Religion- or someone who has developed on the tour with possibly a new product [like] Underoath, Paramore or Coheed and Cambria.”
26: COVER STORY IN SPIN
Assumes tastemaker, ahead-of-the-curve stance
Monthly circulation of 467,503
Vampire Weekend landed the March cover of Spin following a Feb. 1 performance on “Letterman” and before a March 8 appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” The media blitz drove sales of the band’s self-titled debut to 156,000 units, two months after its late-January release. It has sold 305,000 units to date.
27: ALBUM FEATURE IN Itunes’ “new music Tuesday” e-mail
Mass e-mail alerts iTunes customers about latest releases
Apple declines to reveal subscriber total
After Apple publicized the “Songs for Tibet” compilation in an Aug. 5 e-mail, it topped the iTunes rock chart, as total U.S. sales exceeded 7,000 during the week ended Aug. 10. The Chinese government then reportedly blocked access to iTunes from China.
28: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN EA’S “MADDEN NFL”
Pioneering gaming franchise got into music early on
“Madden NFL ’09” sales totaled 2.1 million in August
The EA Trax’s team solicits MP3s from labels, publishers, bands and managers, with some managers often sending new song demos before labels hear them. Of more than 5,000 submissions for “Madden ’09,” 26 made the soundtrack (see story, page 19).
29: SONG PLAYED OVER A HIT MOVIE’S END CREDITS
They’re in their seats when the end credits roll
“Sex and the City” drew an estimated 21.5 million moviegoers
The “Sex” soundtrack was the only place fans could get Jennifer Hudson’s closing-credits song “All Dressed Up in Love.” How to score? Get in good with the film’s producer, music supervisor and the movie studio’s head of music; they have the say in how much money gets spent on the soundtrack and score.
30: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN A HIGH-ROTATION TV AD FOR CONVERSE
Downtown cool-skewed ads
This summer, Converse ran a TV ad featuring Santogold, Pharrell and the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, backed by a track they’d co-written. A longer version of the ad and a free download of the track were made available on Converse’s Web site. Blog chatter increased 39% for Santogold and 142% for Casablancas.
31: STARRING ROLE INA REALITY SHOW ON MTV
Ardent fans of MTV shows boost sales
Average Viewership of 688,000 for “Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods”
VP of talent and casting Blythe Capello handles MTV’s reality shows. In August, the “Legally Blonde” Broadway cast album debuted at No. 165 on the Billboard 200 in the wake of Bailey Hanks winning the MTV reality show based on the property.
32: PERFORMANCE ON OZZFEST’S MAIN STAGE
Venerable touring fest finds new life as a one-off
Estimated 30,000 in attendance at 2008 edition
Ozzfest has helped expose virtually every hard rock music band that has broken in the past decade. Huge cachet with headbangers that continues in its current incarnation as a one-off event. Fest fans love to be exposed to new talent and are loyal to a fault. Co-producer Sharon Osbourne is a notoriously tough negotiator.
33: ALBUM DISPLAY IN TARGET
Physical retailer moves plent of music
about 1,500 stores in 47 states
The power slots at Target are its hot and new-release walls and its checkout lane; the lane is the most desirable real estate in the store. Albums in a checkout-lane promotion can see sales bumps of about 40%, label sales executives say.
34: VIDEO LINK ON PEREZHILTON.COM
Celebrity gossip blogger creates buzz for less famous pop acts
5.2 million unique visitors in July
Perez Hilton premiered the video for “Ce Jeu” by French electro-pop act Yelle Aug. 1. One of his “favoritest artists in the world,” Yelle sold less than 1,000 downloads of the song that week, but that was still a bump of 206%.
35: PERFORMANCE ON THE HOWARD STERN SHOW
Retains loyal listeners amid satellite radio’s challenges
Sirius XM Radio expects to have 19.5 million subscribers by year’s end.
From Katy Perry to Staind to Sting to James Taylor, the show loves to showcase music. And unlike many hosts, Stern knows how to plug a project. Producer Gary Dell’Abate is your contact.
36: SONG PLAYED ON ABC’S “DANCING WITH THE STARS”
The weekly results show features a performance from an outside artist
Average viewership of 18 million-21 million
Suzanne Bender is the booker for the show. “Dancing With the Stars” has become a de rigeur stop on the promotional tour; in 2007, Joss Stone posted the biggest unit gain on the Billboard 200, placing her at No. 16 after performances on “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Tonight Show” the same week.Reality show focused on the love lives of Los Angeles lovelies.
37: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN MTV’S “THE HILLS”
Reality show focused on the love lives of Los Angeles lovelies
Average viewership of 3.2 million
Jon Ernst is the music supervisor on “The Hills”; Joe Cuello is VP of music creative and licensing at MTV. Many acts gain traction thanks to the Internet chatter that surrounds the show. When the show returned for its fourth season Aug. 18, blog chatter for the music on the program surged, according to Nielsen BuzzMetrics.
38: INTERVIEW/FEATURE IN ROLLING STONE
Opportunity for new or obscure acts to reach mainstream music audience
Biweekly circulation of 1.5 million
While big stars dominate the cover, feature stories inside the magazine often spotlight up-and-coming acts, such as Fleet Foxes and Low Vs. Diamond.In-store sales of music continues despite recent scale-back
41: ALBUM DISPLAYED AT STARBUCKS COUNTER
In-store sales of music continues despite recent scale-back
estimated 50 million customers a week chain-wide
Offering consumers the chance to buy music with their mocha frappuccinos can still drive sales of some artists. Starbucks retains its own storefront at iTunes (with curated music recommendations) and sells iTunes digital download album gift cards in stores as part of its “pick of the week” promotion.
42: PERFORMANCE ON CBS’ “LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”
The stalwart late-night talk show offers interviews and performance opportunities.
Average viewership of 3.4 million
Producer/talent executive Sheila Rogers and music segment producer Sheryl Zelikson handle the booking duties from the show’s New York base. Even repeats bolster sales: In August, the Hold Steady saw an 18% jump in sales of its album “Stay Positive” after the band’s performance was rerun.
43: VIDEO ON MYSPACE MUSIC HOME PAGE
A coveted stage for video premieres
MySpace had 59.2 million unique visitors in July.
Metallica premiered the video for new single “The Day That Never Comes” on MySpace, which is distinguishing itself from YouTube as a destination geared around more professionally produced content.
44: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN A HIGH-ROTATION TV AD FOR ADIDAS
Sneaker brand opts for short film-like spots with obscure artists
In 2005, Spike Jonze produced an Adidas commercial with a song called “Hello Tomorrow” that featured the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O. The song has sold 41,000 digital tracks, with nearly half of them sold in April 2005, when the spot began airing.
45: COVER STORY IN VIBE
Urban music monthly founded by Quincy Jones
Monthly circulation of 876,262
Nearly nude photo of Ciara on October cover caused blog chatter about her to spike about tenfold. One veteran major-label publicist describes Vibe, Essence and XXL as the “key urban covers” to secure.
Perennial No. 2 morning show features occasional artist interviews and performances.
46: PERFORMANCE ON ABC’S “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”
Perennial No. 2 morning show features occasional artist interviews and performances
Average viewership of 4.5 million
Karen Rhee is the entertainment booker at “Good Morning America,” and she is assisted in booking music performances by Monica Escobedo. After a three-part, multiple-day interview on “GMA” in August, George Michael’s greatest-hits set saw a 59% gain and re-entered the Billboard 200 at No. 173.
47: ALBUM/SINGLE LISTED ON AMAZON’S MAIN MUSIC PAGE
Physical and digital product, recommendations and video extras under one roof
Amazon had 45.1 million unique visitors in July
Promotional opportunities abound, including staff-curated recommendations, new and upcoming releases, limited-time discounts on album downloads and MP3 giveaways.
48: ALBUM/SINGLE LISTED AS “WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO” ON iTUNES
A nod from an iTunes editor can be powerful
Decisions about what to include are left up to the editorial team, but bands that are interested in being considered for inclusion should contact their label reps, who can pass the word on to the edit team.
49: ALBUM PROMOTED IN TARGET CIRCULAR
Sunday newspaper staple provides great reach
estimated 55 million households every week
Powerful vehicle to sell country, pop, adult-leaning and kids music, providing as much as a 50% or greater boost in sales at the chain. Razor & Tie’s multi-volume Kidz Bop series has seen average first-week sales of 66,000 units when featured in the Target circular and 25,000 when not.
50: ALBUM/SINGLE REVIEW IN ROLLING STONE
Less influential than before, but helps highlight new releases
Biweekly circulation of 1.5 million
Find a freelance writer who can champion your act and let them sell the band to the editors, a publicist who has placed reviews in Rolling Stone says: “A good writer can act as an impartial source and convince an editor to give them a shot.”
51: VIDEO IN ROTATION ON MTV
Getting placed in the dwindling programming time for music videos is a bonus
“FNMTV” average Viewership of 273,000
The heavy rotation associated with being selected as MTV’s “Artist of the Week,” as Sara Bareilles was in July, led to a 38% weekly jump in sales for her album “Little Voice,” landing the set at No. 79 on the Billboard 200.
52: ADDED TO MEDIUM ROTATION AT URBAN RADIO STATION IN TOP 100 MARKET
R&B hits rely on radio backing
J Records newcomer Jazmine Sullivan scored the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with debut single “Need U Bad.” Such stations as WIZF-FM Cincinnati and WPHI-FM Philadelphia clocked more than 1,000 spins on the single, helping drive digital download sales of 100,000 to date.
53: PERFORMANCE ON NBC’S “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”
Routinely features performances and artist interviews
Average Viewership of 4.6 million
Producer Barbera Libis also serves as music booker. The appeal of the show is wide enough that almost any genre can see a significant gain. After bluesman James Hunter’s July 14 performance, his album “The Hard Way” jumped to No. 11 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart with a 46% sales gain from the previous week.
54: ADDED TO MEDIUM ROTATION AT COUNTRY RADIO STATION IN TOP 100 MARKETS
Nothing drives country sales like radio
Sugarland’s “Stay” was the fourth single from 2006 second album “Enjoy the Ride.” The album sold 13,000 units the week the single debuted at No. 41 on Hot Country Songs and ballooned to 119,000 the week it peaked at No. 2 on the Jan. 5, 2008, chart. “Stay” received slightly more than 4,300 spins in a week from country radio at its highest chart peak, according to Nielsen BDS.
55: PERFORMANCE ON LOLLAPALOOZA’S SECONDARY STAGES
Lollapalooza brand can lend a boost to new acts
Lollapalooza brand can lend a boost to new acts
attendance of up to 30,000
“When the lineup is released, some of these baby bands will get 5,000 plays a day on their MySpace pages,” says Charles Attal, partner at C3 Presents, Lolla’s booking agency. Nielsen BuzzMetrics bears this out, showing that such unknown acts as Steel Train, Your Vegas and the Blakes saw spikes in blog chatter when the lineup was announced in April.
56: VIDEO ON YAHOO MUSIC HOME PAGE
New videos plugged on marquee; constantly changing teasers below
Yahoo Music had 17.3 million unique visitors in July.
Paid downloads of Scarlett Johansson’s Tom Waits cover “Falling Down” increased by 50% the week after Yahoo Music debuted the video, according to Nielsen SoundScan. More than a month later, the video was still among the site’s top 20 streams.
57: ARTIST INCLUDED IN VANITY FAIR’S ANNUAL MUSIC ISSUE
The music issue launched in 2000
Monthly circulation of 1.1 million
Special music issues, profiles and “Hot Tracks” column province of veteran music columnist Lisa Robinson. The magazine spotlighted folk music last year; country music was the focus in 2006.
58: PERFORMANCE AT THE VIRGIN MOBILE FESTIVAL
Bob Dylan, Kanye West, Stone Temple Pilots played this year’s fest
combined two-day attendance about 60,000
Artists play full sets and provide a complete picture of what they can do live. Virgin promotes the event via its mobile platforms, Megastores and Web properties. Promoted by I.M.P., owner of the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.Average Viewership of 1.8 million
59: PERFORMANCE ON NBC’S “LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O’BRIEN”
Routinely features performances and artist interviews
Jim Pitt is “Late Night” talent executive in charge of music. After performing on “Late Night” and “TRL” the same week in August, the Ting Tings saw an 11% gain in their album sales from the prior week.AveragE viewership of 228,000.
60: VIDEO IN ROTATION ON VH1’S “TOP 20 COUNTDOWN”
Weekly ranking of the cable channel’s most popular videos
Rick Krim is VH1 EVP of music and talent programming. “Top 20 Countdown” is determined by fans’ online voting. Get your interns on VH1.com, stat-and they can type out live-chat words of support for their favorites.
61: SINGLE PLAYED ON KCRW’S “MORNING BECOMES ECLECTIC”
Radio show influence extends beyond SoCal.
570,000 Weekly listeners
KCRW.com streams more than 1.5 million hours every month, and listeners download about 1 million audio and video podcasts per month, according to the station.
The show was an early advocate of Meiko and Little Jackie and was the first in the States to play Duffy and the Ting Tings. Nic Harcourt, KCRW music director and the show’s host, welcomes pitches: A volunteer at the station turned him on to Meiko.
62: PERFORMANCE ON NPR’S “WORLD CAFÉ”
Long-time Philadelphia music fixture
Estimated weekly audience of 500,000-600,000
Syndicated out of WXPN-FM, the show looks for artists who resonate with its national listening audience, including heritage artists, up-and -comers and virtually anything in between. OM/music director Dan Reed books the show. Video isn’t necessary, nor is an audition. Just send him CDs and bios.63
63: PERFORMANCE ON BONNAROO’S SECONDARY STAGES
This, that, the other and more
Anywhere from 100 to 40,000
Girl Talk’s dance-heavy set at the 2007 Manchester, Tenn.-based Bonnaroo festival didn’t do much to boost the act’s music sales. Still, the performance was a turning point in Girl Talk’s career because it “brought him to another level,” booking agent Sam Hunt says, noting that it was an “introduction to thousands of people who have gone on to become big fans.”64
64: ALBUM DISPLAYED IN BEST BUY
Coveted in-store real estate
About 1,300 stores chain-wide
Prime display locations at Best Buy can certainly move records, but its circular, which reaches 70 million households weekly, is as powerful as Target’s, and more so if the record is rock or rap. Best Buy’s in-store real estate and circular are particularly crucial during the first week of release, while Target’s circular has more legs.
65: ALBUM/SINGLE REVIEW ON PITCHFORK.COM
Self-described “home of the gratuitously in-depth record review”
Merge Records co-owner Mac McCaughan credited Pitchfork with helping spark initial sales for then-unknown Canadian band Arcade Fire. When the band’s “Funeral” album shipped 40,000 copies in less than two months in 2004, it became the label’s fastest seller.2.1 million unique visitors in July
66: MENTION ON PEREZHILTON.COM
Multiple mentions with audio and video pump viral buildup for baby band
Geffen act Prima J was mentioned on perezhilton.com at least three times before the duo’s debut album went on sale. Manager Jorge Hernandez says random polls of audience members at shows reveal many responses of, “We first found them on Perez Hilton.”
73: PERFORMANCE ON ALL POINTS WEST MAIN STAGE
First-year festival at Liberty State Park makes its mark on scene
Daily capacity of about 30,000
Artists playing this Jersey City, N.J., festival benefit not only from promoter Goldenvoice/AEG Live’s significant marketing efforts both nationally and in the New York metropolitan market, but also the profile a New York area play can bring. Instant credibility from APW’s Coachella connection.
74: VIDEO ON CMT’S “POWER PICKS”
Head-to-head video voting
Average viewership of 124,000
CMT’s “Power Picks” videos are chosen considering a multitude of factors, including when the video was last played, show diversity and success on previous shows, according to senior VP of music strategy Jay Frank.
75: INTERVIEW/REVIEW/PROFILE IN WIRED
Biz, culture mag for tech-savvy audience
Monthly circulation of 715,200
An online editor says: “Our basic criteria, other than the unavoidable personal preference stuff, is that we like to highlight bands that sound original and forward-looking while exuding integrity rather than falseness.”
76: ALBUM/SINGLE REVIEW IN SPIN
If they give your record a whirl, it could pay off
Monthly circulation of 467,503
Don’t expect Pitchfork-length diatribes, although Spin does often cover many of the same indie artists. Most of the reviews, save for the lead, clock in at around 100 words but manage to get a point across.
77: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN CW’S “ONE TREE HILL”
Teen soap draws teen ears
Average viewership of 3 million
Lindsay Wolfington is the music supervisor for the show. Singer/songwriter Kate Voegele parlayed a six-episode guest-starring arc into sales success, with jumps of upwards of 150% week-to-week after she made an appearance. Her “Don’t Look Away” has sold 196,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
78: ALBUM MENTIONED ON WAL-MART’S IN-STORE VIDEO NETWORK
Get the attention of Wal-Mart shoppers
More than 100 million U.S. shoppers weekly
The in-store network generates 200 million impressions per month, label executives report, and if a record has a differential driving it, an appearance here can result in a 10% sales bump.
79: VIDEO IN ROTATION ON CMT
Consider web site streams too
Available in 87 million homes, according to CMT
CMT’s music and talent department, which selects videos weekly, also monitors CMT.com airplay, search results, sales, radio and other activity. Nearly all videos properly submitted to music director Evan Kroft are available to view on CMT.com.
80: SHOWCASE PERFORMANCE AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST
Multiband showcases draw bigger crowds
Less than 100 people in a small club to 3,000 at an outdoor venue
In 2008, the Little Ones performed with numerous other acts on the Paradigm Agency/The Bowery Presents showcase. “That was very well-attended with solid production,” Little Ones manager Jason Colton says.
81: ACTING ROLE IN A MOVIE
Wise choices can propel an artist to a bigger audience
Best roles allow artist to show off musical chops. Eminem was a standout in 2002’s “8 Mile”; Beyoncé did well in 2006’s “Dreamgirls” and will next be seen portraying Etta James in the upcoming “Cadillac Records.”82
82: VIDEO IN ROTATION ON VH1
Select artists get the so-called “gung-ho” rotation, 40-plus plays per week
Average viewership of 151,000 for morning video show Jump-Start
The go-to guy again is VH1’s Krim. Being selected as the channel’s You Oughta Know artist is a big boon to sales-after his YOK designation, Justin Nozuka bowed at No. 29 on the Heatseekers chart with 2,000 in sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. His video was subsequently a steady presence on the “Top 20 Countdown.”
83: SONG PLAYED ON FOX’S “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE”
Features musical guests as well as piped-in music for performances
Average viewership of 9 million
The booker for the show is Steven Schillaci; in August, the show featured dancers performing to Missy Higgins’ “Where I Stand.” The placement resulted in a 71% increase in sales, landing her at No. 30 on the Heatseekers chart.
84: SONG USED AS THEME FOR A TELENOVELA
Soapy dramas are proven driver of sales
If your track is selected as a theme song, release an album in tandem, as Vicente Fernández did with “Fuego en la Sangre.” “It gives that extra push that can make it a bigger success,” says Miguel Trujillo, managing director of Sony BMG Mexico.
85: STARRING ROLE IN A REALITY SHOW ON VH1
Diverse slate of reality programming
Average viewership of 499,000 for “Brooke Knows Best”
Jeff Olde is executive VP of programming and production at VH1, which handles the casting and development of the cable channel’s reality shows. In 2006, Brooke Hogan-daughter of Hulk and a regular on “Hogan Knows Best” (and later star of “Brooke Knows Best”)-debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 with 30,000 albums sold.
86: PERFORMANCE ON WALMART.COM’S “SOUNDCHECK”
Retailer’s streaming video site
Walmart.com’s “Soundcheck” has been known to boost sales by as much as 25%-35%. But it can really drive sales when a “Soundcheck” performance is also featured on Wal-Mart’s in-store network. Colbie Caillat’s “Soundcheck” spot began running March 18. That week, it scanned 30,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, up from 22,000 units the week before.
87: ALBUM/SINGLE REVIEW IN ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
Reaches broad, mainstream audience
Weekly circulation of 1.8 million
Music editor Rob Brunner also assigns and edits album/single reviews. According to a major industry publicist, the magazine tries to offer a representative project from each genre. Among its 17 special issues are two music preview editions for summer and fall.
88: SINGLE PLAYED ON NPR’S “WORLD CAFÉ”
Produced by WXPN Philadelphia
Weekly audience of 500,000-600,000, according to the show
OM/music director Dan Reed says hopefuls should submit a couple of copies of a CD and a press kit with contact info. They should also understand what the show is all about. “It’s been awhile since we’ve had a death metal band on the show.”
89: PERFORMANCE ON COACHELLA’S SECONDARY STAGES
Outdoor Theatre slot helped spur Arcade Fire to stardom
Arcade Fire’s rise to popularity several years ago was solidified by its Outdoor Theatre performance at Indio, Calif.’s 2005 Coachella festival. Booking agent David Viecelli describes the indie rock act’s performance as a “real piece of the band’s building story.”
90: VIDEO STREAMED ON HOME PAGE ON MTV.COM
Only five videos teased on the front maximizes teen focus
5.2 million unique visitors in July, according to Nielsen Online
After Cherrytree/Interscope’s Tokio Hotel scored this placement, “they went from being a brand-new band to the U.S. audience to getting all these comments and all these views off the bat,” says Jen Zeller of the label’s video promotion team.
91: PERFORMANCE ON “LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY”
Features interviews and performances
Average viewership of 3.6 million
Be sure to balance promotional appearances among talk shows-not all appeal to the same audience. In August, Rick Springfield debuted his new album at No. 28 after appearing on “Regis,” “Good Morning America” and CBS’ “Early Show” the same week.
92: HOSTING SPOT ON ONE OF MTV’S MUSIC SHOWS (“SUCKER FREE,” ETC.)
Bond on-air with viewers
Average viewership of 220,000 for “Sucker Free”
Music guest hosts are booked by director of talent Elena Diaz; on the celebrity side, director of studio relations and celebrity talent Wendy Plaut books hosts, co-hosts and guests. After Tokio Hotel did a three-day stint on “TRL” in August, its album re-entered the Billboard 200 with a 29% gain week-over-week.
93: ALBUM/SINGLE STREAMED ON HOME PAGE ON AOL MUSIC
Free streams pull in listeners
19.1 million unique visitors in July
Pitch Mike Spinella, director of industry relations for the AOL Music Network. Spinella’s team goes to shows and picks promising artists for exclusive live performances and full-CD listening parties. Genre-specific microsites teased off the front facilitate fan targeting.
94: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN SHOWTIME’S “CALIFORNICATION”
Life imitates art
The music supervisors on “Californication” are Budd Carr and Nora Feldon; the composers are Tyler Bates and Tree Adams. In June a “Californication” soundtrack was released by ABKCO but has sold only 2,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
95: ADDED TO MEDIUM ROTATION AT ADULT R&B STATION IN TOP 100 MARKET
Marvin Sapp crosses over
Verity gospel singer Marvin Sapp claimed a crossover adult urban No. 1 with “Never Would Have Made It” (it’s still top 10). KJLH Los Angeles and WMXD Detroit tallied more than 900 spins. Digital track sales are at 144,000, CD sales at 461,000.
96: PERFORMANCE ON ROCKSTAR MAYHEM FEST’S MAIN STAGE
Masked metal act Slipknot’s new album nabs No. 1 slot
Average attendance of 11,253
A week following its co-headlining slot on the inaugural Mayhem Festival, Slipknot’s “All Hope Is Gone” hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. “It was the perfect platform to introduce the world to the band’s new music,” Slipknot manager Cory Brennan says.Audience N/A
97: SYNCH PLACEMENT IN A HIGH-ROTATION TV AD FOR REEBOK
Matching folk song with NFL players
Folk singer Vashti Bunyan has sold about 5,000 digital downloads of her mid-’60s song “Train Song” since July when Reebok paired the song with images of famous NFL players in a TV ad. “I felt that it was a very unusual juxtaposition, my music and the football imagery,” Bunyan says. “It was brave of Reebok and I was so impressed by the actual [ad].”
98: INTERVIEW/REVIEW/PROFILE IN VIBE
Album reviews now online; singles still reviewed in mag
Monthly circulation of 876,262
Reach out to senior editor Benjamin Meadows-Ingram or music editor Sean Fennessey. New artist-focused additions include “Google Me” (emerging online artists).
99: ADDED TO MEDIUM ROTATION ON ROCK STATION IN TOP 100 MARKET
“Addicted” gets boost
Saving Abel’s single “Addicted” spent 10 weeks at No. 2 on the Active Rock chart and recently peaked at No. 7 on the Alternative list. The week the song reached its highest chart peak, it picked up 1,216 spins at alternative stations and 1,785 at active rock.
100: ADDED TO MEDIUM ROTATION ON TOP 40 STATION IN TOP 100 MARKET
Kid Rock resurrects “Jesus”
Driven largely by airplay on “All Summer Long,” Kid Rock’s year-old album “Rock N Roll Jesus” went from selling 11,000 units when the single was released to 101,000 units during the week ending Aug. 17. The song got top 10 airplay at top 40, country, adult AC and heritage rock.
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Comments for this Blog post
Sun, 11/09/2008 – 20:35 – dmerriam
Are you a Beatles fan or is your name
I love David almost as much as I love
the Beatles and Sir Paul.
You Posts Are My Music Industry 101 Course
Sun, 10/05/2008 – 14:28 – cookievillebella
Thank you LadyModonna for your dedication to educate the newbie (like this one) to the inner-working of the musical business. You make this new thing of fandom more about learning (hee) for me.
Tue, 09/23/2008 – 13:06 – kaydeecee
Liked the insights into the industry, plus I’ve been playing a few of the bands mentioned while reading it.
Damn, I wish blog posts on this site included the name of the blog author or a link to their profile.
Thanks for posting
Tue, 09/23/2008 – 10:16 – FolkFan
It’s interesting to see what is driving sales today. Looks like Top 40 and rock radio isn’t as important as some of the other avenues….
FolkFan aka CrossWordsRock on TWoP
5: SONG COVERED ON FOX’S “AMERICAN IDOL”
Tue, 09/23/2008 – 10:05 – annie702
that one made me laugh because some original songs would suddenly pop up on the itunes ratings each thursday when i made the requisite visit to buy one of david’s studio versions.