Gleeks and The Music Industry

The fate of Glee has been topping the news lately with the tragic death of leading star Cory Monteith and in light of that it is time for a positive story surrounding the show.

Glee is a popular high school comedy musical TV show on Fox. The cast sings cover songs which are infiltrating the radio or the top charts and often has appearances by some big name guests, such as, Brittney Spears, Kate Hudson, Ricky Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow to name a few. Whether you found a cable tv deal or not, you have probably come across this show at least once.

Even though viewership has fallen from the show’s second season peak of 10.1 million in 2010 to 8.26 million in season four, the show has launched several hit recordings. The show’s best year on the Billboard Hot 100 chart so far has been 2010, in which it accounted for 80 chart singles.

Glee Cast Hit Machine

The show’s executive producer Ryan Murphy writes the script for each episode then looks for songs that fit the storyline. He works with music producer Adam Anders, who has sold over 60 million units as a songwriter and producer, with many of his successful albums being movie soundtracks. Murphy selects a combination of show tunes, cover songs of established hits and original material, such as the number one hit “Loser Like Me,” written by Anders.

Billed as Glee Cast, these recordings are made available as downloads to the public on the iTunes Music Store after each episode has aired. Some of the biggest hits from the show have been cover songs, such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” The Beatles “Blackbird” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” Although most of the singles released from the show do not become big hits, Glee Cast has sold over 36 million singles and albums from 88 episodes between 2009 and 2013.

New Life for the Music Industry

The music industry peaked in sales in 1999, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and has since struggled in terms of CD sales, although digital downloads have helped the industry mildly recover in recent years. Music industry analysts point to the internet and other new competing technology as the main reasons for this decline, while music critics add that the music industry hasn’t produced as much high caliber talent as in the past.

Glee, like American Idol, has established new revenue streams for the music industry. These shows, along with reality talent shows, have opened the door to an emerging business model that combines the mass audiences of television with the instant gratification of digital downloads, which works well for fans who watch Glee online. Since cover songs are already familiar to the masses, new versions do not take as many listens to appreciate, while new original material requires repetitive radio airplay to stimulate sales.

Artist and Critic Reactions

Many recording artists have agreed to allow Glee Cast to record renditions of their hits. The three major labels that account for a high percentage of hit songs on the charts have embraced the show as a new vehicle to sell recordings without doing expensive promotion. Some artists, however, such as Foo Fighters, do not want their music covered on the show. Prince has accused the show of using his hit “Kiss” without his authorization.

However, when the show covers a song it does give th song a boost on iTunes. Is that boost alone enough to warrant giving Glee permission to cover your song? Maybe or maybe not, if the song was not an instant hit this exposure can give it the added sales by making it a Glee cover and it will also give royalties to the artist every time the song is purchased or the episode is replayed. With a network of dedicated fans often called “Gleeks” maybe this kind of exposure will only prove beneficial to you? Not to mention the honor of having Glee use your song which will also give you a free music video if yours did not fare too well.

With the recent tragedy, all of the songs that were sung by Cory Monteith are getting new life as fans are buying them up and putting them on replay to remember the actor and singer.

Cory Monteith’s most famous covers:

  1. Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin”
  2. REO Speedwagon“Can’t Fight This Feeling”
  3. Bruno Mars, “Just The Way You Are”
  4. Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror”
  5. Coldplay, “The Scientist”

One of the complaints music critics have made about Glee Cast is the music is overproduced and uses Auto-Tune, which is becoming more exposed as a crutch for novice singers who require electronic enhancements to sound on key. But some of the show’s singers have genuine talent. Matthew Morrison, for example, plans on parlaying his Glee popularity into launching a network of musical performing arts schools across America. Watch Glee online for more information on this ground-breaking show or to check out some of the covers.

With the recent tragedy, all of the songs that were sung by Cory Monteith are getting new life as fans are buying them up and putting them on replay to remember the actor and singer.

Cat is an avid tv junkie who loves writing about her favorite shows and also occassionaly writes about movies.