P4k has a great read about how indie music is becoming a mainstay of late night tv and how those chosen bands are being affected by the time slot’s power. I’d recommend reading the whole thing, but below are some interesting excerpts dealing with what Late Night TV music producers are looking for when they book band.
Music producers must fill a schedule of 150 shows each year with acts that people will watch, talk about, and stream on the web the following day.
These bookers are like MP3 bloggers or music critics writ large, so it’s no surprise that both “Letterman” producer and current “Fallon” music head had previous experience writing about music at Rolling Stone and Billboard, respectively.
What the internet’s done:
According to “Conan”‘s (producer), “The rise of music online has made it easier to research and find bands, but just getting through it all is more of a challenge now. And when you book artists whose success has mainly been online, it sets the bar a different place; there are a lot of new artists that are nowhere near ready or appropriate for a show like this.”
The type of bands they’re looking for:
“Last Call With Carson Daly” producer concurs: “We could all geek out on a band’s record but then if we start looking at the live show and it’s a guy and a laptop or his looping pedals, it could still be great but you realize, ‘Oh this artist hasn’t developed.’ It’s a fine line. We’re interested in artist development, but we don’t want to push out a premature product.”
How they pick the band:
“These days, I get 200 e-mails and 50 phone calls a day from publicists, labels, and managers,” says “Kimmel”‘s (producer), describing his process of picking new bands for the show. “First, we ask ourselves, ‘Do we even like the music?’ If yes, then we see if scheduling works out, and if all that is good, then we see what these guys look like. Then there’s a pitch process with two executive producers and myself. If everyone agrees the artist is pretty cool– and if it’s not during sweeps or too far in advance– we’ll give ’em a day.” (More here)