What's the marketing problem with "Glee" for some musicians?
Not everyone -- from Barbra Streisand to Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters -- is exactly pining to be associated with the Fox show. (Streisand originally had some frank comments about the show, then apologized).
In the old days, TV marketing for musicians -- or using one's "art" -- was looked down upon. It wasn't cool; it wasn't hip. But in the last decade or so the music industry has undergone a traumatic disorientation -- plummeting sales, that is. And with the radio business in somewhat of a disarray because of a plethora of new media choices, artists seemingly need marketing alternatives. Big TV shows can help sell their music, their bands, their brands.
It started long before Madonna, Lady Gaga, or Britney Spears songs appeared on "Glee." It started long before famous musicians and singers started appearing on "American Idol" as special "mentors," guest talent, or otherwise. Think of all those TV show theme deals. Think of the deals The Who made with the "CSI" franchise.
But it wasn't always this way. Jim Morrison was pissed when other Doors band members agreed to sell the rights to Buick to use "Light My Fire" in a commercial. He nixed the deal. This anti-commercialism could only be found in the late '60s/early '70s, when new popular music still had some rebellious roots.
Seems those disgruntled musicians feel that the producers of the top-rated "Glee" expect a certain level of groveling, that modern-day musicians should be waiting in line to be a part of Fox's soaring primetime music marketing machine, all to get a bit of promotional spin that would help start careers, re-start careers, or keep one's name big in popular culture.
"Glee"s Lea Michele character, Rachel Berry, has a lot of familiar stuff in her singing that would remind you of Streisand. So it has been no surprise that business reporters would question Streisand about this. Foo Fighters? Harder rock bands' oeuvre wouldn't seem to be traditional or nontraditional glee club material, But "Glee" wanted Foo Fighters' "Times Like These." Grohl said no way.
Who needs whom more? Few big musical acts can write their own ticket when it comes to concerts or selling their music. Bands like Radiohead and some others can let their fans -- consumers -- name their own price when it comes to buying their music. How many musicians can afford to do that?
Sometimes the problem with musicians and "Glee" -- especially for Streisand -- comes from a concern with backward association. It's a prideful thing. "My niece, my young niece saw 'Funny Girl' on DVD and said, 'How come you're singing so many songs from 'Glee'?" Streisand said recently.