Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that CBS–the network that brought you Rock Star: Supernova and Survivor: White People Be Buggin’ Out–will revamp CBS Records, the Columbia-afiliated label that Walter Yetnikoff famously helmed with an iron fist and a coked-out stare from the late ’70s to the early ’90s. But while the old CBS roster featured the likes of Michael Jackson and Billy Joel, the new label is more interested in making sure Chris Martin doesn’t keep eating up the network’s music-licensing budget:
With CBS Records, the company primarily hopes to pare spending on licensing music for the TV shows it produces through its CBS Paramount Television unit. Music-license fees have been climbing at a rate of about 20% a year, studio executives say, in large part because studios now routinely license music for Internet distribution…
[CBS President Nancy Tellem] said she didn’t expect the label to have more than 10 dedicated employees. Larry Jenkins, a music-industry veteran who has been hired to consult on the venture, says the label will focus on signing singer-songwriters and other “self-contained” acts that can write and record quickly and inexpensively. The label launches with three signings: Singer-songwriters P.J. Olsson and Will Dailey, and a rock band called Señor Happy.
Thank God–if there’s one thing primetime TV needs, it’s more singer-songwriters. Apparently, the label will only release songs through iTunes, which is a shame: We were really looking forward to the white-label David Caruso CSI: Miami remix.