The WWE Would Like A Little Credit For Saving Hard Rock, OK?

47 million viewers tune into a WWE broadcast each week. Both Barack Obama and John McCain have appeared recently (albeit via taped segments) on WWE Raw. But will the music industry show the media powerhouse any love? Sadly, no.

As anyone who has watched a WWE program is aware, music is as much a part of televised wrestling as hand drawn posters and spandex. But record industry executives don’t think of the WWE when they have music to promote. The injustice!

“One of my frustrations is getting the word out about just how much music is used in our product,” WWE music director Jim Johnston said. “The labels will stumble over themselves to get on MTV, but no one’s watching MTV.”

… For licensed music used in pay-per-view events and the occasional weekly broadcast, the WWE sometimes showcases songs by such well-known acts as Kid Rock or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. More typically, it seeks out little-known bands willing to provide their music for free, timing the airing of a song around the release of a new album, according to WWE Music Group general manager Neil Lawi, who listens to submissions, maintains relationships with labels and frequently scouts new talent.

That impact on sales from a WWE placement can be immediate, even if a band won’t get rich from the proceeds. For instance, the March 31 episode of the company’s flagship series, “Raw,” featured the song “Leave the Memories Alone” by veteran hard rock band Fuel as part of a tribute to retired wrestler Ric Flair. Paid U.S. downloads of the song totaled less than 1,000 during the two weeks before the broadcast, but surged to nearly 8,000 during the next two weeks, according to SoundScan.

Watch that video, and tell me that the WWE doesn’t have the power to move product.

Although music from up-and0coming artists is one of the many reasons to tune into the WWE, the real musical highlight comes courtesy of Jim Johnston, who serves as the composer for most wrestlers’ theme music and is one of the unsung composers of our time. Thankfully, we have the amateur editors of YouTube to pay proper tribute to the his genius.

Music a key element in WWE brand profile [Reuters]