If You Enjoy “NCIS,” You Might Like Karmina

Dan Gibson | June 6, 2008 10:30 am

Series television has become the new home of music on the small screen, with more music being played on an episode of CSI during your typical hour of VH1. If you’re slightly out-of-date television network CBS, why not start a label to create a little extra corporate synergy?

To their credit, the new CBS Records (not to be confused with the division of Columbia that previously owned that name) is at least setting realistic expectations for their artists, with small advances and the promise of a few drops into the more than 2,000 music placements on CBS shows each year. At very least, you have to admire the frankness of their business model.

Nancy Tellem, who heads CBS’ network and television studio’s entertainment division, spearheaded the launch of the label in 2006. The underlying business strategy is twofold: Save on music licensing by building a small stable of acts whose recordings would be owned by the parent group and generate revenue for CBS if any of those acts get a hit.

Free music for Numb3rs and the off chance that an artist featured on the show might hit it big? It’s a win/win! Still, the tough-love corporate synergy is balanced by Larry Jenkins, the label head who still believes in the music, man.

“I spent an entire career at the major labels,” Jenkins said, “and I learned a lot of what to do — and a lot of what to avoid. I thought, ‘What if we went into this where we’ll only sign artists who are really talented? The kind of artists you can bring to your office with acoustic guitar or a keyboard and they sing and play great. The real deal.”

In addition to CBS’ newfound synergy, the new Bret Michaels disc is being effectively pushed by VH1 Classic Records, which managed to work a number of Rock Of Love clips into his new video, Still, it’s almost befuddling that more labels aren’t springing up from existing media outlets, especially when other labels are tossing money at occasionally adept bandwagon jumpers and hoping it sticks.

A new harmony for music labels, TV [Los Angeles Times]