If you’ve been watching “Glee” from the start, you’ll know that it’s come a long way from its beginning roots. Wholesome puppy love has become full-fledged romances, marriages, and tons of other drama along the way. But let’s face it: without the music of “Glee,” it would be just another teen sitcom. The music is why people tune in week after week and hand over their money at the episode’s end to score the songs on their iPods. While not every song is a total gem, “Glee” has breathed new life into a music industry struggling in the digital age. Here’s a few ways that “Glee” has made it all better.
Old Artists, New Hits
If I hear another middle-school girl complain about the “old version” of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” I might lose faith in humanity. I’ve always loved Journey, and saw the “Glee” version as a fitting tribute. But for younger viewers, it’s the first time they’ve ever heard about the small town boy born and raised in South Detroit. Whole new generations of fans are being turned onto classic rock, show tunes, and a bunch of other music that they may not have ever heard. While I still love the real deal, I can’t fault “Glee” for getting teens into “Singin’ in the Rain,” or John Lennon. And most of the artists don’t mind either; they score royalties for all of the songs that “Glee” releases as singles after the show and on the show albums.
When Napster and Limewire were kings, the music industry took a massive hit. No one was paying for music anymore. While some people would justify bootlegging music because artists were already rich, they didn’t take into consideration the mixers, producers, other talent, writers, and people who worked on a specific album. What’s an industry to do? “Glee” helped restore the drive to buy music once again. By offering their songs exclusively on iTunes directly after a show aired, people came in droves to spend their $0.99 on the TV version of “Forget You.” It’s a move that revitalized the music industry. Of course, the shutting down of Napster and Limewire really helped, too.
Did you know that “Glee” producers get their hot little hands on new music faster than most of the industry? In fact, producers have complained that it’s often difficult to write for new songs, since the writers, producers, and performers themselves haven’t yet signed off on the royalty split. Still, “Glee” is definitely responsible for launching songs into superstardom. In fact, “Teenage Dream” is thus far the show’s best-selling single, so it’s no surprise that the Katy Perry version also killed it on the charts. Expect to tune in and listen to the newest music interspersed with older faves.
Music in School
Let’s be honest here; no one is insinuating that “Glee” has been able to rocket music theater and choir kids into the popular circle at school; it only has so many powers. But “Glee” has definitely piqued interest in music again, especially among teens. The modern vibe of the show, paired with semi-real life teenage problems makes the teen demographic tune in again and again. And while “Glee” can’t make music kids popular, it can help them go mainstream, which might be just as good for picked-on teens.
“Glee” has been on-screen since 2009, and it still shows no signs of slowing. Where “Glee” once struggled to be noticed by the music industry, it’s now the producers that are holding all of the cards.
Tagg writes for CableTV.com. He typically writes about entertainment and technology. When he’s not writing or watching the latest reality TV show, he’s an avid golfer. You can follow him on Twitter. @CableTVcom.