“Everybody now has a chance to be on a show about talented underdogs. We want to be the first interactive comedy on TV”
shipped it around record companies looking for a label which could release and promote the songs featured in each episode on a quick turnaround basis. Sony Music put in the best bid, and it’s no coincidence that the majority of the songs used so far are by Sony artists.
For Ryan Murphy, the song selection is all important. “Each episode has a theme at its core,” he says. “After the script is written, I will choose the songs that help to move the story along. There has to be a balance between show tunes and chart hits – something for everybody in each episode.”
Murphy says that it would normally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay the licensing rights to use a big hit in a prime time show, but musicians (or rather their publishing companies) are now offering the songs for free – knowing that the sales bounce will more than compensate them.
The Glee Effect doesn’t end with the music charts. When Sony came on board, it signed the Glee cast (all previously unknown actors) to “360-degree” deals. This means that Sony will co-ordinate and share in the profits from Glee tours, merchandising sales, endorsements, mobile ringtones and possible solo albums from cast members.
The first Glee live tour will hit US venues this summer, and you really can’t rule out the cast rolling up at Dublin’s 02 for a series of shows before the end of the year.
It’s perhaps no coincidence that when news of the live tour leaked out, there was also an announcement by the Fox Network that Glee would be holding auditions for three new roles to be introduced into the second season of the show. Such is the interest in these auditions that a multi-part television
show about the process will be screened before the second series begins.
This spin-off programme will only add to the value of the Glee brand. It is still not clear if the audition TV shows will be opened up to a public vote (à la X-Factor), but Murphy has said “anybody and everybody now has a chance to be on a show about talented underdogs. We want to be the first interactive comedy on TV.”
It is not inconceivable that, if the live shows do as well as expected, then the current cast will stay on the road and be gradually replaced by a new bunch of actors in the TV programme.
With a presence not just on the singles and albums charts but soon also on the lucrative live touring circuit – as well as huge television viewing figures – Glee has the potential to “multi-platform” its way across the entire entertainment sector. As Amy says, it sounds “the nuts”.