Wanna be a rock’n’roll star? Then start courtin’ Norton
THE MOST important person in music in both Ireland and the UK is Graham Norton. You read that right: Bandon’s Graham Norton is far more important and influential than Simon Cowell. Or The Voice. Or any label boss, DJ or promoter you could care to mention. Yes, he’s even more important than MCD. And U2. Combined.
Norton may have nothing to do with music per se and is perhaps more focused on the fun to be had from a chocolate dildo than in the careers of fellow Bandon man Mick Flannery, or David Guetta, or Emeli Sandé. But the hard facts tell us otherwise.
An in-depth survey into the retail impact of television exposure for an artist has just revealed that an appearance on The Graham Norton Show will boost your album sales by a minimum of 70 per cent. In some cases, the results are even more dramatic. When up-andcomers The Musgraves did a turn on Norton’s show, they saw sales of their single Last of Me jump 2,827 per cent – and they haven’t even gotten around to releasing their first album yet.
You may think David Guetta doesn’t need any promotional push, given that he has taken up residence at the very top of the charts, but following his Norton appearance, sales of his Oh My Goodness album went up by 102 per cent. Which was still nowhere near the 196 per cent increase in album sales posted by Will Young following his appearance.
To put the sales increase in context, it would take an awful lot of money and the best radio pluggers and PR people in the world, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to get anywhere near a 70 per cent increase via the time-honoured routes.
The key is that Norton is a much- liked presenter and his show is a perfectly paced and weighted light entertainment vehicle which provides the best backdrop for a musical act to showcase their wares. In a much-fragmented media world where social networking really isn’t fulfilling its early promise as the ideal marketing tool, the oldfashioned chat show reigns supreme.
You could argue that this has nothing to do with Norton – he just happens to be the front man of a much-watched chat show. But compare and contrast his figures with those of Jonathan Ross (whose show airs on ITV) and you’ll find that a Ross appearance just doesn’t have the same sales traction. Lana Del Rey could only post a 40 per cent increase in sales of Video Games after her Ross appearance, Arctic Monkeys only managed a 30 per cent increase, and Jessie J limped in at 16 per cent.
And The Graham Norton Show is actually international. In Ireland we can get it on the BBC or TV3, and it also screens in India, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the US, Hong Kong, Belgium and Mexico. That’s the sort of exposure you can launch a career with.
It also helps that Norton has a BBC Radio 2 Saturday morning show. He first picked up on The Musgraves (a new Birmingham band) on his radio show before giving the unknowns prime-time TV exposure. The results were astonishing: pre the Norton show, The Musgraves had sold 100 copies of their single. After the Norton show they shifted more than 28,000 copies.
Today, as with most days, I’ve just replied to between 10 and 15 emails from new Irish bands looking for exposure in The Ticket. I tell them all the same thing: print media will come to you, but first you need to find an audience and you’ll get that from radio play. If radio likes you, there’s a good chance TV will come after you.
All bands dream of the sort of instant attention and exposure The Musgraves have enjoyed in the past few weeks. But there’s no dream element here – you just need to get your music to the right person and, if it’s as good as you claim it is, the sales will look after themselves. It really is that simple.
Especially if Graham Norton likes it.
Golden Graham: The Musgraves saw a huge sales jump after their appearance on Norton’s show