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Up All Night: How Late Night Shows Factor into Music Promotion



First published on www.nielsen.com

Late night TV is an entertainment battleground, and when it comes to engaging audiences, hosts and networks pull out all the stops—interviews, parodies, games, sketch comedy skits, etc. However, there’s no denying the importance of music performances and artist guest appearances, and fans continue to tune in for this critical element of late night TV programming.

TV networks have an array of performance options, including guest (breakout or seasoned artist), genre, and set-up (acoustic or full band), to consider when attracting an audience. For a label, management or artist, however, the goal of a late night TV performance is simple: maximize the artist’s exposure and increase the revenue opportunity. And to do this, it’s vital to understand the key elements that create an effective appearance for on-screen exposure and how it can impact an artist’s overall success.


Appearing on late night talk shows can benefit artists significantly when they release new music—or shortly beforehand. These appearances help artists maximize their exposure during a very critical part of their song promotion. As Nielsen discussed at SXSW, the first eight to 12 weeks after a song is released is an optimal time for artists to gain exposure through television appearances (although some artists opt to do it even earlier). In many cases, artists use the time leading up to a formal release to drum up awareness and traction through streaming, Web activity and social media.

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