There’s an interesting article on the San Francisco Chronicle site about how TV adverts can launch a song, it also mentions the shrinking options for launching a new band into the limelight:
Further complicating the matter is a decline in overall band exposure. For the most part, radio has been unwilling to break the Top 40 model and television stations like MTV and VH1 have all but dropped music by unbranded bands.
In response, labels have turned to companies such as Apple and Volkswagen, and television dramas like ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” to promote unknown bands that both attract young audiences and translate to high product sales and ratings.
In the UK we’re somewhat better off because the BBC radio stations are not funded by advertising so can afford to offer and promote a wider range of music, including new and upcoming acts (how many ‘first plays’ have they had?). On the other hand, as my commute is now so short, I rarely listen to the radio, so my main sources of new music tend to be adverts, TV shows, movies and movie trailers. Maybe the music industry will need to start packaging up records (i.e. you can only play the new track from [insert famous artist] if you also play a track from [up and coming artist]) something like the movie industry.