Tim Davis will want to take some credit for the discovery of singer Leslie Feist, known just by her last name. But the reality is that until she showed up in that iPod Nano ad, singing "1234," nobody knew who she was. Since that spot started airing nationally, Feist and "1234" are bona fide hits. And once again, radio has had little – if anything – to do with it.
And as the incessant Danny Buch emails keep telling us, Old Navy ads are making a star of Ingrid Michaelson. Of course, if you watch Grey’s Anatomy, you first heard…or saw Michaelson as part of that hit show’s soundtrack. Once again, radio is the last to get the message. In fact in one of his missives, Danny actually was trying to get the single serviced to radio, long after it started becoming one of those "Who’s that singing on those Old Navy commercials?" phenomenon.
It’s more evidence that new music and new artists are being broken outside of radio, an industry that’s often stuck either trying to catch up or just figure out what’s all the commotion about. Yes, the statistics continue to reinforce that radio is still #1 for exposure to new music. But when commercials and TV shows are generating the real music buzz, it’s time to start re-evaluating.