Indie bands have increasingly become the go to guys for television music supervisors . Always eager to promote their music and always willing to negotiate a good deal; they also allow for greater flexibility with licensing turn around time. Smaller labels can license a song within hours - you're lucky to get a major label to grant a license in a few weeks! Smaller budgets for cable programming and well, lower television budgets in general, has made indie band music licensing a far more attractive alternative.
There is no better way to receive broad exposure than to license your song to a show with say, 5million viewers per week. A recent example is the song "Broken" by S. Carey used in an episode of Burn Notice. Actually, not just any episode - one that was heavily promoted with the death of a main character. Thus, pulling in a captivated 5million viewers who heard the song play out during said death and throughout the final 3 minutes of the show. You couldn't ask for better exposure. I liked the song enough to look it up and discover who S. Carey is (drummer, collaborator of Bon Iver) and ultimately buy his album on iTunes.
I also noticed this past season (third) of The Good Wife, that the music selections became more eclectic and also took centre stage played through the last minutes of certain episodes. Not sure if they hired a new music supervisor, but for sure, their musical taste changed - for the better; playing Beach House's "Real Love" in the final moments of their season finale.
Gone are the days when shows like er played songs like Don Henley's "I'm taking you home" during the final scene when George Clooney returns as Doug Ross to reunite with Julianna Margulie's Carol Hathaway. Too expensive, too much time to secure licensing. Although, surprisingly, Coldplay has recently begun to license their music in earnest. When they were still relatively new, they had a policy of not licensing their music. I guess poor sales of their latest album made them change their minds on that.
Long live indie music!