Kimmel taps social net for bevy of buzz bands

Music for Screens: Summer 2011

If ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” can’t boast the ratings clout of latenight rivals Leno and Letterman, the show, not unlike NBC’s later-airing “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” scores high on the buzz factor when it comes to musical appearances.

In its ninth season, some now-famous artists who’ve made latenight TV debuts on “JKL” include Lady Gaga, 50 Cent, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson, Kanye West, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum and Korn, which makes the show one of the more coveted platforms in a band’s quest for wider exposure. (Lady Gaga made a return engagement in July, while recent guest Coldplay has appeared multiple times since first performing on the show in 2003.)

Now with “JKL’s” partnership with Whooznxt.com, the show is using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as a yardstick to reward the most buzzed-about bands with a booking on the show. In March, Kimmel and Whooznxt made some hay in the alt-pop world by traveling to SXSW to display its commitment to up-and-coming acts, if not establish some street cred in the rough-and-tumble, DIY indie realm.

“The idea to find bands with a huge digital fan base, giving them the opportunity for mass exposure, is unique,” says “JKL” co-exec producer Doug DeLuca.

The show’s YouTube channel averages about 5 million views weekly, in addition to their conspicuous presence on Facebook, Twitter and Hulu. “We love the Web’s immediacy of getting scores on a band’s popularity,” adds DeLuca. “A band with a built-in fan base is a huge marketing force.”

Jeff Yapp, founder/CEO of Whooznxt, considers Kimmel’s show “the premier destination” for bands seeking a major break, and his website uses a monthly tally of which talents track the highest cyber following to determine who might score the big gig. Among the bands who ended up on

the Kimmel stage as a result

of their Whooznxt exposure were I See Stars, Breathe Carolina and the Nashville-based band the Features, who record for the Kings of Leon’s label, Serpents and Snakes.

“Their fans get them here, we give them the platform,” says Yapp. “A band that connects to their audience grows universally.”

The site has experienced a 300% increase in sign-ups following “JKL.”

U.K. metalcore rockers Asking Alexandria earned an April appearance on “JKL” when they gained 90,000 fans the week of SXSW. According to Yapp, after the rockers’ appearance on “JKL,” they made it to No. 7 on Twitter globally, their fan base leaped to the tune of 140,000 additional followers (their 1.4 million fans on Facebook exceed those of Def Leppard) and their bookings extended non-stop through the summer.

Says Yapp: “Live performances are the No. 1 way to grow your fan base.”

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