No Doubt, Dave Matthews Band, Flo Rida, Black Eyed Peas and Jennifer Hudson are among the artists scheduled to appear on NBC's "Today" show as part of the morning program's 14th annual summer concert series. No Doubt, in its first live appearance after a five-year hiatus, kicks off the run May 1.
The series, which is sponsored by Toyota and is set for each Friday throughout the summer, has become known as a way for acts to reach new audiences; "Today" boasts an average viewership of 5.5 million.
"The ratings do vary week to week," says Jim Bell, the show's executive producer. "The impact each band will see depends on the concert. Regardless of the sales impact, though, the concerts provide a great boost of energy for the show and the crowd."
Impact on sales varies for each act. The show claimed last year that acts see a 22% average increase in sales after performances on the summer concert series. At the same time, many artists go on the show to promote forthcoming albums, while others play big hits that can be heard on every radio station, so sales data can be hard to ascribe to one performance.
But that's not to say some bands don't see real boosts; after the B-52's performed on the show in the summer of 2008, digital sales of "Love Shack" jumped from 4300 to 5300, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Digital sales of "Funplex" went from under 1,000 to 1,200; and 'Rock Lobster" went from 1,700 to 2,100. Kenny Chesney also reported a 30% increase in sales of his album "Just Who I Am: Pirates & Poets" after he performed on June 13, 2008.
Many contend that the show's impact can't be measured in sales figures alone. "We feel like the 'Today' show has become not only our TV platform, but our partner," says New Kids on the Block manager Jared Paul. "We used the show to announce the reunion, went back to stage the first performance, back again to launch the record, and we're going back again this summer to launch a tour."
The show has a tangible impact on online buzz. According to BuzzMetrics, a Nielsen Online data source that measures buzz in social media across more than 78 million blogs and message boards, of 103 million-plus messages posted on the Internet between Jan. 1 and May 16, 2008 (the day the New Kids' segment aired on the morning show), buzz was highest after the "Today" show performance, with more than 1.3 million messages posted.
The show isn't just for old timers firing up the amps one more time, either. Younger acts, like All American Rejects, also report positive results in the wake of performances.
"I've seen it have an impact on record sales and concert ticket sales," says Jordan Berliant, GM of the music division at the Collective, which works with the Rejects and a number of other rock acts. "I like the fact that they'll stage it non-generically. They'll put it outside Rockefeller Center sometimes, and it becomes a real event."
"It's an honor," says Flo Rida regarding his August 14 booking. "I always do something real big every time I get on TV, but since this is my first time on 'Today' I definitely have to set the mark very high."
Additional artists and special guests will be announced throughout the season.
The 2009 "Toyota Concert Series on Today" lineup is:
May 1: No Doubt
May 8: New Kids On The Block & Special Guest
May 15: Jennifer Hudson
May 22: Fall Out Boy
May 29: Taylor Swift
June 5: The Dave Matthews Band
June 12: Black Eyed Peas
June 19: Jonas Brothers
June 26: The Fray
July 3: Rob Thomas
July 10: Rascal Flatts
July 17: The All American Rejects
July 24: Katy Perry
July 31: Kings of Leon
Aug 7: Jason Mraz
Aug 14: Flo Rida
Aug 21: Natasha Bedingfield
Aug 28: TBA
Additional reporting by Mitchell Peters and David Prince.