"CSI" Investigates New U2

By | November 3, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Pity the television fan who doesn’t like the music of U2.

After a blizzard of Apple iTunes commercials featuring the band’s new single, “Vertigo,” blanketed television screens nationwide in October, the band is once again turning to the tube to usher in a second wave of exposure.

To promote their new record, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which drops Nov. 23, the Irish foursome will pull musical guest duty on NBC’s Saturday Night Live later this month. And, in an even more novel strategy, the band is teaming with CBS’ runaway hit CSI to will roll out tracks from the album over the next few weeks, E! Online has confirmed.

A snippet of “Vertigo” played in last week’s CSI, while the show’s 100th episode on Nov. 18 will feature a special remix of the single. Another track, to be determined by the band, will appear on the Nov. 25 episode.

While the soundtracks to many TV shows feature modern rock acts to cross-promote the music and sell the show’s hipness, never has a band of U2’s caliber taken advantage of the tactic.

Precious few bands wield enough clout to cherry-pick shows for their promotional purposes, especially when the show of choice is the top-rated on television and will air during the high-stakes November sweeps.

“I think that U2 and their manager Paul McGuinness have been extremely smart,” says music supervisor G. Marq Roswell of 35 Sound. “The show [ CSI ] is a proven success and this is a way to expose them to an entirely different demographic that may or may not be aware of their new release.”

Roswell, who has worked as a music supervisor on films like Auto Focus and Spy Game, thinks U2 knew exactly what it was doing when the band agreed to license its music to CBS’ number one drama.

“When a group like U2, who are so notoriously careful with licensing their music, agrees to rollout three tracks on a show like CSI, that’s huge,” he says. “That’s the McGuinness way. As a manager, he’s always been extremely smart in realizing how the music business is changing-and I would have to say he’s usually been right about it.”

Roswell says U.S. television viewers can expect to see more bands attempting to promote their new records via partnerships with television shows in the future.

“Managers are starting to realize that TV has such a huge audience,” he says. “They know the demographics of the shows, and they see immediate sales spikes right after the show airs whether it is CSI or even a WB series.”

Aside from the TV blitz for the band’s old media fans, U2 is also using the Internet in hopes of enticing some younger music fans who may not be down with the lads from across the pond.

Last week, the band announced it has teamed with Apple to release a special-edition black iPod. “Vertigo” has been available on Apple’s iTunes Music Store for weeks and is currently the most-downloaded track on the music service.

And, as if November couldn’t get any busier for the biggest band in the world, U2 is considered a lock to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this month in its first year of eligibility. The band, now almost 30 years into its career, was nominated for the Hall of Fame in September.

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