Together at last: Anderson Cooper and Michael Stipe

Yes, the internet is taking over music. (See: Radiohead.) But if that's indisputably the main event, then one of the interesting little undercard matches these last two years has been how TV has quietly surpassed radio as a medium for breaking (or re-launching) artists. It's a trend that began, at least in our minds, when Nike bought "Search and Destroy" by the Stooges back in 1996, foreshadowing a stretch in which Madison Avenue (or at least the dudes with the iTunes account) proved to have better taste than the vast majority of commercial radio's vaunted program directors (we admit some notable exceptions). Initially this was a shock; the shock didn't last. What once felt like a Berlin Wall-sized barrier between the music industry and the ad industry fell relatively quickly; and as radio adds dried up, labels quickly changed their tune towards TV in general. (An image springs to mind: two old whores clinging to each other as their lifeboat sinks.) Where once it would have been unthinkable for a network television show to be so lucky as to use real, live, current hit music in their storylines, the practice is now bankrolling the marketing budgets of musicians at all levels. Bruce Springsteen and Kid Rock have been "featured artists" on the last two editions of Monday Night Football. Grey’s Anatomy has been almost as big a marketing tool for a certain segment of new artist (middle-of-the-road singer-songwriters, mainly) as has MySpace: and if people like this are any indication, those two social vectors are on a collision course. Pick your own tipping point, just please don't use the letters O or C.

In such a context, we find the press release below to be hella amusing. (There's also probably some good-old-fashioned gamesmanship here, in trying to snatch a little attention from their artistic rivals across the pond: "If the Radiohead server crashes...") Like a lot of big-name artists, R.E.M. probably realize that they'll get more bang out of television and film licensing than they will out of the radio. But they're idealistic dudes, right? You can sorta see Michael Stipe scratching his head, wondering what kind of television show could possibly be the right fit for the songs of  a middle-aged, intellectually-middleweight, overly-sincere, ambiguously-gay idealist? Then, suddenly, a lightbulb flashes . . .

From the inbox:

R.E.M. Song to Debut on Anderson Cooper 360° on Wednesday, Oct. 10
Exclusive Trailer for CNN's Upcoming Documentary Planet in Peril Features Unreleased 'Until the Day Is Done'
Trailer Available on beginning Oct. 10; Included in AC360 Podcast Beginning Thursday, Oct. 11; and Featured in Planet in Peril, Airing Oct. 23 & 24

"Until the Day Is Done", the new song from R.E.M., will debut on Anderson Cooper 360° on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in advance of their widely anticipated forthcoming album due for release next spring. The song will be matched to clips from CNN's Planet in Peril, which features footage from areas around the world where environmental crises are not a theory but are happening in real time, and will play over the documentary's closing credits.

Coinciding with its debut on Anderson Cooper 360°, the video trailer will be available at the Planet in Peril section of at The four-hour documentary airs in two parts on Tuesday, Oct. 23, and Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET/PT) and will air worldwide on CNN International in more than 200 countries and territories.

"Our goal with this project has always been to convey the facts about environmental change in a way that isn't a lecture or a warning, but a powerful look at how we're all interconnected, both to each other and to our environment," said David Doss, senior executive producer of Anderson Cooper 360° and Planet in Peril. "Being able to highlight some of our footage with a song by one of the most acclaimed bands in the world is another way to engage in our audience in this vital dialogue."

"With Planet in Peril, Anderson Cooper and his team have done an amazing job capturing global eco-devastation," said Michael Stipe of R.E.M.  "The images in the film are beautiful, while at the same time heart-breaking and frightening.  We are honored to have our song included in this monumental project."
Planet in Peril brings viewers the stories behind the statistics, as CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Animal Planet host and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin focus on four main issues that threaten the planet and its inhabitants: climate change, deforestation, species loss and overpopulation.  Planet in Peril was filmed in 13 countries over nearly a year.

"Until the Day Is Done" will be included on R.E.M.'s new album due Spring 2008. In the meantime, R.E.M.'s live CD/DVD, the first ever of their 27-year career, is due out Tuesday, Oct. 16, on Warner Bros. Records. Titled R.E.M. Live, the 22-track audio and visual package captures singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck and bassist Mike Mills performing live at a dynamic show at the Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, on Feb. 27, 2005. 

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