Ingrid Michaelson Focuses on Live Gigs, Song Placement

This London Times profile of singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson deserves a little more than just a slot on this week’s “interesting links” list. A few slices of Michaelson’s life indicate the direction that savvy working musicians will need to take in order to make real money over the next decade.

The piece lingers on the fact that Michaelson developed her initial audience without the support of a major label. By focusing on filling gigs instead of worrying about airplay and shelf placement, she was able to develop an audience that sustained her early work.

Connecting with musical supervisors led to the next breakthrough: placement in commercials, films, and television shows. Until a few years ago, this kind of song placement was usually an afterthought for most artists and labels. Today, it can be the foundation for a career. Michaelson shrugs off accusations of selling out:

I have my morals; I’ve turned down a lot of money for commercials for things I don’t want to be associated with. So I’m not like, ‘Everybody, take my songs, give me your money.’ But if it’s for some sweater commercial, or in the background of a romantic scene in a TV show, who the f*** cares? Get over it.

The solid fan base and the revenue from those song placements allows Michaelson to be more adventurous in her writing and recording today. Read the full article to learn how all the pieces of her strategy came together.