“Performing for the first time on daytime television … ” is an introduction Ellen DeGeneres uses often on her syndicated talk show. And in the past two years, the phrase has preceded appearances by such hip-hop heavyweights as Kendrick Lamar, Future, Migos, Travis Scott and Chance the Rapper, among others. Like many a TV marriage, it may be unlikely, but it works.
“Other shows put on music to fill a hole,” says co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, who oversees music bookings (season 15 premieres Sept. 5, with Pink appearing the next day). But DeGeneres targeted big stars. “When we launched ‘Ellen,’ she wanted Eminem, Bono and Justin Timberlake.” (Timberlake would appear on the show’s second episode in 2003.) The rise in hip-hop bookings, he adds, “stems, first and foremost, from Ellen’s love of the genre and those artists.” Second, “hip-hop is ever-present.”
Indeed, according to the 2017 mid-year report by music analytics firm BuzzAngle, hip-hop/rap is the top genre in overall song consumption, accounting for 21% of listening (pop is a distant second, at 14.3%), and has grown 48.6% compared with the same six-month period in 2016. And as acts like Lamar, Scott, French Montana, Big Sean, and DJ Khaled cross over to pop on terrestrial and satellite radio and via popular streaming playlists, it would stand to reason that mainstream programs, even those that air when the sun is out, would embrace the genre too.
Yet “Ellen,” which averaged 2.9 million viewers in its 14th season in 2016-17, seems to be the outlier — or the trailblazer — on daytime. That’s partly due to the sheer volume of music on the show per season. Norman cites that number at between 100 and 110 performances annually, and adds, “Nobody on daytime has that many.”
|“Moms are getting hipper to the music earlier.
|JOIE MANDA, INTERSCOPE GEFFEN A&M