The indie rockers and future pop superstars you hear while The Real World casts make out and drink aren’t getting paid for the privilege of providing the soundtrack to MTV’s number one show.
While The Stranger reports that on some shows, “a song by an emerging artist could fetch up to $20,000 or $30,000,” those who appear on MTV’s first reality show only get exposure. The show’s music supervisor, Louis Clark, told the paper, “We work on a gratis license, which means there’s no money up front.”
That’s not exactly a great deal, according to manager Chris Nilsson. “A placement on The Real World will rarely, if ever, cause sales or exposure to increase dramatically. All it really does is allow you to tell your grandmother that your garage band was on MTV,” he says.