Music Rights, Is The Profit Worth The Cost?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Frank Soyke, May 2, 2013.

  1. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    When I did the demographic study that I posted on, it occurred to me to take a closer look at how it relates to shows caught up in music rights issues. Here, I feel my original premise continues to hold true with regard to music rights. I'm just wondering if the Warner Big 4 detective shows will ever come out, since sales of these shows might not offset the cost of obtaining the music rights. After all, do four historically lightly syndicated 50+ year old shows have enough sales potential to offset the costs (which I'm guessing aren't cheap) of putting them out in their original form? Is there enough of a market for them to at least break even in an MOD program? I don't know. Personally, I'd love to see them (especially Eye) but I am skeptical.
    The Wonder Years, on the other hand, is in a category by itself. It's an immensely popular show with a devoted following and a built in market. The ongoing anticipation of it's release has actually given it more publicity and, in turn, will probably increase potential sales. I am of the opinion that whatever distributor that might take a chance on this one would be pleaseantly surprised at the generated profits. To me, I think that if someone does eventually put it out, it has Time/Life written all over it. Please note that even though another show of that era, Drew Carey, faces similar issues, Wonder Years blows Carey away with regard to popularity so I wouldn't expect a release on that if Wonder Years doesn't come out. IMO.
    I'm assuming Ozzie and Harriet won't have any music issues as the studios will be dealing directly with the heirs.
    Those are the polarities, but what about the shows in the middle? I'm speaking of the shows with "some" music that needs cleared. These always make me scratch my head because most of them I can't even remember any music in them other than the theme. I guess it has to do primarily with background or incidental music. I remember hearing one of the guys from Shout say that they weren't going to look in to getting Maude because of music rights. What?? Maybe I'm a little dense, but I cannot remember any music in Maude other than the theme. For that matter, if any music (save the theme) was replaced on Maude, would any of us really care? This isn't quite WKRP we are talking here. Someone told me recently that Chico has the same issues. Again, other than the theme and some incidental music, where is it? I hate replacement music as much as anyone, but for a show like Maude or Chico and the Man, I would gladly take it if it meant a complete release, I'll say again though, no replacement on the themes. That's just not acceptable. Sometimes I wonder if the studios sometimes just use that excuse when dealing with fans because they don't want to tell us that they just aren't interested in releasing a particular title. IMO
     
  2. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

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    it seems to me, that as a somewhat general rule, music plays an important role for most people.

    probably more than it does for me, personally.

    that being said, i will apply the same logic to the music, as i did to the show.

    there are so many people living, that i think most any show will make some profit.

    so either the show can sit in the vaults, making no money for anyone, or they can come to the logical conclusion that making some is better than making none.

    the music people could simply make a percentage of the revenue, if they are worried about giving the rights away too cheaply.

    the bottom line is that things can be worked out, if egos dont get in the way.
     
  3. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    In the case of Maude, there are two music issues. There are four "musical variety show" episodes which are simply loaded with music to clear. They would have to be cleared to some extent or the shows couldn't be included at all. The second issue is the occasional song lyric sung by one character or another. (All in the Family and Sanford and Son had similar musical bits sung by characters and they were all cleared.) WKRP? No. But it would mean cutting pieces out of scenes, as was done in over thirty instances in The Odd Couple. The larger issue is that I think music replacement/editing is just awful when it requires cutting out parts of the shows. At the same time, if the real choice is between edited episodes and no releases at all, then I suppose I would rather have edited episodes.
     
  4. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    Your comment on the Odd Couple surprises me. 30 instances? I have the sets and I never even noticed. As far as the Maude thing goes, even if they dropped those 4 shows you mentioned, I'd be OK with that because otherwise I'll never get the show. I will admit I have a vested interest in Maude as the John Wayne episode is one of my very favorites eps. of any show. And incidentially, it was the only ep of a Norman Lear show I've ever seen where he even attempted to show some impartiality with his politics. Don't wanna violate forum rules so I'll leave it at that.
     
  5. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    My wife is a big Dawson's Creek fan and bought all the season sets on DVD then was disappointed that the music in most episodes, as well as the theme song before each episode, was changed because of licensing issues. Totally changed the feel of the show and pretty much ruined it.

    I am facing the same delimma with the Drew Carey show. If and when it is ever fully released, I'm sure it will be butchered or have a complete change in music because of rights issues. Really sad.
     
  6. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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  7. Kasey

    Kasey Second Unit

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    FanCollector, you beat me to it with your MAUDE response. Everything was well-put. It's my Holy Grail so I guess I'd be content without the 4 musical shows (I have different syndicated edits anyway) but I doubt it's gonna happen. The same thing goes for IT'S A LIVING. Sonny the lounge singer (Paul Kreppel) performed bits and pieces in nearly every single episode and I doubt the show has large enough consumer interest to warrant clearing all those for release.
     
  8. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    It's funny, Kasey, because it's always that calculation of demand versus cost. When Cliff Mac from Shout made that music rights observation about Maude, I asked if Maude really had so much more music to clear than All in the Family (which Shout had recently picked up from Sony), or if it was just a question of the demand not being equal to that of AITF. He told me it was the latter; Maude wasn't more "musical" than All in the Family as a whole, but they determined that the prospective demand wasn't worth the cost.That's the bad news. The good news is that another licensing distributor may make a different calculation at some point. I wonder if Maude had much of an international audience. Sometimes companies from other countries can get more favorable deals if they feel there is a market there.
     
  9. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    It's highly doubtful that any of the Norman Lear shows had any life outside of the US and maybe Canada because so much of the dialogue dealt specifically with American politics. I've never found any evidence of them airing in the UK.
     
  10. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    Plus, the UK had their own version of All in the Family, the show Lear based AITF off of, 'Till Death Us Do Part.
     
  11. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    According to author Donna McCrohan, All in the Family was the most popular show in Malaysia for many years. (Not sure how that will get us a DVD release of Maude, but I thought it was interesting.)
     

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