DVDs and Music Videos - Why not more?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jon Martin, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    There seems to be one extra that is missing from a lot of DVDs, especially for films that were released in the 80’s, the music videos.

    Even more than trailers (which are almost always included), music videos were a HUGE part in the promotion of films. While people saw the trailers a couple times, regular MTV viewers in the 80’s (back when they showed music videos) would often show music videos 3 or 4 times a day.

    And I’m not talking about songs that were popular and used in the movie, I’m talking about songs that originated in the film, appeared on the soundtrack, and the videos were made up of clips from the film.

    I often Tivo VH1 Classics, the “We are the 80’s” show especially. It seems every episode includes several movie music videos. Filled with scenes from the movies.

    Yet, when the DVD is released, the music video isn’t there.

    For example, the recent release of Madonna’s film WHO’S THAT GIRL. It didn’t have the music video for the theme song. The video has Madonna singing the theme, clips from the movie, even uses a bit of the story of the film in the video. Now, music rights shouldn’t be an issue for this, as it was a Warner film and a Warner song. The video didn’t even make the Madonna music video DVD. Yet, more people saw this video then saw the film. It would have seemed to be a perfect fit for the DVD. It isn't there, while the trailer is.

    Also the recent release of LICENSE TO DRIVE. It didn’t have the music video for “Drive My Car” which featured the cast singing the theme. I would have thought it might be a music rights issue, yet they use the song as background music for the menu screens. So, I don’t know.

    And does the DVD of THE JEWEL OF THE NILE have the great music video for “When the Going Gets Tough”, with Danny DeVito and the saxophone? More fun than the film it was promoting, yet I don’t think it is on the DVD.

    Even current films are missing the boat. The new DVD of RENT didn’t have the video for “Out Tonight” on it, a well edited video of clips from the film that, while I don’t think it aired on MTV, played on other music video outlets last year. Why wasn’t it on the DVD?

    Again, music rights may be an issue in some cases, but if some DVDs can have them, why can’t others?

    The DVD of the Andrew Dice Clay film THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLAINE, a film that bombed at the box office, still had the video for Billy Idol’s “Cradle of Love”. The video at first contained clips from the film. But, after the video became very popular, and the film bombed, they changed the video, removing the video clips. Yet, when the DVD was released, they managed to include it. A great extra. Why can’t more companies do that?

    And in other cases, we are seeing music videos released before the film. The theme song to the film ELECTRIC DREAMS (which features clips from the film along with Virginia Madsen and other actors interacting with the lead singer) is on the “Best of the Human League” DVD, even though MGM has yet to release the film.

    And again, music videos were a lot more popular than trailers. They have a lot more replay value, more nostalgia for them. It just seems that they should be included more than they are.
     
  2. MattHR

    MattHR Screenwriter

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    I've often wondered about this, too. I always enjoyed the music videos from movies, especially the ones that had newly-filmed scenes featuring the films' actors with the musicians as part of the "story", like the ones you mentioned.

    A few more I can think of that included special appearances by the films' stars: Terminator 2, Labyrinth, Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters and The Breakfast Club. I'm not sure if any of these made it to DVD, whether on the movie or an artist's compilation.

    I have several music DVD from artists that include a music video from movies -- some of which are not included on the movie's DVD. Maybe I'll make a complete list sometime, now that you've got me wondering.

    I would guess the reason so many of these music videos are missing from DVDs is a legal, or contractual one. The music video itself is actually considered an advertisement, or commercial, for the movie -- and the soundtrack album. The actors who appear in the video, whether via the movies' footage, or specially filmed, are undoubtedly compensated for the use of their image. They most likely receive residuals from the broadcast or sale of the video.

    When a movie was new in theaters, the airing of its music video was part of its marketing campaign. Years later, there is little reason to broadcast or market these videos, especially if residuals must still be paid to the performers. I would guess there are many complicated exceptions, where an actor appeared "pro bono", the artist has a prodcution credit in the movie, the movie studio and music label are under the same company, etc.

    If there is a cost to include the music video on a DVD set, the studio must weighs its cost vs. value. They must do this regularly with the issue of using original songs, or replacements, in TV show DVDs.

    The same may apply to trailers, and why they are sometimes omitted. Trailers often include temp music that is not actually featured in the movie. The studio licences this temp music for the purpose of the trailer. There may also be cases where an actor (probably an extra) appears in a trailer, but not the final movie. Per guild rules, the actor may be due compensation. The studio may decide it's not worth continuing to pay for the use of the trailer, if its only value is as a supplement to a DVD.

    Of course, this is all speculation on my part.
     
  3. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    In GHOSTBUSTERS case, there are most likely legal rights for it not appearing on the DVD, since they lost a major lawsuit since it came out that they plagiarized Huey Lewis' "I Want A New Drug" in the writing of the song. Great video though, I've taped it off VH1 Classics.

    And THE BREAKFAST CLUB is another great example. The video for "Don't You Forget About Me" is out there on some of the Best Videos of the 80's DVDs, and includes clips from the film. If DVDs that sell for $5 can carry the video, what could the rights cost for it to appear on the movie DVD?
     

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