Studios best / worst jobs of securing music rights

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Steve_Z, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Steve_Z

    Steve_Z Stunt Coordinator

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    Who do you believe does the best and worst jobs of securing music rights for DVD releases.

    The best job in my opinion is Sony, unbeliveable how they were able to clear all of the music for Seinfeld so far, including a Beach Boys song.

    The worst job is 20th Century Fox, 21 Jump Street and In Living Color has had music changes because FOX is to cheep to clear the music.
     
  2. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    I don't know about that. They've replaced theme songs on at least 2 shows (Married with Children and Dawson's Creek).

    And BTW, 21 Jump Street is licensed to Anchor Bay, who has been releasing the DVDs - not FOX.
     
  3. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    The best would be Warner Bros; 2 songs replaced out of all their sets. 1 is the theme song for "Life Goes On" and the other was a song on La Femme Nikita Season 2 that held up the release for months.

    Sony has replaced multiple songs in Dawson's Creek, even editing out some of the episode when characters performed a song.

    Anchor Bay didn't edit anything out of 21 Jump Street, Cannell did (they put the sets together for AB to distribute).

    Gord
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I don't see this as a "best/worst" thing, since securing music rights isn't something the studios can do or not do as they choose, and since the contracts for each show (many of them negotiated by producers or production companies, or by other studios from whom the show rights were purchased) are different.

    Who does a "better job" of chopping down trees, the one with the chainsaw or the one with the hand ax? Chainsaw boy may cut down a heck of a lot more trees, but the guy with the ax could be doing an extraordindary job given the limitations he's working under. Given his advantage, chainsaw boy damned well better be chopping down a lot more trees.

    "Which studio happens to have ended up, partly through blind luck, having to replace the fewest songs in its DVD releases?" might have been a better (though longer) thread title. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  5. Stephen Lilley

    Stephen Lilley Stunt Coordinator

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    I think being unable to clear a very memorable opening theme song on a show a lot of people were into back in the day (MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN) probably takes the cake.
     
  6. Steve_Z

    Steve_Z Stunt Coordinator

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    By the way, little off topic but as far as DVD set as far as extras, different versions of episodes, original music, the Seinfeld DVD sets are great.

    Paramount does for the most part a very good job on their releases. After not including about half of the musical guests on season 1, they included almost all of the musical guests on season 2 of Chappelle's Show.

    They also to my knowledge, included all of the original music on season 1 of Happy Days. I just got season 1 and 2 of Ren and Stimpy, and all of the original music is there, and since a lot of the music on R&S is classical music, I assume it is expensive.
     
  7. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    Kudos to Universal for being able to keep all the music intact on Miami Vice. Something I didn't think they would be able to do.
     
  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    As if either a song's being memorable or a show's being popular would somehow make it easier to secure the rights. If anything that would make the rights-holder inclined to hold out for the highest possible price, and the studio less likely to be able to pay what was asked (based on anticipated sales of the series.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  9. Kenny Neal

    Kenny Neal Stunt Coordinator

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    Not necessarily. Ren & Stimpy used, to great effect, "program music" which was largely music written independently for needle-drop insertion into a wide variety of projects, often industrial and educational films. It's cheesy and meant to sound that way. In his own way, John Kricfalusi was paying homage to low-budget limited animation and canned music.

    There was quite a bit of classical used, but since composer copyrights don't exist for most pre-20th century composers, studios can just purchase a library of no-name orchestra recordings (created for this purpose) and use them however they want.
     
  10. ElijahS

    ElijahS Supporting Actor

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    Buena Vista used to be bad at securing music rights (see Felicity), but they've gotten better. When there was controversy over Scrubs S1 having replaced music, they made sure to promote Season 2 as having all of the original music. They've managed to not replace music for Alias, which is loaded with external music. All in all, Buena Vista is currently under Warner Bros. in my opinion in terms of excellence, though in the first years of TV DVD, Buena Vista wasn't.
     
  11. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Don't quote me but I believe on the text commentary it says that the Beach Boys song is actually a cover that they bought to save money when the episode was originally produced. Cover or not, the DVD has the song the way it aired.
     
  12. Mary_P

    Mary_P Second Unit

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    Which prompts me to ask, because maybe one of the knowledgeable folks here knows: On the "Moonlighting" S1 & 2 set, as far as I know, the only piece of music that was replaced was a recording of "The William Tell Overture," which was used in "The Lady in the Iron Mask." Why on earth would they be able to license all the other music in the show -- a range of music from Motown to The Pet Shop Boys -- and *not* be able to license this? The chase scene at the end of that episode wasn't nearly as funny with the generic chase music that was substituted.

    My vote for best: Warner. Amazing that they were able to put out "Murphy Brown" without sacrificing the music, and still delivered it at a very reasonable list price.

    My vote for worst: Universal. I'm being vary wary of Universal TV products after being burned by music replacements in their sets, especially in "Quantum Leap." Most offensive was that they blamed the release schedule, not the cost of licensing, for necessitating the replacements.
     
  13. Stephen Lilley

    Stephen Lilley Stunt Coordinator

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    I wasn't blaming anyone, I was just saying that losing the opening credits song probably sticks out in my mind as one of the worst cases of being unable to secure music.
     
  14. Steve_Z

    Steve_Z Stunt Coordinator

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    Maybe so, but I think the worst case of unable to secure music, is a live musical preformance. In most cases that only applys to variety and sketch comedy shows.
     
  15. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I have zero inside information on this, and am only guessing, but it could be that the music they used was the most recognizable version of that particular piece, the them from The Lone Ranger. If that's the case, and if the scene was cut to the rhythms of that particular version, they could well have run into rights problems when it came to using it on DVD, and they may have adapted or even recorded a new piece of "generic" music that fit the scene.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  16. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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    Agreed.

    But, boos to them for the hatchet jobs done on the R1 Quantum Leap sets, Season 2 and beyond. (No complaints on Season 1.)
     
  17. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Don't forget, Sony is now one of the biggest music companies as well, which surely makes it easy for them to license whatever happens to be under their control. With Warner Bros., I'm not certain if the Warner Music arm is still owned by Time Warner, but if it is, same comment applies. Or for that matter, Universal Studios and Universal Music.

    Who owns what now? Who knows?
     
  18. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Best: Warner, for the reasons Gord already stated. An amazing track record, and the long hold-up on La Femme Nikita Season 2 proves to me that they tried everything they could before going the replacement route.

    Which brings me to the worst:
    Universal, mainly for the Quantum Leap disaster, and the fact that they even admitted to just wanting to get the sets out as fast as possible due to strong season 1 sales, even if it meant sacrificing most of the music. Rights negotiations can be very time consuming, and apparently, "do it fast" was a higher priority than "do it right."

    (Sony comes in a close second for the butchering of Dawson's Creek.)

    Chris
     
  19. Steven_F

    Steven_F Extra

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    IMO sony is the worst. They allowed a music rights issue to not only replace the theme song but to cause them to release syndicated episodes (Married With Children Season 4).
     
  20. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    The problem is that everybody is so hung up on this whole music rights issue that nobody is hitting the real issue. When a television series is created and is broadcast in its original run and/or in syndication their contracts are only for broadcasting rights. While it's sad that music rights often hold up some shows because of music rights the problem is that studios want to set their own prices for music rights and that's not the way it works. With shows such as WKRP there were so many classic rock songs that were used in that show that it has become a living nightmare to license those songs for the DVD release that the studio has decided NOT to release the show.

    Replacing music on a television series to DVD doesn't prevent me from buying that release. To me, while it would be nice, I don't buy a DVD set to listen to the music I buy the set to watch the episodes on that set. If I want to listen to music I'll listen to my CD's.

    Another way to look at it is that music studios and music artists often want the music for a low price while propping up their profits without paying a reasonable price for that music. It's not up to the DVD studio to set the price that's up the original creators of the original music. It's almost smiliar to someone who downloads music for free without paying for it. While I don't agree with it I can understand why the studios on either side of the coin. Everyone here just points their finger and assigns the blame without looking at both sides of the coin.

    From everything that I've heard everyone here thinks the DVD studios should get the music for free or pay such a low price as to sound like an insult. Be sure of one thing that not only do the studios of where that music comes from get paid but the artist of that music gets paid as well.

    For one thing, the music on Roswell, from 20th Century Fox, was also replaced and I enjoyed the DVD sets very much. I don't let a silly thing like the music soundtrack upset me too much.
     

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