Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #357: A Musical Musing

Welcome to the show folks.

It seems that it's all the rage to put classic, and not so classic, TV shows out in DVD box sets, yet a lot of shows dwell in a strange sort of limbo, the most famous are The Wonder Years, Cold Case, China Beach, and the probably better left forgotten Cop Rock.

Now what do those shows have that set them apart from the thousands of shows currently getting stacked on store shelves across the country?

The answer is music.

The bulk of the shows use some classic music from past eras, or the work of multiple songwriters, and that's where things get complicated.

You see the rights for these songs are managed by music publishing companies, and record labels, and if you think the movie business is convoluted and confusing, let me tell, you the music business is exponentially worse when it comes to doing business.

The music publishers and record labels are making it really hard for these shows to get on DVD by demanding the moon for each and every song. The TV show people are counter-offering dirt, and neither side is willing to budge an inch.

Which is a classic illustration of one of the biggest problems in trying to do business in show business. Everyone is so busy looking for ways to screw each other out of pennies, they don't realize that if they worked together, they could both be making serious dollars.

So what if the music people don't get over $1 million up front for the music like they did for the first season of
Thirtysomething, that shouldn't be the point. The point is getting that music out there, getting the songs earning some reasonable royalties from the sales, and hopefully inspiring a viewer to log onto iTunes, and buying some of their favourite songs. Leaving these shows in limbo is keeping both the TV people and the music people from making any money from either, which is pretty stupid for something that's really nothing more than a territorial pissing contest.

So here's my advice to both sides:
Be reasonable for a change.

It just might work.


  1. This mess makes me wonder how the Guitar hero and rockband games were even able to get made.

  2. For most rhythm/music games, my take is that, at the beginning, I think it was the same principle as, say, Karaoke machines - little novelties, earning a bit of profit on the sidelines. As the games got bigger, music companies just flat-out bought a piece of the action - for instance, as far as I know, the Rock Band series is now owned by MTV, and as such, represents the only musical thing they still do. (Granted, the only research involved in this proclamation is knowing that MTV owns Rock Band)