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rhett
10-09-2004, 07:33 PM
With silent films, the scores would usually change with each exhibition of the film, since most were played live. But ever since sound became a prevalent aspect of filmmaking (from 1930's The Jazz Singer onwards) a single soundtrack would be tied in with a film throughout every exhibition. Indeed, musical scores had been standardized and forever associated with the films they accompanied. A trend that seems to have really picked up with DVD and home video however, is substituting alternate soundtracks in order to save a company money. "Stairway to Heaven" had to be removed from Wayne's World when it hit VHS, because Paramount was not willing to pay for the music rights.

Often, music rights on home video are much more expensive than on broadcast mediums like theatrical or television exhibition. The viewer cannot theoretically own the television or projected film image, so it is much cheaper. As soon as one can own it on a home format, like VHS and DVD, clearance rights can get very expensive. Wayne's World was an early demonstration of this, but recently this trend has really taken a stronghold on DVD. TV shows like Dawson's Creek and The Apprentice substituted their trademark theme songs in favor of cheaper music. On DVD, and particularly in the horror genre, films like Night of the Living Dead have been given revamped scores. Recently however, the influx of changed soundtracks seems to have reached a peak, with both Warner's Return of the Living Dead, Part II and Columbia's Happy Birthday To Me both receiving altered scores.

What is your take on changing a film's soundtrack, be it for money or for trying to appeal to a different audience? Good, bad, ugly, let's hear it!

dwatts
10-09-2004, 08:29 PM
Most of the changes to soundtracks that I have read about are substitution of pop/rock hits for something else. Since that music wasn't composed for the film, or on the occasions I am aware of, were not written with the film in mind, then I confess to not caring very much about the changes.

The one time I did care was when a wholesale soundtrack was made. Best case "Battle of Britain". Still, the DVD had both soundtracks. Either way, it wouldn't stop me buying a DVD.

Deus Ex Machina
10-09-2004, 08:53 PM
I'm not 100% happy when soundtrack changes are made but if it's the only way for a film to get on DVD I accept it...

Mortis
10-09-2004, 11:05 PM
I think it's a bunch of bullshit, but whatever it takes I guess.

RyanPC
10-09-2004, 11:30 PM
I really hate the fact that this is becoming a kind of "trend" but since I love both ROTLD 2 and Happy Birthday to Me, I'll still buy the DVDs.

Damage
10-09-2004, 11:55 PM
Although I voted Films should never be altered for any reason, I will still buy the DVD if it's a title I really want.

bigdaddyhorse
10-10-2004, 04:48 AM
Although I voted Films should never be altered for any reason, I will still buy the DVD if it's a title I really want.

That about sums it up for me as well. Definitly don't like it, but if it's the only way to get a favorite, it's the only way.
I will add that in some cases, I'd rather have a good looking dvd-r with the right sound than a legit altered disc without many extras. Of course aspects like widescreen and source play into that choice.

thrashard76
10-10-2004, 06:08 AM
Movies shouldn't be altered (soundtrack wise) for any reason.

zombee
10-10-2004, 06:14 AM
I was looking at my Wayne's World dvd the other day and saw that the case said some of the music had changed from the theatrical version. I was wondering what music had been changed...
Also, in response to the poll I voted "dislike it but will still buy th dvd." I don't think soundtracks should be altered.

Erick H.
10-10-2004, 08:46 AM
As a rule I dislike changes.When it's a minor bit,like a different song on CAT PEOPLE for instance,I can handle it.Sometimes though,a whole score is changed for a film,the tv prints of THE WITCHFINDER GENERAL replaces the original score with a crappy Casio keyboard sounding thing that was just terrible.I was pleased the MGM's release of DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN restored the brief shot of Vincent Price waltzing to "Dancing in the Dark" and his singing of "Over the Rainbow" which is missing from some prints.

onebyone
10-10-2004, 12:06 PM
If it is the only way that a movie or a TV show will ever make it to DVD, then I will begrudgingly support it IF it is announced before I buy the DVD. I don't like to be surprised when I get home.

And I am still pissed that they changed the Dawson's Creek theme song. That is taking things a bit too far. Since they had the rights for the first two sets, clearly it was possible for them to get the rights. They just choose to be even cheaper with the music.

Dave
10-10-2004, 02:48 PM
If it is the only way that a movie or a TV show will ever make it to DVD, then I will begrudgingly support it IF it is announced before I buy the DVD. I don't like to be surprised when I get home.

And I am still pissed that they changed the Dawson's Creek theme song. That is taking things a bit too far. Since they had the rights for the first two sets, clearly it was possible for them to get the rights. They just choose to be even cheaper with the music.

Is it them being cheaper, or the company owning the rights wanting a lot more money? You don't know for certain.

If it's an issue of getting the DVD released, then change whatever you have to. But it's hard for us fans to know, because the above comment makes a good point. All too often the company will just change the music rather than pay X amount to get the rights for the DVD release.

evileye
10-10-2004, 03:10 PM
Has anyone actually confirmed the HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME situation? I have heard all kinds of BS flying around but have yet to enounter a review (which I imagine would be coming soon).

Deus Ex Machina
10-10-2004, 05:57 PM
Is it them being cheaper, or the company owning the rights wanting a lot more money? You don't know for certain.

If it's an issue of getting the DVD released, then change whatever you have to. But it's hard for us fans to know, because the above comment makes a good point. All too often the company will just change the music rather than pay X amount to get the rights for the DVD release.


keep in mind if they have to pay more then the consumer has to pay more for the set in order for them to keep the same profit margin...

..and if the profit margin decreases tell me why they should bother to release more sets knowing that they lose the money they expected to make in the first place.

Myron Breck
10-10-2004, 06:13 PM
I'm just stoked that SIXTEEN CANDLES was finally released with all of the original tunes!!! After watching it on HBO every day as a kid, the home video versions with missing/altered songs were really annoying. I even burned a homemade CD soundtrack about 5 years ago (RIP Napster)...what a geek I am.

Drayton Sawyer
10-10-2004, 06:19 PM
I think a prime example of this, is the 1984-1989 TV cop show, "Miami Vice". TONS of people would love to see "Vice" on DVD, but what's held it back, is the fact there was SO SO much pop & rock music used on the show, during it's five-season run on NBC back in the 80's. Out of 114 one-hour episodes, "Vice" used in excess of 350+ songs on the show.

Well the thing is, it isn't like one simple movie like "Wayne's World". The music on "Miami Vice" was an integral part of the show, and at times was necessary to create a mood. But changing it, or leaving it out, it ruins the experience, and changes the overall original product.

This leaves Universal (who owns the show) in a hard spot. I believe they are trying to clear the rights, but I think they've already shelled out $2.5-million just for the music in SEASON ONE! Just for one season, it's already cost them $2.5-million, just for the music. That doesn't count DVD production cost, and all that shit. Just music clearences, and there's another four seasons to go, to clear.

And it all has to do with the absolute greed of musicians. The Metallica's of the world. The problem here is, originally back in the day in TV & Film, real songs that were to be used on a TV show episode or movie, were paid once, for one broadcast. It was basically pay-per-show. So everytime the TV show or movie was shown, they had to go back and pay them everytime.

That's the biggest problem with DVD's now, is they need to pay the musician one flat fee to have the rights to the song forever, because these DVD's will be produced, and be in circulation forever. Not just one showing.

But to me, why is this hard? It only cost $14-15 bucks to buy thier album, which you have the music of ... forever! So why is it so hard for TV shows & movies?

RichardHaines
10-11-2004, 01:09 AM
Prior to the advent of home video, no one anticipated extended release of feature films outside of theatrical exhibition and television broadcast. As a result, many deals only specified those rights regarding the songs or music
score. When the new formats became popular, producers and distributors
were stuck re-negotiating these rights with the composers or song owners.
In some cases, the costs exceeded what they could afford and still make
a profit so they figured it was cheaper to just lay in new music. Not ideal
but it was the only way to release the movies or shows at all.

There's always the option of becoming a film collecting and purchasing an original print of the title with the release soundtrack. There are many film
collecting sites and The Big Reel newspaper which lists available prints for sale. For example, you can purchase an old print of "The Conqueror Worm" with the original music. Film collecting is a rather expensive hobby however.
Expecially when it comes to Technicolor movies. A Tech print of "The Horror of Dracula" would run over $600. On the other hand, the quality is so superior to any video format (the colors glow from the screen in three dimensional relief), that it could be considered a long term investment since the price of these prints keeps going up.

dwatts
10-11-2004, 01:29 AM
--And it all has to do with the absolute greed of musicians. The Metallica's of the world. The problem here is, originally back in the day in TV & Film, real songs that were to be used on a TV show episode or movie, were paid once, for one broadcast.--

Boy, I sure don't agree with this statement- It's not greed to want to be paid for work you do. Universal will, presumably, be making money from the show, and you yourself say this music is integral to the experience. So why should Universal be able to make money from repeat viewings, but not the musicians? It just makes no sense to me.

If Universal doesn't like it they have three options. Pay up. Change the music. Or don't release the DVD. The greed, if it is anywhere, is with Universal, who would want an artists music in perpetuity because they used it to make a cop show. If they want to use an artists music - pay for it. It's not the musicians fault.

Xanfan
10-11-2004, 07:22 AM
As much as I want to get 1984 on DVD, the main reason I haven't gotten it was due to the fact that every note of the soundtrack by Eurythmics was removed. Changing soundtracks isn't cool because its not what was originally made. In some cases it may not be what was originally intended, but oh well! :fire:

Myron Breck
10-11-2004, 07:50 AM
Did anyone ever catch the 80s version of Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS? It replaced the original organ music with pop hits by Pat Benatar, Journey, etc; a few instances of colorization were also added.

Workshed
10-11-2004, 05:15 PM
Isn't this what is holding Up the release of Wonder Years on DVD, too? While I would enjoy having that show on DVD, the music was very important to each episode, and those artists need to be paid for their contribution.

RichardHaines
10-11-2004, 11:15 PM
I saw the re-issue of "Metropolis" with the pop/rock music score.
I wish I could say that the music fit the narrative but it didn't.
I found it distracting and disorienting.

IGotsNewShoes
10-12-2004, 01:55 AM
I believe WesReviews has confirmed that the Happy Birthday to Me soundtrack has indeed been rescored...

WesReviews
10-12-2004, 03:28 AM
Yes. Got my review copy today.

My review at DVDDrive-In.com will go more in depth, but the creepy, low-key piano and strings instrumental arrangement at the beginning has been replaced by...a fast-paced disco song. :(

I've e-mailed Columbia, as I want to get their side of the story before completing my review. What I'm leaning toward, though...and is pure conjecture on my part...is that the wrong print was used. Perhaps a pre-release print with a temp score. None of the music is "new". Nothing modern at all. It's pretty much a "period" score. That still doesn't mean it fits, however.

The standard "music rights" issue seems the most logical explanation, however both of the film's original composers (Bo Harwood and Lance Rubin) are both still credited on the disc. So, I'm truly puzzled. I hope Columbia replies.

This is very disappointing, as I was really looking forward to this disc. Sometimes, one can ignore music changes, if they don't alter the feel of a movie (Return of the Living Dead). However, the changes I've noticed in Happy Birthday to Me create substantial differences in tone than what was intended by the director. Suffice to say, this is NOT the same film you've watched time and time again on VHS.

RichardHaines
10-12-2004, 11:21 AM
Altered soundtracks is not about the greed of musicians or distributors.
It's about the bottom line. While motion pictures are a great artform,
they are primarily a business. For a film to warrant a release at all
requires some marketing projections. What is the cost of releasing it
vs. the profit potential? If the release costs exceed the latter
the distributor will be operating at a loss which is unacceptable in any business. Sometimes either party gets too excessive with their demands (license rights, music rights etc.) so the film sits on a shelf or has to be re-scored. It's unfortunate for consumers but the nature of the industry.


It's not uncommon for motion picture rights to be tied up for decades as
the original "Rear Window" was due to a dispute with the writer's estate
and Hitchcock's estate. There are still movies with never ending music
rights disputes like Goldwyn's "Porgy and Bess". For many years "Anne
Get Your Gun" has music rights problems but they were eventually resolved
and the film was released on home video.

WesReviews
10-12-2004, 05:20 PM
The more I examine the Happy Birthday to Me disc, the more I'm convinced...and this is just speculation on my part, mind you...that Columbia has used the wrong print. The music fits too well with the on-screen action. It takes time and money to edit music to a film, and I just don't see why Columbia would've went to all that trouble. They've not done it on past horror discs, to my knowledge. So, why would they have done it for this title? "Rights issues" is a logical conclusion for such changes, however, the film's original composers (Bo Harwood and Lance Rubin) are both still credited on the disc. The songs (yes, songs with lyrics, and not just generic instrumental pieces) which have been added are NOT credited in the end credits. This is something which could potentially spark lawsuits if the original artists of said songs were to hear about their inclusion on the disc, without their permission. Not a risk Columbia would knowingly take, I would think. So, the whole mix-up seems (at this point) to be completely un-intentional.

Because of all this, the conclusion I've come to is that this WAS the score for this film at some point in its history. How it ended up on the DVD is anyone's guess. Perhaps it was the best looking print in Columbia's vault. Perhaps it was the only one. Who knows.

Again, I've e-mailed Columbia for their side of the story, and will await their response before completing my review of the disc. I'll keep you guys posted.

PS: If anyone knows how I could get in touch with either Andre Link or John Dunning, it would be much appreciated.

SaviniFan
10-12-2004, 06:22 PM
Boy, makes me wanna pick it up just incase a recall is done. I really like the movie too so that would be another reason, but my God, that cover!! :lol:

Stige
10-12-2004, 08:27 PM
well lets see...........different music, ugly as shit cover, NO extras.........widescreen at least but I assume it is only 1:1,85. nope forget it not gonna buy. I have an excellent PAL tranfers VHS that I have transfered to dvdr. Guess that will have to do for the time being


speaking of altered soundtracks. The POPULAR season 1 box set altered two of the songs which were used on TV broadcasts

napalm68
10-14-2004, 09:02 PM
I was going to vote I don't mind if the old one wasn't that memorable, but then I remembered a very painful one in that category I still get nightmares about - the extended Night of the Living Dead with that laughable Vlad Felcher score.

Wolf Man
10-17-2004, 01:07 AM
I was going to mention the Night Of The Living Dead debacle, as well. The scene that stands out for me is when Barbara is in the car and the cemetery ghoul is trying to get her. The new soundtrack has none of the panic and urgency of the original score. When a soundtrack change damages the mood of a scene, as in that case, it makes me sick. But if the new music fits in seamlessly (and that's the key, since it has to be virtually unnoticable for it to be seamless), then it doesn't bother me at all. In the case of Happy Birthday To Me, which I've only seen once, about ten years ago, I'm not even going to know the difference (although on a subconscious level, it may affect the mood of the scenes and cause me to like or dislike parts that would have felt completely different with different music), but in the case of NOTLD, for example, which I've seen dozens of times, it's a huge deal.

zombi3
10-17-2004, 05:25 AM
I voted "I dislike it, but I will still buy the DVD" because I bought Return of the Living Dead II, although the new score sounds like it belongs in a home-made SOV flick shot in the backwoods of New Jersey. The only time I think a film should be altered is when it actually benefits the dvd, such as color correction and remastering of pic & sound.

Fumi
10-24-2004, 01:49 AM
There are a few cases where I don't mind altering the movie.

1) Adding a stereo soundtrack to a mono movie.

2) Adding stuff back in that the censors took out.

That's all I can think of. The music should never be replaced.

zombiexfan
11-01-2004, 07:02 AM
i cant belive they do this shit , why change what they have? return of the living dead 2 sucked.. even the director says so

Katatonia
11-05-2004, 02:11 AM
The more I examine the Happy Birthday to Me disc, the more I'm convinced...and this is just speculation on my part, mind you...that Columbia has used the wrong print. The music fits too well with the on-screen action. It takes time and money to edit music to a film, and I just don't see why Columbia would've went to all that trouble. They've not done it on past horror discs, to my knowledge. So, why would they have done it for this title? "Rights issues" is a logical conclusion for such changes, however, the film's original composers (Bo Harwood and Lance Rubin) are both still credited on the disc. The songs (yes, songs with lyrics, and not just generic instrumental pieces) which have been added are NOT credited in the end credits. This is something which could potentially spark lawsuits if the original artists of said songs were to hear about their inclusion on the disc, without their permission. Not a risk Columbia would knowingly take, I would think. So, the whole mix-up seems (at this point) to be completely un-intentional.

Because of all this, the conclusion I've come to is that this WAS the score for this film at some point in its history. How it ended up on the DVD is anyone's guess. Perhaps it was the best looking print in Columbia's vault. Perhaps it was the only one. Who knows.

Again, I've e-mailed Columbia for their side of the story, and will await their response before completing my review of the disc. I'll keep you guys posted.

PS: If anyone knows how I could get in touch with either Andre Link or John Dunning, it would be much appreciated.

I finally heard back from Columbia earlier. See this link below in the HBTM DVD thread for their full reply: http://www.horrordvds.com/vb3forum/showpost.php?p=270531&postcount=187