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Film and Television Soundtracks

It is impossible to ignore the tremendous impact soundtracks have had upon the music and film community over the past 10 years. The massive success of records like "The Bodyguard," "The Big Chill" and "Titanic" are only a few examples of musical companions that helped drive audiences to the theaters, increasing box-office revenue while generating millions of dollars for record companies and artists. After all, the original concept for the soundtrack recording from the film industry's perspective was to create a marketing tie-in for the film, using musical artists, radio promotion, and a record company's marketing department to promote the film to radio and to MTV. For the record company, it was a chance to create catalog and new releases for the company without signing an artist and making a record, while hopefully utilizing their own current roster of artists to be profiled in the film. For the artist, it was an opportunity to create a new song without recording a full-length album, or a chance for a member of a group to do a solo song, duet, or create a track that is a departure from said artist's normal sound or genre of music, as was the case in "Judgment Night" where hip hop artists and rock bands combined to create a truly unique project. And in a perfect world, the film will open well, the label will get the single from the soundtrack on the radio and on MTV, and the soundtrack will sell records and grow with the film. This article will set the stage for emerging artists by explaining the nature of the soundtrack business, then conclude with some specific advice on how to get involved and what you can expect in return.
The Process
While the process by which soundtracks are acquired and created has changed slightly over the past several years, the basic formula remains the same for both film soundtracks and the recent growth of television soundtracks like "Friends" and "Ally McBeal." Frequently, the rights to a soundtrack are procured months before a film even begins shooting. A project with large amounts of music or a music-based film (like "Almost Famous") requires much setup time and planning, especially if music is to be performed on camera, or if live bands are to be filmed on camera.
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