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SXSW 2013 Film - The Future of The Soundtrack


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A decade ago every major film was accompanied with a soundtrack release. In the age of digital singles however, the belief that the soundtrack is dead has taken root and affected both the filmmaking and music communities. With less money to be made from records in general, more and more producers and studios hesitate to consider music as an ancillary revenue stream. But with soundtracks for films like "The Hunger Games," "Twilight" and even "Project X" topping the charts, and the advent of technology such as Spotify, 8tracks, and many the soundtrack really dead, or do filmmakers and executives just need a new perspective?

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SXSW 2013 Film - The Future of The Soundtrack

  1. 1. The Future of The Soundtrack Moderator Amanda Krieg
  2. 2. Panelists● Russell Ziecker - Head of Television Music and A&R, Lionsgate (Weeds, Mad Men)● Gabe Hilfer - Music Supervisor, Clearsongs (Project X, The Wrestler)● Jonathan Palmer - Columbia Records● Angela Leus - Director, Film Music, Universal Pictures
  3. 3. The State of Things"There are a lot of studios who arent even doing soundtrack deals anymorebecause they think its a waste of time," - Patricia Joseph, Razor & Tie"While there are still the occasional runaway success stories that create afalse sense that the blockbuster is still an economic force to be reckonedwith...for the most part, looking at the current Billboard Soundtrack charts islike staring at an elephant graveyard" - Dan Jackson, CMJ, May 2012"In 2011, soundtracks sold 13.2 million copies in the U.S., according toSoundScan, 79% below their peak level in 1998, when the Titanicsoundtrack was the top-selling album of the year, and just one of threesoundtracks among the years top 10 albums" -Ethan Smith, Wall StreetJournal, March 2012
  4. 4. ...But Is It The End?● The Hunger Games and Twilight soundtracks debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200.● The Project X soundtrack made it to No. 8 on both the Billboard Rap and R&B/Hip Hop Album charts.● 8 of the top 10 Childrens Albums on the Billboard charts are soundtracks from films or television shows.● With only a handful of songs in the film, the Drive soundtrack significantly raised the profile of the film, broke College and Electric Youth, and has remained in the Top 10 soundtracks on Billboard for weeks.
  5. 5. Is it still possible to make money fromsoundtracks? How?● Zero in on your audience● Lots of exclusive content● Make it a collectors item● Identify an aesthetic● Think beyond the album
  6. 6. Zero In On Your Audience● Most of the soundtracks that make it into the top ten (especially those that stay there) can be connected with a pretty specific audience (The Hunger Games, Project X, Think Like A Man, Hannah Montana: The Movie, Titanic)● Who specifically does the film/television show appeal to? Women, teens, teenage boys, urban demographic, etc.● What is it that appeals to them? Setting? Romance? Youthfulness?● Can that be captured in music?
  7. 7. Exclusive Content● Audiences are discovering new music/artists via film and television more and more.● Choose the right artist(s) - unknown, with buzz, or existing band ripe for a new album or comeback.● Create or secure content that can only be found on the soundtrack.● Multiple exclusive tracks per album = incentive to buy the whole album.
  8. 8. Create a Collectors Item● Only for certain audiences/franchises - ones that are willing to spend money on stuff● Add exclusive extras - original artwork, lyrics, bonus content● Effectively tap into the nostalgia or obsession
  9. 9. Identify An Aesthetic● Is there a setting, tone or style that unites the film?● The Hunger Games created an album of music, most of which was not in the film, based on the rustic, Appalachian setting.● True Blood doesnt always prominently feature music, but the soundtrack captures the sex and grittiness of the show.● Mad Men capitalizes on the allure of the 1960s with score music CDs branded as "lifestyle" products at Target.
  10. 10. Think Outside The Album● Both for new revenue streams and marketing opportunities● As mentioned, audiences are discovering a large amount of new music via film and television.● Are there cost-effective ways to utilize new music discovery technology? New music technology in general?● Moonrise Kingdom created character playlists in 8tracks.● Spotify, Pandora, Rdio,,, StageIt and many more
  11. 11. So is the soundtrack really dead?No...Music is an indispensable part of thefilmgoing experience and will always be...Like the rest of the music industry it isevolving; there are many areas of potentialyet to be tapped.
  12. 12. The Bottom Line Executives and music supervisors withextensive experience creating and marketingsoundtracks over the past ten years all weigh in on the challenges, importance and future potential of this struggling genre.