Friday, April 20, 2007

WKRP DVD's Music Issues (Continued)

I recently wrote about music licensing issues causing some major alterations to the soundtrack of WKRP IN CINCINNATI on DVD. Season 1 of WKRP will be released on April 24th.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has interviewed series creater Hugh Wilson and Fox Marketing executive Peter Staddon about the controversial changes.

Music alterations include Jennifer's doorbell no longer playing "Fly Me to the Moon." Licensing fees for WKRP would likely have run to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single episode, which would have made releasing the series as it originally aired an economic impossibility.

A number of TV series have had their soundtracks altered for DVD due to licensing issues, but it's probably been most noticeable for NORTHERN EXPOSURE and WKRP, as both shows feature radio stations.

The Fox executive said, "Some fans are going to look at this and say, 'Well, this isn't the show I saw on television.' It's not, but it's the only show we could bring out on DVD."

Series creator Wilson is hopeful he "created a show with likable characters and funny scenes that can withstand any music alterations."

(Hat tip: TVShowsOnDVD.)

Monday Update: An expanded article on this topic by Randy Salas, who also wrote the article for the Star Tribune.


Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

Another show plagued by the licensed music problem has been Quantum Leap. It also goes to the integrity of the show, because when Sam leaps back in time, music is often used to set the time and place of where he ends up. In fact fans have been upset for at least a few years hoping that the issue would be resolved. It appears that the show may have been released on DVD in the UK intact. One particular episode in the second season is just not the same in a particularly dramatic moment without Georgia by Ray Charles.
That being said, I am glad the show is on DVD, as I am a big fan. I just wished things could be worked out to the advantage of both sides. Things like this make it difficult for me to take any artist seriously when they talk about making their art for the people or the fans. They are certainly making it for money (for which I do not begrudge them at all) as well.
As far as your previous excellent posts, I would only add one comment about Backlashes. I hope that their will be no unjustified backlash against the autistic and mentally ill after all of this. That last thing they and their families need is to be further marginalized by society and peers who may look at them as "time bombs". As I heard a Psychiatrist (or medical psychologist whatever) stated on Fox- Cho was clearly Pscyopathic, not psycotic or even "mentally ill". He understood reality, but wanted to destroy it. Had the court or family had him examined in light of past behavior he may have been recognized as such by an experienced professional who would have recommended further examination and treatment and perhaps removal from self-treatment or recognisence. In the end he still may have found a way to committ the evil he did. It was in his heart after all. Whoever there are thousands upon thousands of people and kids with different forms of autism that present in social difficulties of different sorts, but they are far from anywhere near to being psycotics or even mentally ill, and can live fairly normal lives. My fear is that with so many people who don't take the time to think or even figure out differences, or don't care, will not be able to make the distinction.
Sorry about the long comments.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for your thoughts, they are always appreciated. That was very interesting info about QUANTUM LEAP, a show with which I'm not very familiar. I do wish that the musicians would appreciate it's in their best interests to have their music exposed in a show like WKRP...everyone is hurt by these insanely high licensing fees, including the musician who doesn't make anything at all when his song is cut.

I agree with your other comments as well. In some ways our society has made great progress "mainstreaming" people with various problems and challenges so that they can function in society to the greatest extent possible, which is a good thing. I do think that the laws (i.e., privacy laws) should be loosened up so that universities can communicate with parents in the best interests of any student who may need help and so that they're not darned if they do, darned if they don't, not allowed to communicate with anyone about an individual, can't insist on help, etc. Virginia's state laws seem to have really restricted VTech's ability to do much of anything. If more communication can be allowed between all parties, perhaps that will help prevent any unfair backlash as the public might be reassured more people can be "on top of things" regarding an individual of concern?

All that said, as you say and as Irene stated in a comment to a prior post, evil will often find a way no matter what...

Thanks for your thoughts!

5:05 PM  
Blogger DaveF said...

I have been a fan of WKRP for years and have been eagerly waiting for the POSSIBILITY of a dvd release.

That being said I also understand the realities of business and the enormous costs involved with licensing on the scope of WKRP. I'm just finishing the first DVD of the set and while I would very much appreciate original unedited episodes (yes in many cases the music substitutions are noticable) I have found that in most cases the stories are still strong enough to stand up with the generic music replacements. I am still enjoying the set because - realistically - I don't see it being released in any other way.

One comment as well - with respect to the music rights and some of the other comments that have been posted. In many / most instances the rights aren't owned by the performing artists but by a third party - sometimes the writer, sometimes a corporation. Seems to be that it would be in everyone's interested to negotiate a FAIR deal to license - as it is now they get nothing.

Just my thoughts /Dave

10:23 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Dave, I really appreciated your comments on the WKRP set. I haven't yet opened the set myself.

Also appreciated your comments on who actually owns the rights. This is something I started wondering about myself and your comments on the music rights being owned by 3rd parties ties right in to what I was wondering.

Thank you, hope you'll stop by again.

Best wishes, Laura

12:46 PM  

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