Rome, NY Sucks

But At Least We're Not Utica

Sunday, June 01, 2008

ASCAP: Their Own Worst Enemy

So, I discovered the best show on the web, and that includes the reruns of Moonlight I was trying to watch on CBS' crappy innertube site. The cancelled and semi-revived series "Yacht Rock" details the rise and fall and re-rise of the smooth California sounds of the late 70's post folk era.

I've been watching the webisodes and wondering why I laugh my ass off and try to download every song used in each episode. It's because of the music. Due to the lack of financial reward, the creators of "Yacht Rock" feel free to use significant chunks of Michale McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Steely Dan, and the uncharacteristically sinister Hall and Oates. The term "yacht rock" has even become a valid musical genre leading to a small resurgence in the post-billboard careers of the practicioners of smooth groves.

Music in television and movies has become something of a hurdle in the past decade or two. Many shows are now either creating complex arrangements to use popular music in future DVD releases, using less popular music owned by their production companies, or scrapping songs from future broadcasts because of high royalty costs.

One of the worst examples of this is the recent DVD releases of "WKRP in Cincinatti." In 1978, the circumvented licensing fees by recording on videotape. However, modern fees have forced them to replace the original music with "similar" studio junk. So, now old epiosdes of WKRP both look and sound terrible.

This is a shame. Songs like "This is it" (which appeared on WKRP and Yacht Rock) are new to the current generation and nearly forgotten by Gen Xers who heard these songs as kids. The recording industry should look at this as product placement. At a time when a person can buy the full version of a song in 30 seconds after hearing a tease of it on a TV show, maybe they should consider the upside.

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