OFFER HAS EXPIRED—DONE SEPT 30, 2011—FUN WHILE IT LASTED! Thanks to all who took us up on it!
Buy $100 from the FSM back-catalog (any FSM products) and get for FREE our 5CD set of David Raksin M-G-M film music, a $60 value. (For how long? Until we decide otherwise!)
Here’s how: Once you’ve placed your order for the $100 at Screen Archives (pre-tax, pre-shipping, etc.), put in the notes field a request, “FREE RAKSIN 5CD SET.” (SAE is renowned for their customer service, and will take care of you.)
Let me explain why we’re doing this.
First: to those who already own the set, please don’t feel like we’re kicking you in the head. It was because of you—the people who really want this music and bought it as soon as it was available—that we were able to release it. You have the moral high ground. Not only that but we’ll figure out other promotions that will, we hope, benefit you. So stay tuned.
And you will love what I am about to write:
In the old days—the 1980s and before—there were very few soundtrack albums released. On the one hand, this was a source of perpetual frustration.
But on the other hand, it was great. Why? Because it forced you to discover music you would never otherwise hear. There might only be one new soundtrack LP released per month—so whatever it was, you bought it! You discovered Australian horror music, 1960s jazz scores, some reissue western, who knows! You were starving, and you ate whatever food was on your plate.
I speak from a position of being utterly spoiled: the 1990s, when the reissue spigot opened, I was on the “freebie” mailing lists of most of the record labels. It was a great perk (probably the best one) of publishing FSM, and quite legit, as I was publicizing and reviewing the titles.
Because of this rarified position, I discovered a TON of film music that I know I would never have found otherwise. It has enriched my life and broadened my horizons.
I remember when I got the first Bullitt and 3 Days of the Condor CDs from SLC in Japan. I had NO IDEA what they were. I only dimly knew of the composers. I put them on, was instantly hooked, and these are now among my all-time favorites.
I remember getting my first Morricone westerns. Can words describe?
I remember when SAE sent me their Big Country release, the one in the giant box. Marvelous! I had never heard a Jerome Moross score in my life. I hummed not only the main theme but the secondary theme for days on end.
I could probably go through my collection and give you several dozen examples. Antony and Cleopatra by John Scott, would I ever have bought that? I don’t know. I love it.
Alas, the economics of film music collecting—especially in the dismal economy of the last few years—have changed drastically.
Goldsmith collectors have a full-time job (and/or need to get a second job) just to buy all the Goldsmith reissues. Same for Williams collectors. I now own four CDs of The Egyptian, including the one I produced.
How can anyone afford to go “outside his box” and sample anything new, or different? Let alone a $60 Raksin collection of movies that are barely even seen anymore? (What was I thinking making it?)
You really can’t.
So back to the Raksin collection. This is a limited edition of 1,500 units. It came out in early 2009.
As of this writing, we have 660 in inventory.
Want to know how many we have sold this calendar year, from Jan. 1 to this writing, Sept. 14? Sixteen. That’s 16, 1-6, as in four more than a dozen.
At this rate, we will sell out of it by, oh, 2040.
This benefits no one.
So the question is, do we discount it to push sales? To what? $40? $30? $20? Five dollars? I mean, the people who really wanted it might well have bought it for $160, let alone $60. If someone doesn’t want it, at what price point would they find it worth the risk? Would they buy it for $5 and then feel ripped off it if didn’t sufficiently remind them of James Horner?
At which point I suggested to SAE, let’s just give it away. For FREE. (Although, not really—you have to buy $100 of other CDs to get it.)
This was not a prospect that pleased my good friend Craig at SAE—not in business terms, but as a lifelong fan. He was offended at the thought of having to give away David Raksin music. (Imagine in 2040 having to give away Jerry Goldsmith music.)
Raksin (Laura, The Bad and the Beautiful) was a giant as a composer. I knew him personally, which does not make me unique—he was an educator as well as a composer, and quite beloved. He was a brilliant man, a towering scholar and wit. I liked him very much and he was very kind to me and complimentary about my efforts to make a film music publication. (You will read all about him in Marilee Bradford’s liner notes for the album. You can read more right now, for free, at our online notes.)
But I want to give away his music, because I want people who only collect Goldsmith, or Zimmer, or 1980s sci-fi scores, to hear David Raksin.
And I want them to do it not as some annoyed, put-upon consumer, but as an adventurer and explorer and fellow traveler of the wonders of film music.
I want people to listen to these scores full of desire and fascination and openness to hear something new and elegant and wonderful.
So: No matter who you are (unless you have bought everything already, in which case you probably have the Raksin too—and, not incidentally, THANK YOU), I know that we have in our catalog four or five CDs that you have probably wanted to buy of ours, but haven’t gotten around to picking up.
That gets you to your $100.
Then, for FREE, you also get to hear 13 vintage scores (including The Vintage) by David Raksin, one of the most original, unique and brilliant composers who ever worked for film. You get it in a 5CD collectible—that will fit neatly on your CD shelf (I dislike oversize packaging)—and you get to do what film music fans have always done: broaden your horizons.
Maybe you’ll love it. Maybe you’ll hate it. In all honesty, Raksin is an acquired taste—he himself quipped, “This just goes to show that none of my music should ever be played for the first time.” (That was in response to a TV producer who loathed one of his scores, then praised it upon hearing it in a rerun.)
The point is, you’ll forget about the dollars and cents and experience something the way we used to—maybe you’ll love it, maybe you’ll hate it. You really won’t know—but you’ll grow from the journey. That, I guarantee.
I wish I could convey what it used to be like to get something sight unseen, put it in the CD player and have your life changed. I can tell you that with this collection, when I heard Raksin’s theme for The Man With a Cloak, I thought it was utterly beguiling, and was not only a memorable theme, but carried a mood I still don’t know exactly how to describe.
Maybe this will happen to you…if not with the Raksin set, then with something else. It will be good to recapture that feeling.
It has been a whirlwind few days as I announced the imminent end of the FSM label, and people have been so kind and complimentary, it challenged me to keep thinking of the journey we’ve been on together…and of new ways to make the business side of things work for our joint cause.
I think this giveaway is in that spirit.
Whether David Raksin’s music leaves you in love, or loathing, or indifferent—remember, it was FREE. It cost you nothing—you were going to buy that other stuff anyway. (And you can always trade or sell it.)
But no matter what, this is a way we can get back into the mindset that brought us to this shared passion in the first place.
So that’s the pitch. I hope you’re game, and I hope this is a way to get people back to the spirit of exploration and adventure while also respecting the pocketbook decisions they have to make.