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 Posted:   Jan 21, 2019 - 10:40 PM   
 By:   fwp   (Member)

Hi
I've hunted high and low for an answer to this question but I couldn't find the right search terms so I gave up and will just ask the experts, ie you!!

I have read, probably on this site or in a review somewhere that for a long while the amount of music that could be released on a recording was around 35 minutes due to union restrictions or something on musicians in Hollywood orchestras. Can anyone confirm/deny this and set me straight. I collect soundtrack LP's and play them on my radio show and I'd like to have this info at my fingertips in case I'm asked.

Thanks for your help.

Ross

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2019 - 11:39 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Not exactly. What you're thinking about is that the American Federation of Musicians once demanded a very high re-use fee for the musicians who performed on a score. There was no strict limitation, but for most score releases, a half-hour or so was the most that made economic sense. (Under thirty minutes was a feeble product, over was often prohibitively expensive.) A label that chose to spend the money could release as much as they wanted.

But that was then, and the AFM has significantly reduced their re-use rates, and in general, the half-hour soundtrack is a thing of the past.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 2:08 AM   
 By:   Julian K   (Member)

IIRC it was also that the union rules meant that they would only allow a label to licence a score in fifteen-minute chunks, so 2 x 15 was the limit for many score CDs, because paying for a third chunk would probably have made the difference between making a profit and taking a loss.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 3:17 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I read somewhere it was 20-minute chunks rather than 15-minute chunks, but I could be mistaken.

Oh, how I miss those days. Physical and industry limitations gave birth to this wonderful array of great, creative, concise reconceptualizations of the scores.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 5:33 AM   
 By:   BlindDoc   (Member)

I read somewhere it was 20-minute chunks rather than 15-minute chunks, but I could be mistaken.

Oh, how I miss those days. Physical and industry limitations gave birth to this wonderful array of great, creative, concise reconceptualizations of the scores.


I know where you're getting at - and i agree that a lot of scores profit greatly from "concept/re-aranged" album formats.

But the problem with those 30-minute scores often was, that a lot of times there were very important and lengthy cues missing, often ones that employed choirs/full orchestras, as that would have added yet more cost. I remember being sorely disappointed by Varese's "Deadly Friend" LP, which not only omitted all orchestral elements, but also several layers of certain tracks. In hindsight, some (not all, of course) of those short albums nowadays come across as mere teasers / appetizers for their respective scores. Others were a great listening experience. A perfect listening length for me is 45 - 50 minutes, if grippingly (i'm sure that word doesn't exist) arranged. I for one love to have both worlds - full score on one disc and album on another. It also shows you the composer's train of thought how to arrange the seperate "bricks" of the score cues into a fully built album. Hence you get a) all the music and b) an education on how to (or how not to) arrange an album.

Best,
Burnie


 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 6:16 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I read somewhere it was 20-minute chunks rather than 15-minute chunks, but I could be mistaken.

Oh, how I miss those days. Physical and industry limitations gave birth to this wonderful array of great, creative, concise reconceptualizations of the scores.


I know where you're getting at - and i agree that a lot of scores profit greatly from "concept/re-aranged" album formats.

But the problem with those 30-minute scores often was, that a lot of times there were very important and lengthy cues missing, often ones that employed choirs/full orchestras, as that would have added yet more cost. I remember being sorely disappointed by Varese's "Deadly Friend" LP, which not only omitted all orchestral elements, but also several layers of certain tracks. In hindsight, some (not all, of course) of those short albums nowadays come across as mere teasers / appetizers for their respective scores. Others were a great listening experience. A perfect listening length for me is 45 - 50 minutes, if grippingly (i'm sure that word doesn't exist) arranged. I for one love to have both worlds - full score on one disc and album on another. It also shows you the composer's train of thought how to arrange the seperate "bricks" of the score cues into a fully built album. Hence you get a) all the music and b) an education on how to (or how not to) arrange an album.

Best,
Burnie


You're wasting your breath if that was a direct response to Thor. He's got his fingers in his ears and shouting, "Lalalalalalala, I can't hear you!".

In retrospect I really enjoy some of those 30 minutes scores and gone back to them. I also think the 45-50 minute album length is probably the best compromise.

But some scores require the complete/expanded treatment as well.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 9:59 AM   
 By:   The Mutant   (Member)

I read somewhere it was 20-minute chunks rather than 15-minute chunks, but I could be mistaken.

Oh, how I miss those days. Physical and industry limitations gave birth to this wonderful array of great, creative, concise reconceptualizations of the scores.




Oh how I don’t miss those days at all. Going to see a film, buying the soundtrack and discovering its missing most of the stuff I wanted.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   danbeck   (Member)

I read somewhere it was 20-minute chunks rather than 15-minute chunks, but I could be mistaken.

Oh, how I miss those days. Physical and industry limitations gave birth to this wonderful array of great, creative, concise reconceptualizations of the scores.




Oh how I don’t miss those days at all. Going to see a film, buying the soundtrack and discovering it’s missing most of the stuff I wanted.


I also don't miss those days and canal still remember my disapointment after listening to Poltergeist II missing all choral and action music (after saving during months to acquire a sealed copy in the late 80's), Raiders without the Main Titles, Return of the Jedi...

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   bagby   (Member)

Hi
I've hunted high and low for an answer to this question but I couldn't find the right search terms so I gave up and will just ask the experts, ie you!!

I have read, probably on this site or in a review somewhere that for a long while the amount of music that could be released on a recording was around 35 minutes due to union restrictions or something on musicians in Hollywood orchestras. Can anyone confirm/deny this and set me straight. I collect soundtrack LP's and play them on my radio show and I'd like to have this info at my fingertips in case I'm asked.

Thanks for your help.

Ross


As noted in earlier posts, union rules paid musicians in 15 minute chunks, so if you went over 30 minutes you had to pay for 45, even if the score was barely over 30 minutes. Couple that with the restrictions on LP capacity (of about 22 minutes per side), and you get some confusion. The other part of all that is the production cost would go up by half if you went over 30 minutes but you likely couldn't charge more for the finished product, back in them days. So problematic all around.

The 44 to 45 minute problem went out with the advent of CDs but the reuse fees and 15-minute periods didn't.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 12:42 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

The 44 to 45 minute problem....

The blessing, you mean.

Are you positive it was 15-minute blocks? I feel almost certain it was 20 minutes. Don't we have any old references for this kind of thing?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   Chris Avis   (Member)

The 44 to 45 minute problem....

The blessing, you mean.

Are you positive it was 15-minute blocks? I feel almost certain it was 20 minutes. Don't we have any old references for this kind of thing?


But then, why all the Varese CDs that were right on, or under 30 mins? Wouldn't those have been 40 min CDs instead?

Chris

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 1:08 PM   
 By:   JohnnyRoastbeef   (Member)

I'm pretty sure Lukas once said (maybe in that old "soundtrack-info booklet" thing you'd get with a FSM subscription, but I can't remember for sure) that you could get 5, 10 or 15 minute chunks. 2 x 15 minutes, as stated above, made the most economic sense. Sometimes a label may want to buy an extra 5 minutes of music, or 10, but I assume you'd get better value to the dollar in the larger 15 blocks of music.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 1:18 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

But then, why all the Varese CDs that were right on, or under 30 mins? Wouldn't those have been 40 min CDs instead?

Quite a few of them were.

Here's an earlier thread on the topic, where the 20-minute chunk is mentioned by the late music producer musicko. Thankfully, my memory wasn't failing me on this one.

https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=31952&forumID=1&archive=1

I think it may have been 15 minutes for the US, but 20 minutes in Canada, the UK and other countries.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 1:37 PM   
 By:   bagby   (Member)

This is full of legalese but there's a number of references to '15 minutes of recorded music' and even breaks it down to 'no more than seven and a half minutes recorded' per so many hours, and so on.

https://www.afm.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Sound-Recording-Agreement.pdf

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2019 - 2:52 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yeah, but that's only for the US. I believe it's different other places.

 
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