Friday, November 05, 2004

Love and... Barriage?

Just to show you how music licensing is putting a continual crimp in the TV-on-DVD business: according to TV Shows On DVD, the release of the complete third season of Married With Children has been held up because the owners of the theme song, "Love and Marriage," decided that they wanted more money for it. (That is, after licensing the song out for the first two sets, they suddenly jacked up the price.) So Columbia has finally decided to release the third season with the theme song replaced, but with a label on the box mentioning that the music has been changed.

Music licensing for TV shows on DVD is incredibly tricky because even if the songs were licensed for syndication, they have to be licensed all over again for DVD release. A music-heavy show like WKRP in Cincinnati is effectively impossible to release, but as you can see from this debacle, even a single song can screw up a season release if the owners of the song demand an exorbitant price. It's pretty sad to think of Married With Children without the Sinatra recording of "Love and Marriage," which perfectly summed up the attitude of the show (it helps that the recording itself takes kind of an ironic attitude to the song, which was written for a TV musical version of Our Town and which is semi-spoofed by Nelson Riddle's arrangement). But I don't see what choice an Al Bundy fan has, short of paying $60 for a three-disc set, which would sell so poorly that the other seasons wouldn't come out.

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