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Soundtrack vs ‘Soundtrack’

It’s becoming more and more popular for film studios to release ‘soundtracks’ which consist of music that didn’t feature in the film.


It has come to our attention that more and more film studios are releasing ‘soundtracks’ which consist of music tracks that didn’t feature in the film, and lack the music that did!

Good examples of this can be found accompanying superhero films. The studio behind Black Panther (2018) released two albums; one consisting of the actual underscore heard in the film, the other consisting of tracks ‘inspired by’ the film. The same can be said for Deadpool 2 (2018).

So what’s causing this increasing occurrence of unrelated ‘soundtracks’? The simple answer is money. Sadly, it seems the general public isn’t particularly interested in underscores. You will find the occasional Hans Zimmer fanatic (he does sell out arena tours, after all), but most are interested in commercial music. Production companies have caught onto this prospect and use it to their advantage by releasing albums consisting of already popular music supposedly ‘inspired by’ the film and labelling them as ‘soundtracks’.

In a similar vein, Spotify users have taken it upon themselves to create ‘soundtrack’ playlists. For example, there are a number of ‘soundtrack’ playlists on Spotify for the second series of Netflix’s Ozark, despite the fact the official soundtrack remains unreleased. Written by up-and-coming composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (known for Enemy (2013) and The Gift (2015)), the underscore is mostly unnoticeable, perfectly moulding itself into the atmospheric scenes. If you’d like to check it out for yourself, you’d have to sign-up to Netflix and watch the series for yourself. All the Spotify playlists consist of are a plethora of unrelated popular tracks from Nirvana to Frank Sinatra.

At the moment, this second ‘soundtrack’ is mostly harmless, apart from the occasional misunderstanding in conversation. It would be better and more respectful towards the actual underscore composers to label such albums as something other than ‘soundtrack’. There is the risk, however, that these ‘soundtracks’ could steal credit from those who both deserve and earned it. Once ‘soundtracks’ are being talked about more than soundtracks, action must be taken.

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