Soundtracks industry

Hollywood movie has big influence of the original music, film soundtrack sales has become Hollywood’s standard move, almost every major studios release music soundtrack. Movies and music has win-win situation in artistic expression and business rewards. “Star Wars” (1977) and  “Titanic”(1988) are representatives. Even if the hypostatic record industry receive recession in recent years, “Frozen “(2013) hit and its theme song” Let it go “is popular all over the world, its soundtrack sold 3.5 million copies.


Starting in the 1950 s, movie soundtrack music become an important weapon in the movie marketing promotion, it has an important place in the early and late movie business life, so its life cycle is longer than the film itself because it had not video or DVD at that time. A three minutes theme song played repeatedly on the radio and television broadcast, it is the best advertising for film. Nowadays, Acoustic music albums has become the most extensive movie derivatives, bring a lot of profit, while it’s a long-term sales and brand maintenance of the cinema. Releasing movie soundtrack is an effective means of promoting film music, for producers, record companies, composers, musicians, trade unions, movie fans, and music fans.

Facing with the temptation of high profit, film and music companies gradually make in-depth strategic layout, according to the need of film in different stages of publicity to match with different degree of music. Hollywood movies producers early planned the production and promotion of music derivatives. Usually, soundtrack albums issue earlier than the film, sometimes is synchronous, hardly lag. Most the reason of lag is producers didn’t predict that soundtrack would sell like hot cakes. For example “Transformers”, just released a version of the soundtrack songs when it first released. Later because of the movie fans and music fans’ strong market demand, warner bros. published OST after a long time of movie came out, and soundtracks were quickly sold out.

Many young audiences both love watching movies and listening to music. So use music to sell movies, and use film to sell movies, can help producers save a lot of marketing costs. There is another factor that now film company creating a soundtrack increasingly positive, they begin to become the owner of the record company.

Because of music fans joining in, movie may have more audiences than before. Like Furious 7. Although “See You Again” is the biggest hit from Furious 7, but the full soundtrack — which includes new songs from Prince Royce, T.I. and Young Thug, Khalifa and Iggy Azalea and Dillon Francis & DJ Snake — shares the multicultural authenticity of the long-running Fast & Furious franchise, and crucially so. Big names join can add more profit in OST.

Film music not only in the early help propaganda, but also sell music in music streaming platform, In 2014, according to data from the apple iTunes music chart of the annual sales, animated film “Frozen” soundtrack in album sales ranked the first; Ferrell Williams for ” Despicable Me 2″ theme song “Happy” win in the year single sales list.

Film music is not only an important part of the movie industry, and the industry itself has formed its own unique industrial chain.



  1. Krämer, P. (2011). Hollywood and its Global Audiences.
  2. Lipshutz, J. (n.d.). Why Are Soundtracks Suddenly Back? Because They’re Better Than Ever. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from
  3. Rolston, C. P., Macy, A., Hutchison, T., & Allen, P. (2015). Record Label Marketing: How Music Companies Brand and Market Artists in the Digital Era. CRC Press.

How is a perfect soundtracks album?

Good music = high box office?

Having a high quality music can widen the topic promotion, bring more publicity conversion rate, but cannot directly linked to the box office.

Movie is an integral part of the art form, the external impressing promotion can only increase the probability of success. If the film itself is hot enough, the music will become supporter. However, if the movie content has bad reputation, people tend to lose interest to go to the cinema, even the song is nice. It is a kind of “halo effect” in psychology. If it is a wonderful movie, we will involuntary has a high evaluation for the film in every detail of the film. On the contrary, if you see a bad movie, your only pleasure is to blame the film, not to notice whether film soundtrack is good or not.

In addition, people increasingly demand on film music. According to Kevin Weaver, Atlantic Records’ president of TV & Film, high-profile soundtracks and soundtrack singles are back in vogue because companion albums are finally meeting modern consumer demands. “The public got wise to [what soundtracks were] and didn’t care about them anymore, and over the past handful of years, films have started using music in a really meaningful way. There have been songs specifically created for films, and rolled out and marketed in the right way, and used in the advertising around the release of the pictures.”

Because each moments has routine music pattern, it has become more difficult to stimulate audiences. According to Marginal utility, your stimulation by a good soundtrack routines will be reduced more, and your evaluation will be changed by great – also can – good but I knew it should be like that. Some songs are overused in Movies and TV, like Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones, is heard in Hawaii Five-O, Flight, Covert Affairs, Big Love, Dexter, Layer Cake, etc.



Therefore, how to create a good OST?

Here are some advises:

  1. Not every movie deserves a blockbuster soundtrack, so choose wisely. “It’s not a given that you can do this on every movie — the movie itself has to be the right vehicle for a soundtrack to be compelling,” says Knobloch. Movie is poorly received, but the examples of original soundtracks becoming popular abound. A comedy film Wayne’s World (1992) is a lackluster film, but its soundtracks are all the rage, also make Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which was released in 1975, take the chart again.
  1. Pair classic scene with classic music. For example the Pulp Fiction. This film has no special original soundtrack, Quentin all use ready-made rock, waves, soul and pop music. Mixing 60’s underground pop and classic folk songs, formed a kind of strange but cool style that the younger generation are crazy about.
  1. Make it “meaningful.” Knobloch professes, because studios are doing a better job at locating these powerful moments and delivering genuine musical impact on the viewer. That’s why the emotional closing of Furious 7, featuring “See You Again,” has resonated so strongly. “We’re finding that what is working for us are movies where part of people’s experience is walking out, and parts of their brains are lit up, and they want the music from it in order to relive their experience of that movie over and over again,” he says.
  1. Make sure the right artists have signed on. Knobloch says, “We have to be very careful to go with artists that make sense for the movie. People who were loyal to the franchise would reject songs if there were artists on them that didn’t feel like they belonged in a Fast & Furious movie.” If a song is still stay in many people playlists, but also difficult for someone to link the movie and the song. Behind this phenomenon, it is the forced to bundle music and film together. The theme song should be considered, not only a few words of overlap, but also a match on the theme in music and film. If company only found a famous song for someone to cover, or big-named singer to sing an irrelevant song, it may be suspected of advertising movie by celebrities without considering the music.


Because the heat of music marketing, a lot of film and television companies have learned to use music to promote. But, a lot of songs is attached to the film, when the film left theaters, they are difficult to live individually. After the movie life cycle, few theme songs can stay on list. The reasons for this situation, is that the film music promotion mainly depend on marketing team. Through the film publicity channels, it is difficult to really keep listeners. And even though the song was first released in streaming music platform, if the song completely dependent on the film, it is also difficult to maintain vitality. Finally it is just a famous singer ever send a single.

In the process of music creation in the future, movie producers and music producer would discuss together to create a song, which will have particularly big help in the life cycle of spreading film.

Thus, the ideal state is the combination of movie and music industry, both fulfilled the basic values. After all, there might be a bright future for cooperation.


  1. Bailey, J. (2013). The 20 Most Overused Songs in Movies and TV. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from
  2. Borah, A., & Tellis, G. J. (2016). Halo (Spillover) Effects in Social Media: Do Product Recalls of One Brand Hurt or Help Rival Brands?.Journal of Marketing Research53(2), 143-160.
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  4. Lipshutz, J. (n.d.). Why Are Soundtracks Suddenly Back? Because They’re Better Than Ever. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from
  5. Reay, P. (2004). Music in film: soundtracks and synergy (Vol. 21). Wallflower Press.



The Symbiosis of Music and Movie

Film music have a great effect upon movie spread, music and movie always reinforce each other. Why choose music as promotion? This blog would talk about how film music and movie help each other.

Movie promotion generally has two objects, first is expanding extent of influence, and second is leading consuming behaviour. In terms of extent of influence, it is little difference among texts, pictures, and music. Therefore, the difference of them is how they drive consumption.



What soundtrack bring to movie

Compared with texts and pictures, music accomplish emotional transmission in a more intuitive and quick way, it can stimulates various senses of potential audience, and produce consumptive action. It is a kind of sensory marketing. How sensory marketing works? Research shows that if store play cheerful music, customers will probably buy more goods. Marketing and consumer behaviour Lecturer at goldsmiths, Mario Campana said that, “Sensory marketing is one of the things that has been used a lot in the past few years,” It is reflected in the movie industry too.

In the early days of film development, there were the combination of images and music. In Chaplin’s silent film ”The Modern Times” multiple fast rhythm music, not only fill in the blank of the movie sound, but also highlights how laborious but numb assembly line workers repeat the mechanical motion. With the improvement of movie industry, people derived a new concept of theme song——a melody used, in a film score, to set a mood, introduce a character. Thus, when the theme song promote, it contains movie connotation and build an emotional resonance bridge between music listeners and movie. Its melody change with movie plots’ ups and downs, more exquisite description the character’s insides. When people was impressed by the emotion of the songs contained, they will go to the cinema to see how the movie telling the story.

The prior publishing theme song is a warm up marketing. A good theme song can generate enthusiasm and curiosity for movie and some people mind just have the attention of the movie because they attracted by the song. If the music has strong IP itself, like famous singer or song producers, even special topic (eg.《See You Again》is written a melody that could pay tribute to Paul Walker), the scope of its spread will be far more than film original advertising coverage.

Moreover, because these music transmits fast, can be listened everywhere, and create resonance in a long time, they would bring movie and actors everlasting topics. For a classic movie, after many years, the details are unclear, but when the melody reminds us, we still can recall the good picture of movie. The charm of film music is that it takes the form of sound records the gripping stories.


How movie influence music industry

There are two 020 channels of theme songs, one is leading flow to cinemas, the other one is leading flow to singers’ concerts. Movie gives strong power to music promotion. It is not easy to attract people to listen a single song in an album. However if this song is played in a hit movie, both song and the producers will be promoted. If musician had an opportunity to write songs for big-budget movie, they will get huge follow-up potential benefits. If the music were recognised by director, musician is likely to become a member of the director team, and establish a solid relationship.

For musicians, on the one hand, if they participate in the movie songs creation or singing songs, they will receive higher income than usual, because the movie song’s budget is usually higher than that of writing common songs.


As table shows, each film cost average 400 thousand on music production. As a reference, making a song almost cost $ 8,320, in other words, making an album almost cost $100 thousand. Obviously, creating music for movie team has larger budget than create album by yourselves.

On the other hand, it can save production costs, and movie’s story has better artistic conception than virtual MV. Promoting a song isn’t difficult, but it is difficult to produce an EP and even an album for this song, also hard to make a proper MV. As for music, a match story from movie is easy to resonate listeners than virtual MV.

Because many songs lifting profile by cooperating with premium films, many musicians now try to initiatively cooperate with film producers to explore the most appropriate method of cooperation. This forms of symbiotic has been formed 50 years ago in Hollywood. Some film companies will open a music company themselves, and maximum the value related to the movie music.


It is a symbiotic relationship between music and film, and music should not be a subsidiary of a film. Music can drive the spread of the film from a nice soundtrack, and film spread can enhance the vitality of songs.



  1. Ardell, J. (2016). How Much Does It Actually Cost to Make a Song? ($8,320). Retrieved November 11, 2016, from
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  3. Lipshutz, J. (n.d.). Why Are Soundtracks Suddenly Back? Because They’re Better Than Ever. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from