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Music Television

The Death of TV Soundtracks

Cassette Tapes

I remember how much joy, musically speaking, I’d get throughout my high school years by listening to TV soundtracks such as Music from The O.C. and the Grey’s Anatomy Original Soundtrack. They were really good. So good, in fact, that the woman behind these soundtracks has been credited as “changing the game for indie rock.”

While you may not be familiar with her name, you’re definitely familiar with Alexandra Patsavas’ talents as a music supervisor. Patsavas has leant her curating prowess to other hit television series such as Chuck, Gossip Girl, and Riverdale. Chop Shop Music Supervision, founded by Patsavas in 1998, has become such a powerhouse in providing these services to television and film productions that a record label, Chop Shop Records, was created under the company name.

As successful as Patsavas and Chop Shop Music Supervision have been in curating epic bops for television, TV soundtracks have been pretty much non-existent for the past decade. As far as I can discern, the last time a TV series released a soundtrack that was as well-received as the series it stemmed from was 2009’s Grey’s Anatomy Soundtrack: Volume 4. Yes: Other television shows have released companion soundtrack albums but when you exclude music-related TV series (Glee, American Idol, etc) the list narrows greatly.

Sales to Streaming

So where have all the TV soundtracks gone? I believe that with the rise of music streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify, the sales for these types of albums would be minimal. However, hit TV series such as MTV’s Teen Wolf had promoted specific tracks using lower thirds throughout episodes. Currently, fans have to resort to following playlists created by fellow fans on these streaming services. I think, if album sales don’t warrant the production and release of soundtrack albums, it’s a missed opportunity for the marketing teams behind these TV series not to take advantage of public playlists on music streaming platforms.

Do you miss TV soundtracks? Would you be excited to see TV series embrace music streaming platforms in the form of playlists?


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