Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Whilst I wait...

While I wait to hear from my son, Eric, as to what it was like performing and partying today in Las Vegas with Jennifer Aniston and Matt Damon, and also while I vomit over the fact that U2 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night (is it just me or does every fucking song sound the same; is the Edge not the world's worst guitar player EVER, and other than Sting, is there a more pretentious performer alive than Boner, I mean, Bono), here's an interesting article just published regarding the kids' upcoming soundtrack:

Trillion Records Aims for Soundtrack Market Domination

(PRWEB) March 9, 2005 -- Soundtracks have long been an important part of the music industry, but few record companies were formed to cater exclusively to this niche market. Trillion Records is correcting this oversight. Trillion movie and television soundtracks will cover all musical genres, from rock to rap to adult contemporary.

The label's upcoming first release is the soundtrack to the documentary 'Rock School,' which was screened recently at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT.

Several highly successful and respected music industry veterans are behind this new venture. The main person is Mike Catain. He was vice president of A&R at United Artists Records, where he supervised soundtracks for United Artists studios' movies including each release in the 'Rocky' and 'The Pink Panther' series.

Catain went on to form Liquid 8 Records and Calvin Records. Liquid 8 and Calvin are based in Minneapolis. Calvin is a front-line label and Liquid 8 is home primarily jazz and gospel releases. Calvin is also entering the lucrative videogame soundtrack market. The label is partnering with Fear Factory member Raymond Herrera's company 3volution to release the Rainbow Six Lockdown soundtrack. Rainbow Six Lockdown is an eagerly awaited new videogame from Ubisoft. Mark Heyert works closely with Catain on Liquid 8 and Calvin projects; he is a 20-year veteran of the music business and has worked with artists including Jethro Tull and Ian Hunter and companies such as Oglio Entertainment, Ubiquity Recordings and Fuel 2000 Records. Catain's other business ventures include the Macintosh computer technical support company Doctor Mac Direct and a luxury resort in Costa Rica named Casa Tranquila.

Trillion, based in Hollywood, is an equal partnership between Catain and Jonathan Platt. Calvin provides the financing, infrastructure and distribution for Trillion. Platt and Jonathan Miller contribute their sizable A&R abilities to Trillion, while Catain and company supply the marketing muscle.

"Both Calvin and Trillion are brand new labels. Jonathan Platt and I specialized in soundtrack work when we were at other companies," says Miller. "We first crossed paths when working on the soundtrack to last year's hit horror film 'Saw.' Fear Factory, which is signed to Mike's other label, Liquid 8 Records, was on the soundtrack. I was impressed with all the various marketing angles Liquid 8 devised for the 'Saw' soundtrack. It was decided that with Mike and Mark's marketing expertise and our creative direction in assembling soundtracks it would make a great team."

"Everything about the 'Saw' soundtrack marketing campaign impressed me. The street team and radio efforts were fantastic," says Platt.

"As for the Trillion business model, it's a joint decision among all of us if we think we can create an appropriate soundtrack for the movie or television production. We all do a little bit of everything," Miller says. "Mike and Mark are brilliant with marketing but Jonathan and I offer ideas too, and they also present us with creative suggestions."

More than 25 years ago, the 'Saturday Night Fever' and 'Grease' soundtracks were phenomenal hits, but they were successful in parallel with the movies themselves. Gradually, the soundtracks themselves were promoted ahead of the movies, and sometimes overshadowed them. It can be argued that soundtracks such as 'Footloose,' 'Flashdance,' 'Purple Rain,' 'The Bodyguard' and others are more memorable than the movies themselves.

In the modern music world, soundtracks fill several important roles. In addition to enhancing the stories on screen, they definitely promote their respective movies and virtually function as advertising. Also, they serve as a perfect platform for unknown artists.

"In today's market, it's really hard to develop an artist and get exposure. A soundtrack is great because an artist can do a song that they enjoy and that helps tell the movie's story. In turn, the fans will remember the music. We have just then exposed the marketplace to a brand new artist," Miller says. "Soundtracks are incredibly important to a movie or television show's story. Music brings out the emotion. We want Trillion soundtracks to push that to the next level."

"The creativity involved in conceiving a soundtrack is incredibly rewarding. The end result is that a soundtrack becomes the driver of the movie or television show," Platt says. "The music on a soundtrack becomes so intertwined with the message of the story on screen."

One of the major advantages Trillion has over the major labels is expediency.

"We work a lot quicker than the majors. Since soundtracks are all we do, we can work with the studios, producers and directors and turn them around fast. At the majors, soundtracks are still just one department. They can't work quickly under that kind of corporate structure," says Miller. "It takes a major label anywhere from six to 12 months per soundtrack. We can complete a soundtrack in a fraction of that."

That turnaround time is crucial. Movie soundtracks are often the very last thing studios and directors address when completing films, and more often than not it's precariously close to opening day. It's not that soundtracks are an afterthought, but budget limitations and other business factors come in to play. ("It's scary to have a band you want for a soundtrack, and then the deal falls through," says Miller.) Television soundtracks are the opposite. They are put together first, usually with the artists selected based on the target demographic of the television show. For these reasons, Trillion is the perfect solution. When the right songs are matched with the right veteran or developing artists, the films are the winners. The soundtracks stand as evidence.

"We definitely want to build an image and brand Trillion as the go-to record company for soundtracks," says Miller. "To give you an example, we want the public and the film and music industries to immediately associate Trillion with soundtracks the same way that Windham Hill is associated with new-age music."

Movie soundtracks today have two lives. First, there is the marketing and promotion tied in with a movie's theatrical run. Then, another blitz follows to keep the awareness level high when the movie is released on DVD. Nowadays, most movies are released on DVD just a few months after they have left theaters. Trillion intends to take advantage of that momentum. Consumer awareness will remain consistent.

The Trillion team is thrilled about launching the label with the 'Rock School' soundtrack, scheduled for release on May 10, 2005. The documentary, directed by Don Argott, is about the Paul Green School of Rock Music founded in Philadelphia in 1999. It is set for release this summer. Green teaches youngsters between the ages of 9 and 17 all about rock 'n' roll and how to play the classics. It is a real music school. The soundtrack features Green's pupils re-recording hits alongside legends like Alice Cooper, Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, The Ramones' Marky Ramone, Heart's Ann Wilson, Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, and Billy Idol.

"This soundtrack is a dream come true for both the kids and Paul Green. Paul is a true rock historian and you get a real sense of his passion through the soundtrack and the film," says Platt. "Teen-agers today are really getting back into rock music and are discovering the classics. This music stands the test of time, and the 'Rock School' soundtrack proves it."

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