Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer.
In the early 80s, they produced "Flashdance" and "Beverly Hills Cop", and wanted a new way to market their films to the teen demographic. (Remember, the concept of a 'summer blockbuster' was still only about 8 or 9 years old at this point.) They recognized an original soundtrack (OST) pumped full of uptempo rock (plus the obligatory ballad) was a way to set their films apart. Cool high-energy movies, cool high-energy music. Go.
"Flashdance" was also a big hit OST, as were "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease" before them. But they were add-ons to the movie, incremental. Simpson-Bruckheimer conceived the OST as an integral piece of the marketing scheme.
pittsoccer33 wrote:i wonder if it has more to do with the music business or movie business.
I would say it is disproportionately due to the decline in the music industry.
Back in the day (when I was doing film/TV music licensing) it worked like this: There were five major labels, and about 6-10 big OSTs a year. There was an unwritten arrangement between the film and music companies so that OSTs were 'rotated' between labels. One year, a studio would have most of their OSTs released by Capitol, the next it would be BMG, etc. This was done even among the film studios that had sister companies in the music business (Warner Bros, Universal, Sony). The releasing label would usually get a plurality of tracks on the OST. Sometimes, usually on second-tier films, the label would negotiate with the studio to get their own artists on the OST in exchange for no (master) licensing fees for their use in the film. I seem to remember this was done at Capitol on "Blast From The Past"; Capitol was doing the OST and we gave them something like 14 or 15 needle drops - individual instances of source music in a film - and got 8 or 10 tracks on the OST. The total licensing fees we collected for that film was less than any one of them would normally have merited if our sister company wasn't releasing the OST.
Well...... CDs don't really sell that much anymore, and production budgets have gotten increasingly tight where music is concerned. Once the Simpson-Bruckheimer model had been recognized, EVERYONE started doing it. And it began to have less and less of an impact. In 1986, you could justify a film with what today would be close to $10 million budgets for music. It was a circular feedback loop, where ticket sales were measurably impacted by a strong OST. That's just not the case today, with so many other ways of marketing to consumers. And that $10 million today is more like $5 million (if you're very
lucky), and the bulk of that might go to one or two extremely high-profile licenses.