We’ve identified why some songs are unreleased and how Tunefind handles them in Unreleased Songs, part one. Here, we’ll dive deeper into the types of unreleased songs and how songs eventually get released.
There are various categories of unreleased music, including original compositions, cast performances, and production music libraries. There are also special cases of pre-released songs that are scheduled to release in conjunction with a particular premiere date, so at the time they’re placed, they’re unreleased. It’s also possible, but rare, that a song title or artist name changes which will show a song as unavailable until Tunefind’s system updates the links.
Original compositions by a series or film composer are often released shortly after a program is released. You’ll find that perhaps the songs sound a bit different when released on a soundtrack album. This is common because original music is often chopped and changed for specific scenes and dialogue. For example, composers often create character themes heard during scenes with that person. The frequency and duration of the character’s appearance may change from moment to moment, and so their theme music will have to be edited accordingly.
Fans on Tunefind are always quick to point out when a piece of music they hear on screen sounds like it may be an original score from the series/film composer. Every composer has a specific sound, and each project has an even more specific sound. Here’s where things get tricky, though. Composers will often take pieces of their work and rework a track to fit the on-screen actions. This is a common occurrence in long-running series such as Riverdale. Blake Neely is the show’s composer, and early on in the series, he created popular ‘themes’ throughout the first season. ‘Riverdale’ will sound familiar to fans of the show because it is used as the show’s theme song. ‘If You Love Me’ has been dubbed by some fans, as Archie and Betty’s theme, due to its common appearance in scenes that are connected to the character’s love story. Both of these tracks on the Original Television Score album are over 2 minutes long. When placed on the screen, though, fans will often only hear short snippets of the tracks that have been cut to fit the scene.
Composers will sometimes recycle parts of their portfolio as well. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story aired on Netflix on Sep 21, 2022, with an original score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Interestingly, episode 3 contains an instrumental piece of score that Cave and Ellis had composed in the past for another project. ‘Bloody Cheche’ was released in 2015 on the soundtrack for Far From Men.
This is Us season 6 contained an original piece titled ‘The Forever Now’ that was sung on-camera by Mandy Moore, who played the series matriarch, Rebecca. Sharp-eared fans likely thought the song sounded familiar. Although the song was an original, it was inspired by and shares some familiarity with the shows ‘Closing Theme’, penned by series composer Siddhartha Kholsla.
Cast performances are always popular amongst fans on Tunefind. In a perfect world, every cast performance ever made would be released on the show’s original soundtrack. However, that is unfortunately not the case. There are a myriad of different reasons why a cast performance may never be officially released, ranging from legality to technicality.
Tunefind follows a specific format when entering a cast performance on its series page. Tunefind’s goal is to add the unreleased songs in a format in which it’s most likely to be released, if it ever is released. The format below is the most commonly used by the music services:
Song Title (feat. Actor Name) by Show Name Cast
If the song was unreleased, it would appear on Tunefind like this:
Cast performances or cover versions performed in singing competition shows are handled a bit differently. In the case of singing competition shows, the contestant version of the popular song is unlikely to ever be released. But, there are a few exceptions to this rule; such as the finalists of The Voice and American Idol releasing their versions of songs to facilitate the voting process through streaming and downloading stats.
Production Music Library
Last, but certainly not least, is production music libraries. Production libraries are catalogs of pre-licensed music available to be used for syncs. They are often a go-to for advertising agencies, music supervisors, website builders, and production teams. The way library music is released could credit the composer, artist, or library. Some are never released and only available to listen to through that library. The goal of a production library is to have a large selection of music available for licensing in popular projects. If you were to visit a production library’s catalog, you would likely find tracks that sound a lot like the music you might hear on the radio. However, the process of licensing those popular songs can be lengthy, expensive, and sometimes downright impossible. Production libraries provide a similar sound for a fraction of the cost.
Production libraries often have multiple versions of the same track as well. Including instrumental versions, different tempos, etc. If a series doesn’t have or want a composer for a particular project, there is a myriad of different options available in popular production libraries that could easily replicate the sound of an original score.
Popular reality TV sometimes have a lot of library tracks packed into a single episode. The pace of reality TV is often fast and show runners and music supervisors can use production libraries to get a whole lot of music options. It’s not unheard of to see a 40 minute long episode include over 40 different library tracks. Lots of music, used in short bursts, to supplement the fast pace of the plot.
Tunefind will list these tracks depending on the information available. If the composer or writer of a track is available, it’s preferred to credit the name of said artist. If the name of the artist cannot be verified, Tunefind will list the library the track came from, so fans will have an idea of where to find the track in question.
Tunefind’s system is always running to link unreleased songs, but many times our small team is fielding the outreach from music supervisors and their music teams, and users just like you. If you stumble across an unreleased song, use the Tunefind contact form to let us know that it has been released, providing links to the streaming services where the track is available. But remember these rules for unreleased songs and be patient.