Thinking ahead about the show, our minds were already trained on what we wanted as a theme. Well, that’s not entirely accurate…

I was tied up in details, such as how the intro would look, and how long the theme would play for the intro and outro. But as to how it would actually sound? I had only the vaguest idea. I knew I wanted something R&B, and preferably mid-tempo, but that’s about it. Then Shaundra, while looking online for music to license to use in her YouTube videos, came across a track that was so hot, I immediately saw it for the show’s theme (and secretly hoped she passed on it so I could use it – though when I mentioned using it for the show, she graciously offered to let me have it). For a while, we’ve been circling it without paying the necessary fees, if only because we didn’t need it just yet. But it was a forgone conclusion it become our theme (I even told a producer friend who asked about making a track for us that we already had one in mind). I had even told myself that I’d go ahead and pay for the licensing if the auditions went well…

Then I found out how much it cost – and what I couldn’t do with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with paying for music. I always have, and only rarely have accepted burned copies of music from friends. I’ve been scored on because I continued to buy my music when sites like Napster and Limewire were the rage. Call me old-school, but I believe in paying for someone’s art (which is why it sucks that I can’t afford to pay my cast and crew for the show – but at least I let everyone know that going in). But somehow I missed the actual price for purchasing the track we wanted – $59.99, PLUS a $10 licensing fee. But that’s not the kicker. Shaundra read a clause stating that the song COULD NOT be used as a theme song for any type of production.

Really?

You mean to tell me I have to pay $60, plus a licensing fee (what the hell is the $60 for if it isn’t some kind of licensing fee? It can’t be an amount to own the song, because then there’d be no need to pay for licensing) and I can’t use the song how I want? I can get why they came up with the rule: a theme song becomes branding for your project; if it’s a success, every time someone hears the song, they relate it to your show. I guess they want to be able to continually make money off the song, as opposed to risk having it become a major hit and attached to one particular project, thus driving others off who might also want to use it. What I don’t get is why don’t they just jack up the price and sell the track as an exclusive to whoever can pay the fee? The website Shaundra found the song on tracks how many times the song has been bought; they haven’t made that much on it. Selling it as an exclusive with a nice, fat fee attached would probably work out better for them. But it’s whatever. Long story short, the song is out, and we’re back to square one. But it’s not the end of the world. Or even that big an issue. The show will go on…

It’ll just sound different when it comes on and goes off.