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    "The End of FSM: Countdown to 250 CDs"

    Joe Brausam
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    Post  Joe Brausam on Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:50 pm

    I have decided to end the FSM CD label with our 250th album (coming in spring 2012). FSMCD Vol. 14, No. 14 (Not With My Wife, You Don’t! Vol. 2) is album #240, which means there are ten to go. Look for some big Silver Age thrills and surprises in those last ten CDs!

    This column is what you’d call “breaking the news” so I want to do this briefly, and reassure you of two things:

    1) The FSM website is not going anywhere—I intended to keep it, and the message board, as a “legacy” product, paid for by sales of the FSM inventory.

    2) I am not going anywhere either! I love film music, I love working with it and preserving classic scores on CD, and I will keep an active hand in producing and co-producing titles for the various specialty labels. (Hey, I need to eat!)

    So why do this? I have grown tired of “feeding the dragon”: coming up with 20 albums a year (at least), from conception through licensing, production, design, QC’ing (quality control), and the interminable paperwork…contracts, purchase orders, and especially royalty reports.

    As our catalog has grown, so has the back-end administration: repressing titles, tracking down boxes of old booklets, filling out quarterly sales reports to the licensors. It was a chore 12 years ago—nowadays, I loathe it.

    A few months ago, as I was managing the catalog, I counted up our albums to date (including the Retrograde titles and box sets) and saw that we would hit #250 in around nine months (now, six months). It seemed like a good place to stop.

    There is one overriding reason I feel comfortable in closing the label: the state of recorded film music has never been better. People used to circulate “gag” new release lists on April Fool’s Day, containing “Holy Grail titles”—Alien, Back to the Future, expanded James Bond scores, Star Trek movies, etc. The joke was we’d never see these in a million years. Nowadays, we have most of them in our collections!

    I flip through my iTunes and play The Omega Man, Predator, Days of Heaven, The Black Hole, Bullitt…it’s insane. These things were fantasies for us to have—or at best, we’d trade noisy cassettes through the mail. Nowadays, they all exist on my computer—probably yours too. Hot damn.

    (I keep the physical packages on CD racks—and towers, and shelves, etc.—for easy retrieval. Film score CD documentation and packaging has never been more elaborate. I like to think I had a hand in that development as well.)

    So life is good, and life goes on. In the coming months, we’ll reminisce about some of the behind-the-scenes adventures of making the FSM catalog. We’ll announce plans to delete many titles, while keeping others available for, hopefully, years to come. (What’s the point of releasing Days of Heaven if it doesn’t stay available?) You’ll see my name on CDs from the other labels (those who have looked closely have already noticed). And we’ll roll out the last ten albums—including some must-buy Holy Grails.

    There will be time for extended thank-yous to the many people who have helped us—especially you, the listeners. But to start, I need to thank one person in particular: Craig Spaulding at Screen Archives Entertainment, our distributor since 2004. Some time that year (it’s a blur), I decided I had had enough of mail-order fulfillment and called Craig: “Hey, will you take this stuff?” He said yes—pretty much this quickly—I sent him the entire inventory on pallets and that was that.

    (When we had the inventory on pallets waiting for the truck—on the curb at La Cienega Ave. and Washington Blvd.—a blind neighborhood gentleman walked down the sidewalk, cane in hand, heading right for them. Awkward!)

    The last seven years, Craig and his colleagues have handled all of FSM’s fulfillment and, more than that, have bankrolled all my crazy projects…no questions asked. Seriously! Like this:

    Me: “Hey, we’re doing five CDs of David Raksin scores no one has ever heard except Manderley on the FSM board.”

    Craig: “Great, when’s it done?”

    Me: “I don’t know, maybe two years, but I need you to send a thousand dollars to some guys tomorrow to transfer acetates that might or might not have anything we need.”

    Craig: “Sure! What’s the address?”

    That’s pretty much the process. Can you imagine? I produce what I want to produce, and they pay for everything. No business plan! And that’s we sold 550 copies of The Wreck of the Mary Deare by George Duning…which I love.

    I am not necessarily an easy person to work with—on the one hand, I am maniacally detail-oriented and smart, if I do say so myself. However, I am demanding and expect people to read my mind, then complain when they do not. So Craig and his team have the patience of Job, and it is because we believe in “The Mission”—no, not the Morricone score, or the Williams Amazing Stories score, but the mission of making film music available. All of it.

    SAE has offered such a dream arrangement that I have had to think long and hard about walking away from it—but the time has come. For one thing, something strange and a little sad has happened in the last two to three years (since the ’08 recession): ’80s and ’90s scores are the only sure sellers, Silver Age scores sell like Golden Age scores used to, and Golden Age scores barely sell at all.

    I no longer trust that I can pick an Elmer Bernstein score out of a hat and sell enough copies to make back Craig’s money—let alone an obscure George Duning one—so I’ll step aside and let other parties take those risks, and do what I can behind-the-scenes to help them out. (After 15 years of doing this, I know where all the bodies are buried...cue maniacal laughter.)

    But that’s a topic for next time. For now, digest the news, ask questions on the board, and look forward to the next six months of going out in style. Thanks!

    P.S. Do you have our CD of Wait Until Dark by Henry Mancini? You should, it’s one of my personal favorites. Check it out!
    crocodile's skeleton
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    Post  crocodile's skeleton on Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:55 pm

    That's... unexpected...

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    Nemesis
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    Post  Nemesis on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:17 am

    Wow, that's sad. But it's also understandable...
    Faleel's Essence
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    Post  Faleel's Essence on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:58 am

    Lets hope those last 10 CDs are very very good.
    Nemesis
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    Post  Nemesis on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:00 am

    Unreleased early Williams stuff hopefully!
    Faleel's Essence
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    Post  Faleel's Essence on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:05 am

    Nemesis wrote:Unreleased early Williams stuff hopefully!

    Early? if you think 80's-90's williams as early then...ok!
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    Post  Ghost Pirate LeBlanc on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:09 am

    Faleel's Essence wrote:
    Nemesis wrote:Unreleased early Williams stuff hopefully!

    Early? if you think 80's-90's williams as early then...ok!

    Pre-Jaws = Early Williams
    Jaws -> Schindler's List = Classic Williams
    post-Schindler's List = Late Williams


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    Faleel's Essence
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    Post  Faleel's Essence on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:20 am

    Ghost Pirate LeBlanc wrote:
    Faleel's Essence wrote:
    Nemesis wrote:Unreleased early Williams stuff hopefully!

    Early? if you think 80's-90's williams as early then...ok!

    Pre-Jaws = Early Williams
    Jaws -> Schindler's List = Classic Williams
    post-Schindler's List = Late Williams

    I know that.......
    Nemesis
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    Post  Nemesis on Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:57 am

    And that's why I wrote clearly EARLY! Smile
    Faleel's Essence
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    Post  Faleel's Essence on Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:21 am

    It would be the perfect time to release Star Trek IV...
    Trent B's Ghost
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    Post  Trent B's Ghost on Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:22 am

    Wow what an unfortunate thing for FSM to be ending. I too hope that the last few CD's will be good.

    I'm sort of wondering if the low sales of the Ron Jones Star Trek TNG set is one of the big factors in Lukas Kendall making this decision. Supposedly he poured a lot of money into the set and the sales have done so poorly because of the price factor which a lot of people can't afford.

    Either way it'll be sad when FSM as a label has ended. I'm just hoping Intrada and LLL doesn't follow suit.
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    Post  Brian99_1 on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:17 am

    Wow that was not something I was expecting to read today... I wish Lukas and the folks who make the albums all the best and look forward to what the last few are.

    To be honest I think the only Williams Scores I have from them are Black Sunday, The Blue Box, The Ghostbreaker and The Poseidon Adventure (which is actually the LaLaLand one)
    Should I be looking at some of the other ones as well?

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    Post  Nemesis on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:38 am

    Not if you don't like early Williams. But I can strongly recommende Checkmate/Rhythm In Motion, it contains some fantastic Jazz arrangements.
    Faleel's Essence
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    Post  Faleel's Essence on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:57 am

    I would find someway to purchase their Towering Inferno release, its that good.
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    Post  Nemesis on Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:45 am

    Well, I for one wouldn't want to give it away. But I would assume that besides the "Main Title", "Let there be light" and "An Architec's Dream" the rest of the score is for Williams completists. Don't understand me wrong, I like the score very much, but you have to be a fan of this kind of underscore. So if you can get it for low bugs, i would go for it. If not, I would wait until it gets re-released some day.
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    Post  indy v4.2 on Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:58 am

    Very sad, but in this financial climate getting out of the soundtrack business makes sense. My favorite FSM release is Checkmate/Rhythmn in Motion. A fantastic sample of Williams jazz, and some cool arrangements of Broadway tunes as well.

    These are the only FSM CDs I own:

    Checkmate/Rhythm in Motion
    The Blue Box
    The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing
    Penelope
    Guide for the Married Man
    Black Sunday
    John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!
    None But the Brave
    The Accidental Tourist
    Twilight Zone: The Movie
    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
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    Post  Dead Data on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:46 am

    Very sad to hear. =( They've put out some truly fantastic releases. I hope their final albums are truly as spectacular as they're hyping them up to be, and I hope the other labels manage to pick up the slack afterward...
    Trent B's Ghost
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    Post  Trent B's Ghost on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:06 am

    All I own from FSM is the following...

    Star Trek II
    Star Trek III
    Ron Jones Star Trek TNG set

    I did have the Superman Blue Box and Black Sunday but those two scores went to actually two members of JWFAN, you know who you guys are.

    All though I did still keep my rip of Superman (Original Movie) in case if I ever decided to want to listen to it again in.
    Spirit of King Mark
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    Post  Spirit of King Mark on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:05 pm

    I'm not one of these people that buy everything the labels release each week, but I do have quite a few FSM c.d.'s over the year.Including the Superman box set

    My first was the first Poseidon Adventure c.d. I think

    Well at least most post-1970 Williams c.d.'s that the labels CAN release are done now. I won't kill myself if Daddy-O doesn't get a c.d. release in result of FSM stopping
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    Post  scallenger on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:05 pm

    This is sad news. Sad I love several of their releases, especially Twilight Zone: The Movie and Islands in the Stream (both Goldsmith releases). For a while I thought maybe FSM would be the one's to finally release Gremlins, but probably not now. I am very curious as to what those final titles will be...
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    Post  Zombie Charlie Brigden on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:11 pm

    I'm pretty convinced GREMLINS will be one of the final ten, especially as Lukas mentioned some silver-age holy grails and it was essentially confirmed by SAE previously.

    This is sad news. I loved that FSM always tried to cater for all kinds of score fans, and while it may have contributed to their losses, it's something that deserves respect. And they've done some great, great CDs which maybe sometimes get overshadowed by your WRATH OF KHANs etc, (such as the aforementioned ISLANDS IN THE STREAM, which is a lovely score and a brilliant CD).
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    Post  Stefan's Ghoest on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:44 pm

    Luas say the website and forum will remain, but what about the online magazine?
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    Post  scallenger on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:18 pm

    Zombie Charlie Brigden wrote:I'm pretty convinced GREMLINS will be one of the final ten, especially as Lukas mentioned some silver-age holy grails and it was essentially confirmed by SAE previously.

    This is sad news. I loved that FSM always tried to cater for all kinds of score fans, and while it may have contributed to their losses, it's something that deserves respect. And they've done some great, great CDs which maybe sometimes get overshadowed by your WRATH OF KHANs etc, (such as the aforementioned ISLANDS IN THE STREAM, which is a lovely score and a brilliant CD).

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that slip on FB that pretty much confirmed it! The only question then is who will eventually do Gremlins 2? Wink While, imo, not as classic of a score, and already had a CD release, it does still have some great cues missing (my favorite being when the flying bat Gremlin attacks Mr. Futterman, gets pushed into the cement, and then hardens into a "gargoyle" on top of the cathedral).

    As for Islands in the Stream... it's funny actually that I bought the CD right when it came out, since a friend told me it was one of his favorite scores. I listened to it, liked it, but didn't love it for some reason thinking it wasn't really the type of Goldsmith music I liked (and still isn't what I prefer). So I ripped the music for myself then sold the CD off. But ever since I did that I keep playing it EVERYTIME I want to get in a relaxing mood or think of the ocean. That's Goldsmith for you... some of his music you may not like for some reason at first but then later on it grows on you in a REALLY good way. I almost missed out on Innerspace because of this misconception (I usually watch the film of the music I want right before I buy it to make sure what I hear in the film is really the music I want to spend 20 + bucks on, lol). Now that is one of my favorite scores of his! And again I'm still debating on rather I should get Explorers... lol. I have too many Blu Rays I want to buy this season...

    Sorry for the off-topic... but yeah I definitely need to re-buy Islands In The Stream before they make it go out of print next year. I remember it was a limited release but I think they still had plenty of copies.

    EDIT: Shit! I realized I still have to get Poltergeist! Crap! And I discovered just now that they have a score release for the 1960 Time Machine film? Hell, how did I miss that?! Hmm... well it does show that it came out the month and year I graduated high school... and I wasn't a regular JWFANner back then. Wink
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    Post  Maurizio's Halo on Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:46 pm

    That's bad news indeed, even though I understand Lukas's concerns and pragmatism. He poured a lot into his own activity and he probably wants to keep himself sane and focused into what he really wants to do. There comes a time when you just know it's right to end something. I guess the hard times we're living through also don't help people who run small companies--the financial situation is horrible in many countries and things look even worse for the future.

    Sadly, I guess also this is another sign that in 3 or 4 years CDs will disappear and everything will be download-only (except maybe for super-expensive limited stuff like boxsets or things like that).
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    Post  Sideways Koray on Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:07 am

    I hope the online magazine is still in production but somehow I doubt it.

    It's very unfortunate but they've had a great run. Can't wait to see what the remaining 9 releases are.


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