music reporter

New soundtrack math: 4 episodes, 8 tracks

You heard here first about the innovative music being used in Showtime's new series "Californication." Now the show is going one step further: A soundtrack will be released — but not on a round disc and not all at once.

If TV is the new radio, then this might be the new soundtrack. "Temptation: Music From the Showtime Series 'Californication' " is going to be released exclusively via iTunes by ABKCO Records in installments of eight-song "track packs." In essence, it will be an evolving digital soundtrack. The show's music supervisors, Budd Carr and Nora Felder, had initially approached ABKCO about using the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in the show. Then they and ABKCO vp Alisa Coleman asked themselves: Why wait until the end of a show's season to release a soundtrack? 'Tis the digital age, no?

Because ABKCO — which is home to works by such acts as the Stones, Sam Cooke, the Animals and Marianne Faithfull — had a strong existing relationship with iTunes, the marriage of show and record label made sense.

Coleman notes that offering the soundtrack while "Californication's" first season is on the air can make "passive viewers" into "active viewers." They watch, they buy. They buy, they watch.

The first pack of eight songs will be available Sept. 10 and is chock-full of cool tracks, including the first-time digital release of Paul Oakenfold's remix of the Doors' "L.A. Woman," "Mojo" by Peeping Tom (the new project from Mike Patton of Faith No More) as well as songs by Tommy Stinson, Mindy Smith, Josh Blake, the Country Gentlemen, Arco and My Morning Jacket. A new track pack of songs will be available after every four "Californication" episodes for $7.92. Showtime also will offer a video podcast on iTunes with behind-the-scenes interviews with the show's cast and producers.

This marks an interesting leap for ABKCO Records, or any label, to go digital-only on a soundtrack that could potentially have a healthy CD release.

Says ABKCO senior vp Iris Keitel, "We fully realize that fresh thinking is what's called for in today's quickly evolving music industry, and our friends and partners at Showtime clearly concur."

"Californication" series creator Tom Kapinos is dancing to the beat as well. "An episodic soundtrack enables us to establish a musical arc for the show," he says.
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