AMPAS reverses music Oscar campaigning rule

CDs of songs, scores can now be used

Reversing a year-old regulation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has okayed the use of CDs of songs and scores in campaigns for the music Oscars.

Last year, in its annual tweaking of campaign rules, the Academy banned campaigners from sending specially-produced CDs, as well as sheet music and music videos, to its members as part of an effort to force voters to focus on how music is used within a film rather than how it sounds in isolation.

But that triggered an outcry from many members of the music branch, and so this year the Academy has revised that revision.

Under the new campaign regulation for the 81st annual Academy Awards, which will be handed out Feb. 22, CDs of eligible scores may be distributed to voting members of the music branch anytime prior to the nominations announcement on Jan. 22. Once the nominees are announced, the nominated scores may be distributed to all voting members of the Academy.

The campaigns can't send out commercial soundtrack CDs, though. Instead, they must use specially prepared CDs, and each music track must be titled, that include the name of the composer or composers and be identical to the music used in the finished film. The CD may contain only music written by the eligible composer. Music written by other composers, licensed music or music that is otherwise ineligible for award consideration is not permitted.

Songs are treated slightly differently. Distribution of eligible songs prior to the nominations announcement is not permitted, though as a result of a rule change announced in June, the Academy itself will be sending DVDs containing film clips featuring the songs to music branch members during the nominations balloting phase. The DVDs will contain the same clips to be screened at the annual voting event at which branch members may cast their nominations ballot in person. Once the nominations are announced, CDs of the songs may be sent to all members.

Music videos and sheet music remain off limits.

The changes in the music regulations are the only changes in the Academy's campaign regulations that have been made for the 81st season.

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