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Robert Townson leaving Varese Sarabande (final Club Batch coming March 2019)

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Here.

 

That is really sad news. 

 

And there's a final batch of Club recordings being announced in February.

 

Quote

 

Townson’s final Varèse productions will be “one last batch of Varèse CD Club titles being announced in February as well as a final few releases over the coming weeks and months,” including a Season 6 “House of Cards” CD and LPs of both Jerry Goldsmith’s “L.A. Confidential” and Bernard Herrmann’s “Vertigo,” two classic scores from the past.

 

 

 

Karol

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Wow, this is shocking news!

I met Robert in LA in October and boy is that man PASSIONATE about film music.  It's not really a surprise he's deciding to focus more on live concerts since he's been heading down that path for 5 years now.

 

I wonder who will take over as head of Varese's catalog / perpetuity titles.  I vote for Matt Verboys and MV Gerhard 😛

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The legal rights to expand the existing releases would need negotiated with the studios that own the music. But why would they invest money into expanding everything that's still in print and selling as abridged albums? They would need to be strategic about it.

 

For example, Nemesis was a strategic move that came when everybody else was expanding their Star Trek film scores. 

 

But you would think with the glut of expanded non-Trek Goldsmith scores, they would choose Air Force One.

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1 hour ago, bollemanneke said:

Could anyone explain that 'perpetuity' thing to me? Why is it an issue if they can expand their own OSTs?

 

There are lots of scores they released in the 80s/90s/early 00s to which they kept perpetual rights (meaning no one else can come along and release them instead) and which were also generally limited to 30 minutes because they couldn't afford the fees to release full albums. In theory they could have sold those rights, but never showed any interest.

 

It's an issue because they don't release old scores at anything like the rate of LLL/Intrada and recently seemed far more interested in producing concerts. Hence there are lots of scores that will never be expanded if Varese can't be bothered.

 

Hopefully whoever takes over control of their back catalogue has different priorities than Townson.

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1 hour ago, Richard Penna said:

Hopefully whoever takes over control of their back catalogue has different priorities than Townson.

 

 

That would be Cary Mansfield who has been with Varese since 1993.

 

-Erik-

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3 hours ago, Jay said:

It's not really a surprise he's deciding to focus more on live concerts since he's been heading down that path for 5 years now.😛

He doesn't have any other choice, he was eliminated from his own company!

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Wow. This is surprising and sad news. Hopefully they have as ardent film music fan helming the future soundtrack projects at Varese as Townson is.

 

Oh and there is L.A. Confidential release coming from Varese.

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7 minutes ago, Incanus said:

Wow. This is surprising and sad news. Hopefully they have as ardent film music fan helming the future soundtrack projects at Varese as Townson is.

 

Oh and there is L.A. Confidential release coming from Varese. :love2:

 

An LP though.

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2 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

An LP though.

Oh damn in my excitement of seeing L.A. Confidential mentioned I misread that sentence. Oh well. Perhaps some day.

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 I'm speechless. Robert Townson is a legend to us film music fans. I don't know how hard his departure will affect the label. But we owe tremendous gratitude and admiration to him. He is truly a pioneer in the film music production arena. Wishing him all the future success.

 

At least as a parting gift we will see the last produced batch of Varese Club titles by Robert in February as well as the RSNO/McNeely Recording of VERTIGO and Goldsmiths LA CONFIDENTIAL on Vinyl.

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42 minutes ago, Incanus said:

Oh damn in my excitement of seeing L.A. Confidential mentioned I misread that sentence. Oh well. Perhaps some day.

 

You're not the only one.

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14 hours ago, Jay said:

I met Robert in LA in October and boy is that man PASSIONATE about film music.  It's not really a surprise he's deciding to focus more on live concerts since he's been heading down that path for 5 years now.

 

Exactly. I've bumped into him on several occasions too, most recently in Croatia and London last year, and he seems more engaged with hanging out with composers, looking back at his catalogue and being in a social environment (where he no doubt gets a lot of attention) than producing new soundtracks. So this comes as no surprise to me; in fact, I had expected the news sooner.

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26 minutes ago, mstrox said:

The article says they’ve eliminated his position, so....

 

I missed that bit of information. Without it, I saw several possibilities as to motivations and possible causes:

 

1) Townson got tired of producing CDs, hence his focus in recent years on concerts and galas, and the reduced number of special soundtrack releases. He might have decided to take up a position where he can better focus on his current interests, and if (major if!) the right person follows him at Varese, the attention to the scores in the catalogue that most need a re-release might even increase.

 

2) Concord's acquisition of Varese might already have been a factor in their reduction of special soundtrack releases, and Townson may feel that he cannot anymore realise the projects he's interested in under the new ownership. That would mean that the situation at Varese will at best not improve, but Townson may now find new ways to work on his projects.

 

3) They've actually fired him, either personally or by closing down his section of the company. Which also wouldn't bode well for the future of soundtracks at Varese.

 

Whatever the true motivations, we can only hope that if Concord/Varese stop catering to the soundtrack speciality market, they may at least have the decency to loan their perpetual rights to other labels who could then handle the actual releases.

 

...in fact, the way I understand this quote of his, it might indicate that he hopes to licence Varese titles for special releases with another company:

 

While the Varèse Sarabande back catalog will remain at Concord Music, the concepts I have brought to the label will now be reimagined by me elsewhere.”

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COMPLETE speculation - businesses eliminate high-paying positions all the time, especially ones that they feel they can pay other people less for.  The fact that there’s a nice Variety article, and that he’s friendly in it, and that he’s taking the concert portion of the business (albeit renamed) probably means that he was given or negotiated a nice package on his way out.

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Ok, first of all, the new Goldsmith LPs are not part of the final club batch. As quoted on Variety:

 

Quote

Townson’s final Varèse productions will be “one last batch of Varèse CD Club titles being announced in February as well as a final few releases over the coming weeks and months,” including a Season 6 “House of Cards” CD and LPs of both Jerry Goldsmith’s “L.A. Confidential” and Bernard Herrmann’s “Vertigo,” two classic scores from the past.

 

The article also ends on a pretty positive note:

 

Quote

Concord, meanwhile, is expected to focus more on Varese’s vast catalog of film and pop recordings.

 

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15 hours ago, mstrox said:

COMPLETE speculation - businesses eliminate high-paying positions all the time, especially ones that they feel they can pay other people less for.  The fact that there’s a nice Variety article, and that he’s friendly in it, and that he’s taking the concert portion of the business (albeit renamed) probably means that he was given or negotiated a nice package on his way out.

I think Concord bought them up for their IP and cleaned house. Varese doesn’t even really do current releases anymore. And I remember years ago an article saying that the likes of Ice Age and other scores were selling less than 1,000 copies. Soundtrack business isn’t very lucrative. 

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I actually asked him whether that means the end of CD Club releases and he replied: Yes. :(

 

EDIT: But then, I read on FSM that drivingmissdaisy (another Varese employee who is leaving) that archival releases will continue. Hmm... 🤔

 

Perhaps Rober wasn't answering my question after all?

 

Karol

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So what do you think would be included in the final batch? Robert mentioned that he knows Air Force One is the single most requested title. There will definitely be a Goldsmith in the batch. But what else? The Matrix celebrates its 20th anniversary in a couple of months... Wishful thinking. Other than those two, and perhaps X-Men: The Last Stand I don't really have anything left on my list.

 

Karol

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