Film Score Monthly Price Guide: U.S.
Soundtracks On CD
Second Edition: 1985 – 1999
By Robert L. Smith (Book
underrated kind of book on the market on Pop Culture are those on
collectibles. More than just a webpage
on eBay or just a list of relative prices and values on the given subject of
the book itself, the better price guides tell us about history and what people
love, value and demand. Robert L. Smith’s
Film Score Monthly Price Guide: U.S. Soundtracks On CD, Second
Edition: 1985 – 1999
is such a book. Produced just before
eBay really kicked in and affected the entire collectibles market, it is a part
of the magazine’s extraordinary effort to bring on a new golden age of film
music appreciation and five years later, they are succeeding big time.
Discs still have a relatively brief history and at the time of publication,
soundtracks were not considered an important or highly profitable segment of
the music market. This changed
dramatically since as the majors and independent labels saw a sudden boom in
that catalog that was caused in part by the decline of the Rock Music, the rise
of Hip Hop, the rise of the song-driven non Musical/MTV-driven films and a
long-overdue admiration for film music in general that home video. CDs themselves made soundtracks more
accessible than vinyl, 8-tracks and cassettes had not, and album-only
re-recordings for “commercial” release outside of the films actually confusing
buyers with their often inferior re-renderings.
shows what music has endured, who the composers are, and what is remembered
over other music. Obviously, thousands
and thousands of great soundtracks that were issued on vinyl LPs have still not been issued on CD and only a
very small handful so far have come out in new higher-than-CD audio formats
like the experimental 96/24 Digital Audio Disc (DAD) with higher PCM CD sound
and the new contenders to replace CD, DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD. Though the luxury of high fidelity playback
that challenges vinyl and surpasses CDs is nice, there are many strong CDs
still out there from the past and being produced even now, so it is
availability of the right recording at all that makes this market so exciting.
offers over 2,400 CDs at the time, and that number has multiplied a good bit
since its publication, but one thing that was missed has to do with the audio
enhancement known as HDCD. Several
titles here, including Ronin, Independence Day, Alien Resurrection and Starship
Troopers offered this encoding that not only made CDs clearer on all
machines that had CD playback, but were even clearer when the player could
enable the HDCD chip. The newer formats
have surpassed HDCD, but it should have been noted on all CDs with it.
imports are included, especially when they are key titles or have affected the
price of U.S. pressings, are included, but it is sad how many great scores did
not make the book because they were not in print and (once again) still have yet to see the day of light. After the usual notes and explanations, the
majority of the book has film titles listed alphabetically, followed by
compilations mostly listed under the composer’s name and a section of what then
was the top 50 soundtracks in value.
This is an effective layout that is easy to use with information that
holds up well. Even if the prices have
shifted, this is a solid reference volume.
edition numbers and limited edition packaging also enhances the value of
certain editions of a title, something in soundtracks that is not being abused
by overproduction as badly as in other areas of current would-be collectible
production. The magazine itself has the
FSM CD soundtrack label which limits its production of each title to 3,000
copies and offers great booklets, most of which are reviewed all over this
website. Many are expansions of previous
releases, while others are the premieres of film music that are long overdue. You can order this book and hundreds of those
great CDs by going to www.filmscoremonthly.com
and finding out more about all that and the print magazine itself.
- Nicholas Sheffo