How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

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How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by WittyUsername » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:48 pm

In case anyone isn’t aware, there was a period in the early 2000s where FUNimation would often use licensed music from bands like Disturbed, Deftones, Drowning Pool, Pantera, etc. for their dubs of some of the movies, as well as the Bardock and Trunks specials. Needless to say, hearing David Draiman dropping the f-bomb over Goku fighting Slug was bizarre to say the least.

Anyway, my question is, how much could all that have cost? Wasn’t FUNimation a really cheap dubbing company back in the day? How and why did they decide to go through the trouble of paying royalties to all these bands for a bunch of direct to video English dubs of 10 year old Japanese animations?

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by omegacwa » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:28 pm

I don't know how, but I have often wondered why. If anything the lack of the original music severally hurt the English dubs of the movies in my mind and I would just flat out not watch them.

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Wilderness » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:33 pm

As much as I loved nu-metal growing up (and still do), these completely ruined the movies for me. So glad the dual audio versions exist!

I wanted to watch movies, not overly long AMV's!
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Gyt Kaliba » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:45 pm

I actually enjoyed the use of the music, but for me it was mostly because that's what introduced me to that sort of music and as such I have nostalgia for it. I haven't watched the movies with that score in place in years, but I can still see the exact scenes in my head whenever I listen to Disturbed's 'Stupify' or Deftones' 'Change'.

I admit I'm not super familiar with all the bands they used overall, but I've always assumed that the bands were probably not quite as big yet as some of them would later become, right? Disturbed was at least certainly not as big as they've recently gotten thanks to 'The Sound of Silence'.
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by WittyUsername » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:04 pm

Wilderness wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:33 pm
As much as I loved nu-metal growing up (and still do), these completely ruined the movies for me. So glad the dual audio versions exist!

I wanted to watch movies, not overly long AMV's!
In the case of Movie 8, I would argue that the rock soundtrack wasn’t entirely inappropriate, considering the nature of Broly as a character. Hell, even the latest movie had that heavy metal-esque “GO BROLY GO GO” music. Still, I do agree that FUNimation’s decision to use licensed music made the movies come across more as AMVs. It doesn’t help that the sound mixing wasn’t very good.

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Tamagon » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:09 pm

One night I just watched the Broly movie and flipped the audio tracks back and forth. The sheer dissonance between the Japanese score and the American score is more funny to me than it should be.

Anyway, yeah FUNi started out as a cheap dubbing company but by the time they were licensing metal music for DBZ movies, I think they had already established themselves as a profitable company. It obviously must've been a net profit or else they would've stopped doing it at Slug :p

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by MyVisionity » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:19 pm

I think using the licensed music was one of the best decisions that FUNi ever made. Those bands really elevated the material in such a way that resonates. I also believe it to be a logical extension of FUNimation's vision for the series, taking that "hardcore edge" vibe from the show to the next level in the movies. Hearing the Japanese tracks would feel completely out of place in my view.

As for the costs, I think a lot of those bands were not very big at the time, with a couple of exceptions, so they may have been easier to afford.

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by VegettoEX » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:35 pm

Folks seem to be under the impression that it was some kind of outlier that FUNimation was replacing audio with "real band" music. And it was: because they were late to the party. A party everyone else abandoned years prior. A couple big examples that come to mind are:
  • SMV had Alice in Chains and Korn in the Street Fighter II animated movie... in 1995.
  • ADV had The Offspring and Stabbing Westward in the Tekken OVA... in 1998.
So some dinky company like FUNimation getting "real bands" had more than enough precedent. Them being flush with DBZ money in the early 2000s is this hilarious scenario of "hey guys we finally caught up and can do the same thing!" at a point where no-one was doing that anymore.

While I can see the argument for extending FUNimation's "vision" of the franchise to its natural end point by having dated nu-metal blaring alongside the animation like the AMVs their fans were already making, I'd more than argue back against it being necessary: the first three DBZ movies were plenty successful with their original score on home video, and since their original release have consistently been held up as some of the most faithful, impressive, watchable, and timeless dubbing work on that franchise in America bar none end of line.
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by MyVisionity » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:06 pm

...the first three DBZ movies were plenty successful with their original score on home video, and since their original release have consistently been held up as some of the most faithful, impressive, watchable, and timeless dubbing work on that franchise in America bar none end of line.
Yes, but this was the Pioneer releases with overall superior writing/acting and faithful scripting. I don't think the original score would work nearly as well when applied to the in-house stuff. Not that the replacement tracks were necessary for the movies' success, just that using the Japanese tracks would not recreate that level of reception among audiences.

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Hellspawn28 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:43 pm

They pick those bands because they were popular. I remember being told that Funimation pick whatever was popular on the radio and added to the movie soundtrack. I remember when Chris Sabat was at Otakon 2015, he told me that they did consider Linkin Park, Creed and Smash Mouth to the soundtrack, but were unable too.
VegettoEX wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:35 pm
So some dinky company like FUNimation getting "real bands" had more than enough precedent. Them being flush with DBZ money in the early 2000s is this hilarious scenario of "hey guys we finally caught up and can do the same thing!" at a point where no-one was doing that anymore.
The Digimon Movie had a licensed band music at the time too and that came out like a year or two before Funimation's dubs of DBZ Movie 4 and 5.
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Gyt Kaliba » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:28 pm

Hellspawn28 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:43 pm
The Digimon Movie had a licensed band music at the time too and that came out like a year or two before Funimation's dubs of DBZ Movie 4 and 5.
That one I'd almost consider it's own case of using licensed music though, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the film is a combination of three different films as it is, so it's already a Frankenstein-ed product in ways that none of the DBZ films ever were. Secondly, it actually went to theaters rather than direct to video, as well as got it's soundtrack released as a product unto itself, so the goal all along was about making more money from the songs used rather than just 'hey, this'll sound cool with this movie!'. It's kind of similar to the way the first Pokemon was released here as well.
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by KBABZ » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:16 pm

VegettoEX wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:35 pm
So some dinky company like FUNimation getting "real bands" had more than enough precedent. Them being flush with DBZ money in the early 2000s is this hilarious scenario of "hey guys we finally caught up and can do the same thing!" at a point where no-one was doing that anymore.
I feel one aspect is the popularity of fan videos around about then that often mashed in real music with the show. We know it influenced the choice of music to replace GT, so maybe it also influenced the movie dubbing?

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Kunzait_83 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:54 am

KBABZ wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:16 pm
I feel one aspect is the popularity of fan videos around about then that often mashed in real music with the show. We know it influenced the choice of music to replace GT, so maybe it also influenced the movie dubbing?
GT's dub music had a bit more of a hip hop edge to it than it did Nu Metal. I don't remember there being NEARLY as many hip hop AMVs for DBZ in the early 2000s (other than maybe some Eminem stuff and the like) compared to the near infinite number of Nu Metal ones. After all, we didn't get the term "Linkin Ball Z" from that era for nothing.

The licensed songs used in the Z movies' dubs were way, WAY more 1 to 1 directly in line overall with a typical early 2000s DBZ AMV: for all the myriad of cringe (both then and now) that that entailed.
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by KBABZ » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:02 am

Kunzait_83 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:54 am
KBABZ wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:16 pm
I feel one aspect is the popularity of fan videos around about then that often mashed in real music with the show. We know it influenced the choice of music to replace GT, so maybe it also influenced the movie dubbing?
GT's dub music had a bit more of a hip hop edge to it than it did Nu Metal.
I believe that was done because Funimation thought that's the type of music people would move on to next with musical AMVs (heard it on the podcast when doing my archive binge).

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by TheGreatness25 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:26 am

There's the flip side where maybe it wasn't that expensive to license that music. Dragon Ball Z was smashing its way into mainstream culture; it was immensely popular.

Why wouldn't Disturbed and [Insert Name Here] want to give Funimation the rights to use their music? It's advertising for themselves to open up to a totally different, brand new audience -- a very, very large audience.

So, there have existed deals in the past, where this kind of scenario didn't exactly cost an arm and a leg. And you constantly see where it's the other way around and companies actually pay for that kind of rub in the form of sponsorships.

So, we don't know which deal way cut, but if these bands were smart, they'd want the exposure instead of putting up a big price tag, for the opportunity to be heard by potentially way more people than ever before. And if they kept a high price tag and Funimation was dumb enough to waste money on that, then more power to them.

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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Gyt Kaliba » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:58 am

Has anyone ever asked any of the bands exactly how their music ended up in the films, come to think of it? There's no guarantee that they'd remember I suppose, but there's always the possibility.

Actually, if I remember right, aren't some of the songs no longer in the dub scores as of any re-releases since the Season Set era (so the Double Feature era for the films)? I think I remember people noting that some songs were still in place, while other ones were now gone. That would indicate either different deals in place between different bands or for certain songs, or them having to re-work the deals and some of them being too costly now or something, wouldn't it?
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by jjgp1112 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:56 am

Gyt Kaliba wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:58 am
Has anyone ever asked any of the bands exactly how their music ended up in the films, come to think of it? There's no guarantee that they'd remember I suppose, but there's always the possibility.

Actually, if I remember right, aren't some of the songs no longer in the dub scores as of any re-releases since the Season Set era (so the Double Feature era for the films)? I think I remember people noting that some songs were still in place, while other ones were now gone. That would indicate either different deals in place between different bands or for certain songs, or them having to re-work the deals and some of them being too costly now or something, wouldn't it?
All of the songs are still there for the Double Features, but much like with the season set Funi seemed to be using an older audio edit for then because while Movie 8 is exactly the same, the mixing and placement is slightly different in the others. Especially movie 5, which is butchered. The timing on almost every song is off, they abruptly cut off instead of fading out, and some cool effects like the underwater thing for the Disturbed song are absent.
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Gyt Kaliba » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:15 am

jjgp1112 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:56 am
All of the songs are still there for the Double Features, but much like with the season set Funi seemed to be using an older audio edit for then because while Movie 8 is exactly the same, the mixing and placement is slightly different in the others. Especially movie 5, which is butchered. The timing on almost every song is off, they abruptly cut off instead of fading out, and some cool effects like the underwater thing for the Disturbed song are absent.
Ohh, so that's what happened. I knew there was something different with those releases, specifically in regards to the songs, but I guess I incorrectly remembered exactly what it was.
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by Yuli Ban » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:26 pm

A good chunk of those bands were small fry anyway. We remember Disturbed, Pantera, Deftones, Dream Theatre, and Drowning Pool because those are mainstream metal/nü metal/alt-rock bands. Only Dragon Ball Z fans even know who I.O.N. is or that Dokodemo Doa, the Aleph, or Gravity Pool existed. Hell, just to research these bands to make sure I didn't look like a fool, I discovered that the Aleph for the Broly movie shares its name with another, also obscure, unrelated Italian band called 'Aleph' and that Haji's Kitchen, Gravity Pool, and I.O.N. were basically made of the same members in some form. In fact, I can almost applaud whoever was the soundtrack director for Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan, because they were a straight-up hipster considering some of these ultra-obscure acts. That, or these bands formed for the movie in the first place.
Couple the fact that FUNimation had some money to throw around thanks to the success of their anime properties as well as the popularity of nü metal & alternative metal at the time (which to this day still works best for AMVs for some uncanny reason), and you can see how they were able to get these acts.
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Re: How was FUNimation able to afford all that licensed band music back in the day?

Post by WittyUsername » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:28 am

I just remembered that the dub of the Bardock special had Superstar by Saliva playing at one point, and several months later, that exact song would be heard in the first Fast and Furious movie. That’s a little crazy.

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