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Home Version Soundtrack Replacement
Sometimes, movies or television shows only have limited rights to the songs they plan to use for their film or broadcast. Thus, you'll hear it in its initial broadcast/theatrical release, And It Is Good. However, come the home broadcast release, they have to change it. As such, it's replaced with a Suspiciously Similar Song, or perhaps a cover version of the song, or on some occasions, a completely different song altogether.

Occasionally, this even happens when the song is being covered, for very much the same reasons. Perhaps they change the song, depending on what suits the editors best.

Sometimes, if one of your favorite shows is experiencing massive delays in being released, it's because they're trying to get the music rights cleared. (Freaks and Geeks comes to mind.)

Please note that this trope isn't intended to cover (no pun intended) Real Song Theme Tunes, which while they may set the mood for the show, are (at least usually) not inserted into the work itself. It also does not cover instances where the song was retained but with Bowdlerised lyrics.

Can often result in Clumsy Copyright Censorship, though occasionally this can be done fairly gracefully. Sometimes you need to Keep Circulating the Tapes in order to get the version as broadcast.note 


Examples:

Anime
  • Vandread's original broadcast used the original Louis Armstrong version of "What a Wonderful World" at the end of one episode, as a callback to a music box from an earlier scene. In its subsequent DVD release, they changed it to a cover version. For the English track, they came up with a completely different song, and changed the music box to match up with the new song.
  • BECK has a similar predicament, in which a cover of The Beatles' "I've Got a Feeling" features in the climax of the anime. The home distribution version keeps the backing tracks the same, but the lyrics change to something completely different. The English track changes it even further, using the lyrics of another in-universe song.
  • Due to half of Kenji Yamamoto's score consisting of plagiarism, this has been invoked upon Dragon Ball Kai where the score has been replaced with music tracks which were composed 20 years ago for the original Dragon Ball Z. This affected all international releases as well.
    • The American version of Dragon Ball Z's replacement score has mostly been retained over the years, however since the movies feature songs from various alternative bands, this has been an issue. The History of Trunks had some songs replaced for its Toonami broadcast as a result of FUNimation losing the rights to use them, and it also resulted in the second half of the credits playing silent. The remastered DVD took this further and replaced the music for the entire credits sequence with the generic ending theme, which met with frustration from fans, since the first credit song was popular with viewers, and that it was still in the film as an insert song. Bardock - The Father of Goku's credit songs were retained, but both were replaced for the Nicktoons broadcast with a generic piece of insert music. A single release of both specials omitted the American soundtrack entirely since FUNimation had lost the rights to so many of the songs.
  • One of One Piece's ending themes was removed from the US FUNimation version due to licensing issues and replaced with the ending that followed it on both the DVD and simulcast. In this case, the actual animation was replaced as well.
  • Eden of the East's American release only kept Falling Down from Oasis as the opening theme for episode 1, but used a replacement J-Pop song (provided by the Japanese producers) for the remainder of the series. This was due to FUNimation having to pay royalties every time the song appeared on the disc, and was only willing to pay to use it once.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth's English release only featured covers of one opening and one ending respectively due to the price of paying licenses to cover the rest.
  • The English dub of Monster replaces The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" with a generic instrumental in The Baby's introduction, removing the subtle joke that the neo-Nazi is a fan of a multi-racial group. Again the source of this is the Japanese company over music distribution, so VIZ had to compensate for the missing tracks.
  • In a quite odd edit, the home release versions of Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid changed some of the music from the broadcast version, including removing an instance of the opening theme being used as an insert song in episode 13, replacing it with generic battle music instead.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam lost its theme songs for its US release, replacing them with standard BGMs played over the same opening animation. This is because Neil Sedaka composed the songs, and thus his family has been holding out on the rights; this is the same reason Super Robot Wars hasn't used either of the openings as Zeta's battle theme in years.
  • K-On!'s infamous OST switch for "Tsubasa wo Kudasai".
  • An episode of GunBuster had one song remove and replaced because it sounded too much like "Chariots of Fire".
  • The Skull Man had its original opening, "Hikari no Machi", partially replaced for Japanese home video, and completely replaced for English release.

Film
  • Wayne's World: "No Stairway? Denied!" makes a lot more sense when you consider that the original theatrical release had Wayne play the first five notes of "Stairway to Heaven" before the guitar shop owner cuts him off. Some releases changed it to the first two notes; most releases nowadays have a generic riff.
  • The Big Fix includes a lovely scene with Richard Dreyfuss preparing for a date, with Leon Redbone's "I Wanna Be Seduced" as the BGM. Sadly, for the VHS release the song had to be replaced with generic instrumental music. Fans assiduously record the movie every time it shows up on TCM, while holding out hope for a DVD release.
  • A rare non-musical example: The voice of the narrator/father was provided in the original TV screening of The Point by Dustin Hoffman, but for contractual reasons was been redubbed by Ringo Starr for the home video release, as well as by Alan Thicke for later cable re-broadcast.
    • In fact, Hoffman was redubbed by Alan Barzman after the first screening
  • On the VHS release of A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, tracked-in music from Christopher Young's score replaces Bing Crosby's version of "Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?" over the end credits.
  • The scene in Love at First Bite where Dracula and Cindy dance was originally set to the highly-appropriate Alicia Bridges song "I Love The Nightlife". In home-video releases this is replaced with a generic disco tune.
  • Where The Buffalo Roam had its music infamously replaced with generic '80s music on most home video releases. The only known exception is the original VHS and Betamax release.

Live-Action TV
  • This is common for low budget releases of series where a few episodes accidentally went into the public domain, such as The Beverly Hillbillies. The music may not have gone into the public domain and has to be replaced.
  • Friday Night Lights had a good number of its songs from the broadcast version replaced with other songs that convey similar moods (when necessary) on the DVD and iTunes releases. One of the more notable changes is at the end of "A Sort of Homecoming," where Jose Gonzalez's cover of "Teardrop" is replaced with a Suspiciously Similar Song; usually, though, the replacements are fairly effectively blended in.
  • For all eight seasons, Charmed's theme song was Love Spit Love's cover of The Smiths' "How Soon is Now?" However, before the Season 8 DVDs came out, the song's license expired. The producer were unable to get the license back, so as a result, on the DVDs the opening was replaced by a generic hard-rock instrumental theme.
  • How I Met Your Mother was also met with similar music licensing problems, leading to Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping" being replaced on a 90's high-school mix with a generic-sounding song.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati, because of the expiration of all the license agreements regarding music, also had a significant number of songs cut (keep in mind this is a television show about a radio station). The syndicated version also replaces a fair amount of its music.
  • Northern Exposure, for similar reasons, had its soundtrack replaced. Because both this and WKRP in Cincinnati involve DJs at radio stations playing commercial music appropriate to the situation or character, a lot of the original intent is lost in the home release version.
  • The State, a sketch comedy show that took advantage of MTV's music licensing opportunities, had its music replaced on its DVD release. This is prevalent with MTV, which has licensing deals with record companies allowing them to use music freely as it counts as advertising, but doesn't have those rights carry over to video releases. (See Daria under Western Animation.)
  • The second, third, and fourth seasons' Quantum Leap Region 1 DVDs were stripped of all licensed music not explicitly mentioned in dialogue, even when it left characters dancing the Twist, shouting "TEQUILA!" in unison, and mouthing the words to "Louie Louie" for no apparent reason. The most notable omission was the Ray Charles cover of "Georgia On My Mind," used repeatedly in the show to underscore the bigger Tear Jerker moments. After a vociferous outcry, the final season set was spared from any music cuts.
  • Has happened a few times with old Doctor Who that used contemporary popular music:
    • One of the first scenes of The Chase has the Doctor and his companions watching footage of The Beatles on the newly-acquired Time-Space Visualizer. The BBC released this serial on DVD in 2010, but has announced that outside of Region 2, the original footage will be replaced, as the BBC's license to use the footage does not extend outside the UK.
    • The Evil of the Daleks had the Beatles' "Paperback Writer" playing in a bar. On the narrated cassette release (the story has been lost, but the soundtrack survives), the whole scene was deleted. The scene was retained on the CD release, with "Paperback Writer" replaced by a generic tune that would fit the coffee bar atmosphere.
    • Spearhead from Space featured a Fleetwood Mac track that was edited out of the 1988 VHS and 2001 DVD releases. The license was subsequently renegotiated, allowing the track to appear on the 2011 DVD release.
    • Revelation of the Daleks was one of the last serials to be released on video because of the time it took to secure the rights to the music. Because the music is so integral to the plot and often featured characters talking over the top of it, it could not easily be replaced. Ultimately the only track the BBC could not secure the rights to was Jimi Hendrix's "Fire". This track had to be carefully digitally excised and replaced without losing the dialogue occurring over the top of it.
    • Averted with the Nothing But Hits soundtrack of Delta and the Bannermen, in as much as they used newly-recorded cover versions in the original broadcast to keep the licensing costs within reach, and no changes were required for the home video version.
  • Red Dwarf only had permission to use Copacabana on the initial broadcast of the episode "Terrorform". All other broadcasts and releases use a Suspiciously Similar Song.
  • The original BBC DVD release of The Young Ones Series 2 omitted the cover version of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" from the episode "Money", along with a lot of visual gags seen while the song was playing. Fortunately the song was restored in the later complete box set version.
  • The Odd Couple DVDs have quite a few scenes and jokes cut out entirely due to the use of copyrighted music.
  • 21 Jump Street suffers from this. While the licensed music wasn't the whole draw of the show, it was an important part of the atmosphere, and lyrics were often used to communicate plot, which makes chunks of some DVD episodes make very little sense now that they're backed by nothing but elevator music.
  • An episode of Profiler, "I'll Be Watching You", made such prominent use of The Police song "Every Breath You Take" that the entire episode was left off the DVD release.
  • Non-original copyrighted music was used exactly once in Star Trek: The Original Series ("Goodnight, Sweetheart" in "The City on the Edge of Forever"), and was replaced with a sound-alike on the VHS releases. The rights were obtained for the DVD releases.
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?
    • The episode "The Tale of the Prom Queen" originally had "In The Still of the Night" by The Five Satins played during the final scene, but it was removed in the DVD release.
    • In "The Tale of C7", the C7 tune was originally "Save The Last Dance for Me", but it too was replaced with generic music on the DVD.
  • In Living Color!'s DVD releases have a lot of sketches either edited to remove song references or entire music video parodies (often serving as the show's cold opening) removed.
  • The videos for Newton's Apple replaced Kraftwerk's "Ruckzuck" with a Suspiciously Similar Song.
  • Trigger Happy TV, which frequently used licensed alternative-rock tunes as background music, averted this in its Region 2 DVD release, which left the soundtrack entirely intact. North America, however, was not so lucky; this is why there is no official Region 1 DVD, as well as why North American rebroadcasts replaced the music with instrumental soundalikes.
  • This didn't affect Buffy the Vampire Slayer too badly, despite the large amount of licensed music, because it was made after the home-video age began. However, a track by The Sisters Of Mercy was removed from the episode "Lie to Me" for repeat broadcast and home video for unclear reasons, which may have been due to either licensing or to the group finding out about the episode's derogatory attitude to goth culture...
  • On the DVD copy of Takin' Over the Asylum, cover versions of Beatles tracks finishing up episodes have been tracked in. Took something like 20 years to get to DVD.
  • The DVD release of The George Lopez Show couldn't use the song "Low Rider" for the theme song, so a whole new theme was used.
  • Any time insert songs were used in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, about half of them were replaced for the show's DVD releases with generic music. These edits went into the reruns on Nickelodeon, The N/TeenNick, ABC Family, and The Hub.
  • Skins, most notably Bob Dylan's Wigwam on fourth episode, replaced by a generic track.
  • For the season 2 DVD release of "Happy Days", 95% of the licensed music was replaced. Even the theme song, Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets, was replaced with a slightly extended version of the seasons 3-10 theme. Fortunately, season 1, 3, and 4 have their licensed music intact.

Pinball

Radio

Video Games
  • Crazy Taxi's PC, PSN and XBLA adaptations lack the tracks from Bad Religion and The Offspring that the arcade/GameCube/Dreamcast editions had; the PC edition has tracks from other punk bands while the PSN and XBLA versions use original scoring. The 2012 iOS/2013 Android releases resecured the rights to these songs, though (But plays the full versions of the songs).
  • The Parodius Compilation Re-release for the PSP changed the first stage music of Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius from "That's The Way I Like It" to a different song. The same thing was also done for "In the Mood" and "Mambo No. 5" in Gokujou Parodius.
  • The version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game included with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus did not have the Title Theme Tune from the 1987 cartoon, which most of the game's soundtrack was based on.
  • Many classic Arcade Games from the early 1980s that originally used Real Song Theme Tunes have had their themes altered upon rerelease. These include Frogger, Track And Field, Pengo, Rainbow Islands, Vanguard and Wizard Of Wor.
    • Averted with the Mega Drive ports of Frogger and Rainbow Islands.
  • The Superman Licensed Game for the Nintendo Entertainment System used the Superman movie themes in the Japanese version, but the U.S. version had a different soundtrack taken from the Famicom RPG Indra no Hikari.
  • The Sega Genesis version of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker originally had "Thriller" as the dance special theme in the third stage (it was never a stage theme in any version of the game), but later replaced it with "Another Part of Me" (which is also the stage theme).
  • The Midway Arcade Treasures 3 version of San Francisco Rush: The Rock had the arcade soundtrack replaced with Suspiciously Similar Songs. The N64 version of Rush 2049 had a completely new soundtrack, with some of its songs carrying over to the Dreamcast and MAT 3 versions, which otherwise retained the original arcade soundtrack.
  • The Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection (containing the original Budokai and Budokai 3) replaced all the music due to issues with the composer (see Dragon Ball Kai above). This causes outrage among game enthusiasts and folks who grew up with the original games who didn't know why the music was replaced.
  • The American versions of several Gundam games, including Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Never-Ending Tomorrow and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, removes the songs from the anime and replaces them with generic tracks composed exclusively for other games like Zeonic Front. This seems to have been done on purpose by Bandai as a cost-saving measure, since it started happening around the time the anime market started dropping off in the West.

Western Animation
  • Similar to The State and WKRP in Cincinnati examples above, Daria (also on MTV) had most of its music replaced with a Suspiciously Similar Song.
  • The Drawn Together episode "Dirty Pranking No. 2", does a Dirty Dancing parody and uses "(I've Had) the Time of My Life" as part of that parody. Reportedly, the songwriter was infuriated at seeing his song used in this fashion and refused to negotiate video rights to it. The DVD version of the episode replaces it with an original song making fun of the situation.
  • The The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Kootie Pie Rocks" featured guest stars Milli Vanilli singing "Blame It On The Rain" and "Girl You Know It's True" in the original broadcast version. This was changed to a generic rock riff (an instrumental of the Captain N: The Game Master song "Mega Move") for re-runs and the home video version. The fact that Milli Vanilli's lips don't match the music created a Hilarious in Hindsight moment when the singers were caught lip syncing, ending their career.
    • Even though they were all covers and not performed by the original artists, several episodes of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show featured segments with licensed music, all of which were removed from later broadcasts and all DVD releases of the show.
  • The DVD boxsets of Rocky and Bullwinkle replace all the theme music (pretty much the only music in the show) with songs from Season 2 for all five seasons. According to the creator's daughter, it was because it was the music he preferred for the show, and because they were trying to keep the show consistent.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks goes through this from time to time, and it has actually become something of a big issue as far as DVD releases of the series are concerned (despite it being a musical comedy). A few episodes that have been released have had copyrighted songs replaced with poorly-dubbed recordings of original Chipmunk songs (for example, "Love Potion No. 9" is replaced in one episode with "Witch Doctor"), meanwhile, there are several episodes that feature songs by Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and others that can't be released without being replaced entirely. Some episodes have managed to keep the songs intact, however.

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