‘Treme’ soundtrack, iTunes videos in the works

Senior Television Writer
06.18.10 15 Comments

HBO/Paul Schiraldi

The terrific 90-minute “Treme” finale airs Sunday night at 10 on HBO. I’ll have a review up after it ends, as well as a long interview with “Treme” co-creator David Simon.

One of the things Simon and I discussed was plans for a “Treme” soundtrack album – which seems a natural, given that the show is about the jazz scene in New Orleans and features nearly as much music per episode as “Glee.” More details after the jump…

“The soundtrack has been signed up and should be out before season two,” Simon told me. “It’s not certain, but right now they’re looking to time it with the season one DVD release.”

The soundtrack will be a mix of pre-recorded songs featured during various montages and over the closing credits and ones that characters on the show perform within the context of scenes.

“It’ll probably have key performances, but not all,” said Simon. “We’re still going over the track list, how many tracks, and how to keep the price point down.”

One of the in-character performances he’s fighting to get in is the version of “Shame, Shame, Shame” that Steve Zahn’s character Davis records as part of a satirical campaign for city council. Though only about a minute of the performance appeared on the show, they wrote and produced an entire new version of the song that Simon wants people to hear.

“There’s actually a second verse that we edited out, which involved Barbara Bush and the Astrodome, with Zahn doing a Barbara Bush voice and then doing George W. talking to his mother. We cut out that monologue and second verse just for time on the episode, but the full version will be available, I hope, on the soundtrack.”

And because the producers tried to keep most performances on the show around that minute mark (we’ll go deeper into the reasons why on Sunday night), Simon wants fans to be able to see longer versions of other songs. So the production is also working to put full-length videos of several “Treme” performances up on iTunes.

“We videotaped about 10 performances in totality and shot them and edited them together. We’re hoping to put those out on iTunes. We’re negotiating right now as a separate download. One per episode to start. If there’s demand for it, if it pleases people, we’ll probably for second season have them up on iTunes (immediately). You watch an episode, you get a minute of music, and if you want the whole song, we’ll have it for you.

“It was something we did on limited resources this time,” he added, “but we managed to get it done. Those two things are separate initiatives. Nobody knows what kind of market there is for that kind of video. But a lot of New Orleans music is very visual.”

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