Innovative music deals are behind a new batch of series that could be game changers for the TV business. The New York Times reports that Amazon has a Bob Dylan-themed drama in the pipeline, while Netflix is developing two animated series drawing on the music of the Beatles and Motown.
The projects “all came about because of licensing deals that let the producers of the shows make unusually extensive use of valuable song catalogs,” the story reports.
Amazon’s hourlong Dylan project, “Time Out of Mind,” involves a deep level of music integration, with “characters and settings drawn from the lyrics of Mr. Dylan’s songs,” the report notes. Similarly, for the untitled Netflix Motown project, which will use the Jackson 5’s “ABC” as its theme, each episode will be built around a particular song from the Motown catalog.
Farther along in its development than either of those projects is the Netflix cartoon “Beat Bugs,” which premieres in August. The series “follows five young creatures on adventures set to classic Beatles songs like ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ — to be sung by Eddie Vedder, Sia and other pop stars — that are woven into the plot,” The Times reports. “For example, in one episode, a character is trapped under glass while the song ‘Help!’ plays.”
The report adds: “When producers approach music publishers or record labels for licensing rights, they usually seek permission for only a handful of songs. But the deals around these shows break new ground, music executives say, by securing rights to a large pool of songs that the producers can draw on.”