Written by Audio, Music

YouTube Music and Missing Songs

Promising Young Woman

This weekend Promising Young Woman finally arrived in the UK, courtesy of Sky Movies.

Coming laden with awards and award nominations, and written and directed by Emerald Fennell, who previously took over season two of Killing Eve, I’d been looking forward to it ever since I first saw a clip several months ago.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that it’s absolutely fantastic and you should definitely watch it.

[Sidenote: Somehow I’ve never quite gotten around to cancelling my Sky Movies subscription, although for the most part, it would be cheaper if I rented every film I see on the service. In recent months, as last year’s “Hollywood” fare dries up, they’ve doubled down on originals. Somehow, Promising Young Woman counts as one of these. It’s certainly a step above the quality they’ve had so far.]

One of the things I’ve loved about Killing Eve (even if season three did go off the rails a bit) is its music choices, which are brilliant, and features either artists I already knew (The Unloved) or introduced me to (Jane Flock). Promising Young Woman also has fantastic music. There’s a terrific original score by Anthony Willis, the highlight of which must surely be the brilliant reworking of Britney Spears’ Toxic. Then there’s the soundtrack that collects together the songs from the film. These two soundtracks have actually been separately released, although note that the version of Toxic is actually on the more mainstream soundtrack that mostly includes songs.

Anyway, I’m a YouTube Music subscriber, so naturally I first went there to listen to the soundtrack. It’s there, but there are a couple of obvious tracks missing.

A remix of Charli XCX’s Boys, which powerfully opens the film as we see men dancing in a bar, and Paris Hilton’s Stars Are Blind which we hear in pharmacy, are both unavailable for unclear reasons.

The thing is that both these songs are available elsewhere on YouTube Music, just not in the context of this soundtrack.

If you pop over to Spotify however, all the tracks are there intact!

This isn’t a problem unique to the Promising Young Woman soundtrack. It’s pretty common with film soundtracks that are made up of other songs. An obvious example is Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood soundtrack. That has multiple missing tracks – not all of which are shown here.

Again, Spotify’s version is intact.

Now to be fair, plenty of other soundtracks are there in full. And sometimes, albums are completely missing from YouTube Music and Spotify. For example, you won’t find official “Awesome Mix” compilations from either of the two Guardians of the Galaxy films, despite the albums both still being in print and available to buy digitally.

Of course fans sometimes step in, and you will find numerous user-created playlists filling the gap, often adding additional music that didn’t make it to any official release, but played in the film. But occasionally they choose “bad” versions, live versions or video versions with inferior or even different soundtracks. You have to be careful. (Sometimes users do take it upon themselves to add additional tracks that weren’t in the film at all, but they felt like adding anyway).

I assume that this is all some kind of rights issue, although with examples like Promising Young Woman where the missing tracks are there, just not in the context of the soundtrack album, it’s just unfathomable and frustrating as a user.

I certainly wish that YouTube Music would at least match the job that Spotify manages.

Of course, being the kind of person I am, I went out and bought a CD of the Promising Young Woman soundtrack. I can upload that to YouTube Music, keep a copy locally and file away the original CD meaning that I will always have access to everything on the soundtrack.