Larry Groupé had no problem that Canadian figure-skater Kevin Reynolds used his music for the Olympics.
“My brother called me from back East.” says Groupé, Oceanside’s two-time Emmy-winning composer. “They got the Olympics three hours before us.”
Reynolds used a piece that spliced together four excerpts from Groupé’s 2009 soundtrack for Excelsius. That five-minute edit accompanied Reynolds toward a silver-medal win for his Free Skate routine.
“I’m thrilled. But you would think they would send a postcard or something saying, ‘Thanks for the music,’ just so I’d know it was on.” Of the original Excelsuis soundtrack, Groupé says, “It was a huge production we made with the London Philharmonic at the Abbey Road studios.”
Groupé has written music for TV and movie soundtracks like Commander in Chief, Straw Dogs, The Cable Guy, New Mission Impossible, and The Contender. His music has been used in Chevrolet TV ads and for promotional music used within Super Bowl XXII and for the A&E Network.
He reckons the February 9 Olympics surprise is probably his biggest exposure yet.
“After international rebroadcasts, some two billion people heard it. This is kind of like when I had music used on the Academy Awards.”
Groupé relies on BMI licensing to collect his performance royalties. He says BMI uses a “complicated map” to decide how much he might get from his Olympics exposure.
“I don’t expect a huge windfall. There are a number of factors, like how long the music was used, was it on prime time or at two in the morning, was it on a major network, how many viewers were watching, were there vocals involved? It’s a long accounting process. It will take [BMI] about ten months or so to sort it out.”
Groupé says he’s been getting songwriting royalties for 20 years.
“A composer like me lives and dies by this stuff. It determines my retirement,” says Groupé. “The royalties add up as years go by. Some years the royalties are great. Some years they are terrible. It’s a roller coaster.”
“I have a friend who did music for Dexter,” Groupé says. “If you are lucky enough to be on a hit TV show that is on for five seasons or more and then goes into reruns and multiple languages, you can pretty much stop working.”