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Archie Thompson lands song in The King of Staten Island

The quarantine aspect of 2020 works in favor of musicians licensing music to film and TV projects

Pre-pandemic, Archie Thompson “worked five or six or sometimes seven nights a week.”
Pre-pandemic, Archie Thompson “worked five or six or sometimes seven nights a week.”

If you are one of the millions of Americans whose couch and flatscreen have transformed into personal, makeshift AMC theaters, you may have already rented the Pete Davidson film, The King of Staten Island. Local musician Archie Thompson does not appear in the film, but he did land a song in it. His original “Just Wasn’t Meant To Be” is played in the background of a scene set in an Italian restaurant.

“I wrote a song for Whitney Shay for her album that I produced a few years back,” he explained. “It was called ‘Just When I Thought I Had Seen It All.’ We did well with that and placed it several times. My publisher said ‘Hey, write another song like that.’ That song is about finding that special someone — new love, new relationship, everything is rosy and there’s a rainbow up above. It was a cool early ’60s Motown type of thing. So I thought I would write the answer to that song which is ‘Just Wasn’t Meant To Be’ — which is when the relationship falls apart and the love is gone. I wrote that song in the same type of style with the female vocals and then I thought it would work well Sinatra style. So, I cut it again old school Sinatra crooner-style and had Dave Stanger come in and sing it. That’s actually the version that we placed.”

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The film was originally intended to be released in theaters in June, but the Coronavirus pandemic changed that. Instead, the film went to straight to video-on-demand where people could pay to rent it through streaming services. The shift in initial release is bound to benefit Thompson due to an archaic old-Hollywood business model that still exists to this day.

“That kind of works in my favor, because you don’t make royalties on domestic box-office,” Thompson explained. “The industry is trying to change that. It’s an old Hollywood rule that they’ve had forever. You make royalties on foreign box-office, but not domestic. So, the fact that it went straight to video-on-demand and that’s where people had to see it will be good for us on the back end.”

“It’s done quite well too, so it should be a nice little surprise next year when the royalties come through.”

The quarantine aspect of 2020 works in favor of musicians like Thompson who license music to different film and TV projects. “In about nine months, royalties are going to climb because everybody is stuck home watching television and watching Netflix,” he said. About one week into the lockdown, he got a nice win when he was asked to create a theme song for a new BET show called All The Way Black. He also landed songs in the recent FX series Mrs. America.

Besides all the licensing work, Thompson is probably one of the most steady-gigging musicians in this city. In fact, his recent COVID-enforced three-and-a-half-month break from local stages is the longest live performance drought that he has had in decades. “I have been married 26 years, but even longer than that I worked five or six or sometimes seven nights a week,” he said. He is also notable for being one of the few local musicians to have scored an actual live gig since March. He recently played a solo weekend residency at Truluck’s in UTC.

When it comes down to it, Thompson is happy that his career as a musician didn’t make him a one-trick pony. “For me, what I preach to musicians all the time is just don’t do one thing. Be diversified. Do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Diversity is saving me. It totally saved me through this.”

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Pre-pandemic, Archie Thompson “worked five or six or sometimes seven nights a week.”
Pre-pandemic, Archie Thompson “worked five or six or sometimes seven nights a week.”

If you are one of the millions of Americans whose couch and flatscreen have transformed into personal, makeshift AMC theaters, you may have already rented the Pete Davidson film, The King of Staten Island. Local musician Archie Thompson does not appear in the film, but he did land a song in it. His original “Just Wasn’t Meant To Be” is played in the background of a scene set in an Italian restaurant.

“I wrote a song for Whitney Shay for her album that I produced a few years back,” he explained. “It was called ‘Just When I Thought I Had Seen It All.’ We did well with that and placed it several times. My publisher said ‘Hey, write another song like that.’ That song is about finding that special someone — new love, new relationship, everything is rosy and there’s a rainbow up above. It was a cool early ’60s Motown type of thing. So I thought I would write the answer to that song which is ‘Just Wasn’t Meant To Be’ — which is when the relationship falls apart and the love is gone. I wrote that song in the same type of style with the female vocals and then I thought it would work well Sinatra style. So, I cut it again old school Sinatra crooner-style and had Dave Stanger come in and sing it. That’s actually the version that we placed.”

Sponsored
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The film was originally intended to be released in theaters in June, but the Coronavirus pandemic changed that. Instead, the film went to straight to video-on-demand where people could pay to rent it through streaming services. The shift in initial release is bound to benefit Thompson due to an archaic old-Hollywood business model that still exists to this day.

“That kind of works in my favor, because you don’t make royalties on domestic box-office,” Thompson explained. “The industry is trying to change that. It’s an old Hollywood rule that they’ve had forever. You make royalties on foreign box-office, but not domestic. So, the fact that it went straight to video-on-demand and that’s where people had to see it will be good for us on the back end.”

“It’s done quite well too, so it should be a nice little surprise next year when the royalties come through.”

The quarantine aspect of 2020 works in favor of musicians like Thompson who license music to different film and TV projects. “In about nine months, royalties are going to climb because everybody is stuck home watching television and watching Netflix,” he said. About one week into the lockdown, he got a nice win when he was asked to create a theme song for a new BET show called All The Way Black. He also landed songs in the recent FX series Mrs. America.

Besides all the licensing work, Thompson is probably one of the most steady-gigging musicians in this city. In fact, his recent COVID-enforced three-and-a-half-month break from local stages is the longest live performance drought that he has had in decades. “I have been married 26 years, but even longer than that I worked five or six or sometimes seven nights a week,” he said. He is also notable for being one of the few local musicians to have scored an actual live gig since March. He recently played a solo weekend residency at Truluck’s in UTC.

When it comes down to it, Thompson is happy that his career as a musician didn’t make him a one-trick pony. “For me, what I preach to musicians all the time is just don’t do one thing. Be diversified. Do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Diversity is saving me. It totally saved me through this.”

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