Alexandra Patsavas, the music supervisor on both films, was hired for “New Moon” in January but said in an interview this week that the pitches for the soundtrack started coming in even before then. And although the list of songs for “New Moon” is still being completed, music executives say they have already begun pushing to have their artists included in the third film, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” scheduled for release next June. “This is definitely a bright spot in an industry that can use some bright spots,” Ms. Patsavas said.
The major labels long viewed soundtracks as low-risk, high-reward vehicles for promoting mega-singles. And until that model was eroded in the early 2000s by the rise of single-track downloads, there was a steady stream of multiplatinum hits. “The Bodyguard,” from 1992, has sold 11.8 million copies. But along with recent films like “Juno,” “Twilight” has emerged as an example of a new approach: choosing songs that are entwined with a film’s narrative, and which appeal to viewers through emotional resonance rather than superstar familiarity. “There have always been amazing soundtracks, like ‘Flashdance’ and ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ where the music was attached to what the story was about,” said Livia Tortella, general manager and executive vice president of Atlantic Records, which is releasing the album on Oct. 20 with Ms. Patsavas’s label, Chop Shop. “Somewhere along the lines it became about a single tie-in opportunity and not about the film itself. It diluted things.”
One of the few exceptions to the recent sales trend for soundtracks is Disney , which has had multiplatinum hits with its “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana” franchises.
Ms. Patsavas, known for her work on television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Gossip Girl,” said she was confident that the “New Moon” soundtrack would include Thom Yorke, Bon Iver and Band of Skulls. Death Cab for Cutie’s “Meet Me on the Equinox,” the first single, had its premiere on MTV.com on Sunday, as part of a “Twilight” promotional blitz surrounding MTV’s Video Music Awards. There has been extensive speculation in the music industry all summer about who else would be included. Representatives of Grizzly Bear and the Killers said those groups would be on the soundtrack, but Ms. Patsavas declined to comment, saying that the track list would be completed and announced on Friday.
For bands placement in a “Twilight” film means huge potential sales and wide exposure. “If you’re an artist that’s successfully branded with a film as enormous as ‘Twilight,’ you get a lasting benefit beyond the movie and the soundtrack itself,” said James Diener, president of A&M/Octone Records. “You’re able to access marketing dollars that the film company has been spending beyond what a record company could or would spend.”
The first soundtrack had a loud, full-throttle sound in artists like Paramore and Linkin Park, but the songs on “New Moon” have a soft, melancholy touch. “This is a much more somber movie than ‘Twilight,’ ” Ms. Patsavas said. “There is a lot of love lost, so the artists that are going to make up the soundtrack reflect that longing — a lot of acoustic instruments, a lot of a cappella singing. This soundtrack definitely feels a bit more indie than the last one.”
Indie style is also important to the film’s marketing. To reach young people Atlantic and Summit Entertainment, the film’s studio, have made extensive plans with MySpace, iTunes and especially Hot Topic, the chain of clothing and pop-culture stores whose most loyal customer might be a teenage girl with a roomful of “Twilight” posters. Among the plans for the movie is a national tour of Hot Topic stores with artists from the soundtrack, Ms. Tortella said.
MTV has also been a key promotional outlet. Trailers for “New Moon” were shown at the MTV Movie Awards in May and on Sunday at the Video Music Awards, where the movie’s stars were ubiquitous. “Any time there is ‘Twilight’ news, the MTV audience just eats it up,” Ms. Tortella said. “Demographically it’s a really good fit.”
To attract and keep its audience, the “Twilight” team has employed a tactic that some marketers call “massclusive”: distributing a product on a mass scale but using the language of niche subcultures, and including plenty of special, so-called exclusive content. That gives fans an intimate connection no matter how huge the audience gets, said Alain Sylvain, a managing director at Redscout, a brand strategy firm in New York. “Words like exclusive, remix, edited, curated — all of these things add layers of depth to a story,” Mr. Sylvain said. “People are just consuming everything: the books, the movies, the soundtracks. ‘Twilight’ is a big, immersive narrative, and the soundtrack is playing a part in that story.”
All the music for “New Moon” is new, and Ms. Patsavas said some artists were shown scenes from the film as a guide. Chris Walla, a guitarist in Death Cab for Cutie, said that he had read two of the “Twilight” books when the band recorded “Meet Me on the Equinox,” in July, but that the lyrics, sung by Ben Gibbard, are more suggestive than literal. “It’s not so specific that it has to be tied to the film,” Mr. Walla said. “All of Ben’s lyrics have a universality about them. It’s not like the song is about Jacob turning into a werewolf.”
For Ms. Patsavas, the pitching was not limited to record labels. “I can’t tell you how many submissions and suggestions I get from fans who found my name out somehow,” she said. “They not only suggest their friends’ unknown bands but maybe their 50 favorite songs.”
“This property,” she added, “has really connected with people on a very emotional level.”