The State’s Music Licensing Problem

Why did a DVD collection of The State take forever to release?

One of the factors that delayed the release of the series was that the troupe used many popular songs as background music in the original broadcast versions of nearly every episode. The State was produced during a period when MTV had deals with various record labels, via which the network could easily use many songs that had a video aired on the network in their original programming without having to pay royalties to the labels; The State used popular music as the background music for countless sketches, utilizing hits like The Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, The Breeders’ “Cannonball”, Liz Phair’s “Supernova” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”. Due to the large royalty fees each company would likely demand, the soundtrack as originally aired would have cost many times the amount that video sales would recoup, so The State was forced to re-record much of the backing music with different, sometimes sound-alike, songs.