“Dawson’s Creek” is set to stream on Netflix next month, and long-suffering fans will not be surprised to hear that the streaming version show will continue to exist without Paula Cole’s iconic theme song.
Cole’s”I Don’t Want to Wait” was the instantly memorable theme song across all six seasons of the WB teen drama, but the song was replaced for the home video and streaming release due to rights issues, much to the chagrin of fans who grew up watching the show’s original run.
Instead, newcomers to the series in the streaming era have been greeted by Canadian musician Jann Arden’s “Run Like Mad.” (The song was actually recorded as the original theme song for the show and was used as such in international markets where Sony didn’t have the rights to “I Don’t Want to Wait.”)
In a 2012 interview with the Huffington Post around the time of “Dawson’s” first streaming debut, executive producer Paul Stupin explained that it was low sales for the original DVD release that led Sony to use Arden’s song across all future releases as a cost-saving measure.
Sony owns exclusive rights to Arden’s song across all formats in perpetuity, whereas the company would have had to pay Cole and her label an additional fee to use “I Don’t Want to Wait.” As is the case with other pre-streaming era shows, a number of other changes had to be made to the music in “Dawson’s Creek” prior to its Netflix debut because of rights agreements.
Cole reflected on her song’s notoriety and its relationship to “Dawson’s Creek” in a 2018 essay also published in HuffPost. Cole described a messy split from her label, Warner Bros., and expressed disappointment at “being erased from the association with ‘Dawson’s Creek’ due to (what feels to me like) corporate greed.”
“Everyone keeps asking me, ‘Why won’t you let them have the song?’” she wrote. “Of course I would consider it! I’m right here! Come talk to me, Sony. Let’s negotiate! I’m an independent artist open for business! But I won’t give my music for free and I don’t think any artist should give their music for free unless it’s helping out another independent artist ― and then you renegotiate once the project is successful. I think giving one’s art for free to giant corporations hurts artists and musicians and society across the board.”
Dawson's Creek — one of television's most beloved coming-of-age stories — is coming to Netflix in The US on November 1
…and before you ask, the episodes won't have the original theme song (sorry) pic.twitter.com/f07QkbdFJY
— Netflix (@netflix) October 19, 2020