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Why the original "Dawson’s Creek" theme song won’t be featured on Netflix

Netflix Life
By Sabrina Reed

The original Dawson’s Creek theme won’t be featured on Netflix

Dawson’s Creek is coming to Netflix on November 1, but if you’re expecting to bask in the nostalgic power of Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait,” you’ll be disappointed.

As Netflix made clear in the tweet announcing the cult classic’s upcoming release on their platform, the song won’t be featured in the opening credits.

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

Fans of Dawson’s Creek who own the DVD sets of the series know that “I Don’t Want to Wait” was replaced with Jann Arden’s “Run Like Mad” as the show’s theme. This is largely due to licensing. Executive producer Paul Stupin, in a 2012 interview with HuffPost, explained that Sony purchased rights to Arden’s song in perpetuity.

The purchase was made back when the pilot was being filmed and before they’d settled on a theme song for the show. They had no idea the impact Cole’s song would have on viewers.

According to the article, “The WB released a series of promos tied to pop songs. One featured Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait,” and Warner Bros. asked Stupin and co-creator Kevin Williamson if they’d consider Cole’s song for the theme.

As you know, the rest was history, but it’s not settled history. Sony had only secured the rights to “I Don’t Want to Wait” for its six season-long run. While the company paid to use the song for its 2003 release of seasons one and two, they decided to return to Arden’s “Run Like Mad” when sales of the sets weren’t as high as they would have liked.

For those curious about it, Paula Cole is open to sitting down with Sony to negotiate licensing rights to “I Don’t Want to Wait.” She told Huffpost in a 2018 interview:

Everyone keeps asking me, “Why won’t you let them have the song?” 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.

For better or worse, a part of Cole’s musical legacy is wrapped up in Dawson’s Creek. A song she wrote about generational pain and the effect her grandfather had on her father’s life is synonymous with one of the most iconic teen dramas that has ever graced television. And yet she’s been excluded from part of the show’s ongoing narrative.

Hopefully, Sony one day negotiates with Cole to reunite “I Don’t Want to Wait” with the opening credits of Dawson’s Creek. For those of us who remember the instant song recognition and rush to the television screen, it doesn’t feel right for the two to be separated.