Every director knows that the score can make the scene. Anyone who’s ever watched a rough cut without soundtrack music can confirm this. Case in point: Something weird happens to the beloved throne room scene that ends the original 1977 Star Wars if you’re crazy enough to delete John Williams’ brassy music from it: Instead of a triumphal award ceremony, it becomes an awkward mime interrupted by sporadic coughing, an occasional strangled yell from the hairy humanoid alien Chewbacca, and tepid applause from a crowd of Rebel troopers.
Fans of the YouTube channel Auralnauts, which posted the doctored Star Wars scene in 2014 as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the emotional power of Williams’ score, loved it for that weirdness. But another set of viewers—those with the rights to the movie’s soundtrack—tuned in to these sounds of silence and heard something else: the ka-ching of a cash register.