To sell Shadows of the Empire as the movie-without-a-movie, Lucasfilm even commissioned a full orchestral soundtrack from producer Robert Townson of Varèse Sarabande Records, a Lucasfilm veteran from the days of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television show. In the early '90s, Lucasfilm and and the music producer discussed the possibility of scoring Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy books as a way of promoting the Star Wars novels. When Shadows of the Empire took shape, Lucy Wilson told Townson to find a composer to score the the book, which Perry was still writing.
Joel McNeely landed the job, and instead of doing a straight rip-off of John Williams' Star Wars score, wrote almost 50 minutes of original material, including themes for Prince Xizor and Dash Rendar, recorded by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus and mastered at the Abbey Road Studios in London. The resulting soundtrack was released on April 23rd 1996, a week before the Shadows of the Empire novel, making it the first core release for the Shadows of the Empire project. Only portions of the McNeely score made it into the N64 game, which was released in December of that year, signaling the end of Shadows of the Empire's six-month "release."