How To Write Songs For TV And Films

Posted by Aaron Davison on Sunday, December 2, 2012 Under: November 2012
Today let's consider what kind of songs get used in TV and Films and how you can write music that you will be able to license more easily.  First of all, there is an extremely wide variety of music that is used in TV and Films. Pretty much every conceivable genre of music is licensed for a wide variety of media. But with that said, there are some general parameters that if you adhere to will greatly increase the odds that your music being licensed, particularly in film and television.
This is one of those topics that makes some musicians cringe, the idea of changing or altering their music to sell it.  I know, because I'm one of those musicians! In the past I've been very reluctant to alter my music at all.  But over time I've learned that by loosening the grip on my art and taking constructive criticism from others with more objective ears I've been able to have more success in actually making money from my music.  If that's not part of your goal with your music you can disregard the rest of this email.  But...  if you're interested in learning how to make money from your songs keep reading.
Ok, you're still with me.  Let's put aside our egos for a second and consider the reality of why music gets licensed at all.  In TV and Films, music is used to enhance the scene the music is being used in.  That's it.  Music is used to create or evoke a certain mood that works within the context of the story being told. Music plays a supportive role in music licensing. Some types of songs do this better than others.
Here are some general guidelines to consider when writing music with the end goal of licensing your music in tv and films:
1)  Don't bore us, get to the chorus. This is something my publisher often says. Music that is written for TV and Films needs to be concise.  This isn't the best forum for grandiose statements or long drawn out intros.  Often times only a brief snippet of your song will be used, maybe 30 seconds or 60 seconds, depending on the scene.  Your music needs to work within a shorter time frame and needs to be able to grab people's attention quickly. Write songs that get to the point and have strong hooks and you will get a lot more of your songs placed.
2) Relationship songs are always in demand.  Since songs are used to support the story being told and since most stories are about or at least involve relationships, songs that are relationship oriented have a greater chance of being used.  Other themes work too and in some cases supervisors are looking for songs with very specific themes for specific scenes.  But in general, it's safe to assume that almost all stories will involve characters in relationships.  If your songs reflect this, you'll have a greater chance of your songs working in a broader range of situations. (This obviously only applies to vocal songs.)
3) The more mainstream the better.  For licensing your music that is.  Mainstream music is mainstream for a reason.  A lot of people connect with it.  If your music sounds really obscure, it won't appeal to as many possible supervisors, publishers, etc.. Often times supervisors are looking for "sound alike" songs.  Songs that sound like other well known artists.  If your music doesn't sound at all like anything else out there, that might be good from a creativity stand point, but you'll probably be limiting the chances for getting your music licensed if your music is too obscure.
Those are just a few points to consider.  There are many more that I cover in my program as outlined below.... 
Want a more in depth education on how to license your music in TV and Films? Based on my experience of working in the music licensing business for over ten years, I have put together a one of a kind program called  The A-Z Of Music Licensing  that covers, in detail, how to get started in the business of music licensing.  This program is the most comprehensive product available on the business of music licensing, period. You simply won't find a more thorough and in depth program on the topic of music licensing. It explains in detail everything you need to know to get started in the business of licensing your music. I walk you through the exact steps I took to license my music and I show you how you can do the same.The program contains both an audio portion (ipod compatible) that explains how to license your music, several audio interviews with leading industry insiders, a directory of contact information for the music licensing industry that is accessible immediately as a PDF file, and much more. The whole program is available immediately when you check out.
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I also offer The A To Z Of Music Licensing bundled with coaching via phone and email. After you review the program we'll schedule a one on one phone consultation to address any specific questions and issues you have.  For more info visit

Deadline For Mentorship Program Submissions Is Today
Today is the last day to apply for my upcoming 60 day long mentorship program.  I'm looking for just five people to work with one on one for 60 days to help with getting their music licensed in tv and films.   If you're interested in participating plesase fill out the application here: 

In : November 2012 

Tags: music for tv and films 
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