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What Does a Jingle Writer Do?

A jingle writer creates catchy marketing music to help sell a product.
A jingle writer may record songs for a variety of television advertisements with the intention of catching the attention of an audience.
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  • Written By: Darlene Goodman
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2014
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Television and radio commercials usually include jingles, or catchy marketing music, to help sell a product or reinforce a brand name in the minds of consumers. A jingle writer typically composes, arranges, and sometimes records these songs for a variety of advertisements. For the most part, these musicians work with the client to create a jingle that reflects the company and catches the attention of the audience. They typically work as freelance writers.

Jingles are usually songs that use lyrics and melody to create or reinforce a brand. Companies who produce television or radio commercials often use jingles to make their sales message memorable to people. An advertising message that is set to music is potentially more easily remembered than straightforward advertising copy. If a consumer remembers the jingle, he or she will probably be familiar with the company and the product.

These songs are typically brief, and a jingle writer must cater to client demands and industry standards. Jingles written for television usually have time limits of 10, 15, or 30 seconds. For radio, jingle writers are generally allowed more time — between 30 and 60 seconds.

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A jingle writer usually tries to compose music that reflects the company, the product, or the potential market the company is trying to reach with its message. This often means that the musician must write the jingle in a style that serves the client, and not his or her personal creative sensibilities. For example, a store that sells Western wear will usually want to have a country western or bluegrass melody in its jingle, even if the musician prefers another style of music.

The client often has specific words or phrases that the jingle writer must include in any included lyrics. This predetermined content may include the company or product name, a special feature of the advertised product, or any key words, phrases, or slogans that create an emotional atmosphere around the product. For example, a jingle for a jewelry company may include a company slogan that elicits thoughts of love or beauty in a customer’s mind.

Those jingle writers who are just starting their careers typically work as freelancers, or on spec. This type of freelance writing generally means that the music writers bid on a project that a company has posted or requested in some way. Writing on spec usually means that musicians compose jingles and pitch these compositions without being asked by an advertiser.

An independent jingle writer typically owns his or her own jingle writing business. These composers may work as freelancers or with a roster of steady clients. They usually hire musicians to play various instruments and may also have their own recording studios.

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pleonasm
Post 4

@Fa5t3r - Actually, I suspect that becoming a jingle writer is really difficult. It's probably pretty well paid, even if it's not the heights that pop musicians get to and it's a far more steady job.

Jobs in advertising tend to be pretty well paid and I think this one would be fairly easy as well.

Fa5t3r
Post 3

@umbra21 - I'm sure jingle writing would suit some people, but I don't think it would be thought of as a dream job for many. If you love music, you probably don't want to have to stick to simple tunes intended to ensnare people rather than enlighten them.

And if you are really good at making pop music, then you'd make more money writing actual pop songs.

But then, I don't know how many people decide that what they want in life is to make advertising jingles. They probably end up in that kind of job after failing with other sorts of music.

umbra21
Post 2

This would be a pretty cool job. I mean, I'd say that there are quite a few jingles out there that are more well known than the most popular pop song, and a few of them were loved enough to be released as pop songs (I'm thinking of that Coke song that became a hit, but I'm sure there are others).

I guess the only bad part would be that I don't think you get to keep royalties. It's probably a flat fee and that's it.

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