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.
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.