You can scour the internet all day for tips on how to write music for advertisements, but are there really any proven methods? We think so! Of course part of the success recipe is the fundamental unrelenting, rigorous work ethic and learning your craft. There’s also the unquantifiable, such as possessing unique talent or a productive chemistry-packed collaboration. Let’s push those aside for a moment and talk solid, true tips.
1. Know your product
It’s important to know what you’re writing for. It may not make sense to have a heavily, dramatic orchestral score for a commercial about funeral home packages (unless that’s what the buyer is looking for of course). It sounds simple, but researching what you’re writing for provides valuable insight.
2. Don’t be specific
You can be unspecific without being generic. Having specific names, places and items will exponentially limit the ways your song can be used e.g. writing a song about sunny days may be more usable than a song about a girl named, Absinthia, who experimented with five different ways to use a potato peeler in Poland!
3. Write lyrics with purpose
- “On my way”
- “Coming home”
- “Places to go”
- “You’re the one”
- “Only one”
- “Love is shared”
- “Be yourself”
- “Stand out”
- “Tonight’s a good night to be different”
4. Select the right theme
These companies are trying to sell something. In general, happy music sells. Think bright, poppy, bouncy, energetic, hopeful, creative. Next time a Gap commercial comes on, have a listen to the tone with this in mind.
5. Select a common genre
There isn’t a genre that hasn’t been used in advertising, but some are used more than others. Here are some big ones: Pop, Pop/Rock, Alternative Rock, Folk, Rock.
6. Don’t overthink the title
Create simple titles that make sense. Titling your bright, pop hit “Blood Murder Heaven” is probably not the best way to catch a music supervisor’s eye.
7. Write to create emotion
It may be helpful to approach writing for an advertisement as you would a score. Rather than verse-chorus-bridge with a five minute guitar solo that has to be edited out, think more along the lines of build and resolve.
8. Invest in the quality
If you believe in your music, it’s worthwhile giving it that extra advantage by ensuring the end product is professional. Buyers almost always want and need quality productions, no matter how incredible or unique the song. So if you don’t have the equipment or expertise to do it yourself, make the investment in your career and get your music produced by a professional.