What it's like to be a jingle composer



Sage advice from one of my college professors: “If you really love something, don’t do it for a living. You’ll grow to hate it.”


And there you have it. Many said that the internet was the death of music – a ridiculous notion that conflates recordings of music with music itself.

The internet did turn out to be the death of non-touring solo artists. Unless you can pack a small club with your singer/songwriter stylings (and even then) you are exceedingly unlikely to make any dollars.

I did write a jingle once for the company I work for. I got two days off with pay for that. I am a successful working musician!! I’d like to thank all the people who couldn’t be bothered to join my band or allow me into theirs.

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Depends a bit on how you approach it. I freelanced as a trade magazine editor for a number of years in my youth. One usually ends up writing a lot of the copy (as well as doing proofing and layout) in that kind of work, and that copy is pretty much on the same level as this chap’s jingles (especially when advertising, not paid circulation, is the magazine’s main source of income).

I chose to look at it as an exercise in working within constraints; that is, I strove to impart a certain artistry to the materials within those constraints. I think I succeeded often enough that my customers (and their customers) were happy enough with me. I did get into the habit of writing often, and I think the writing I did for myself was better for the discipline.

Now I’m semi-retired, and I can work on my own labour of love, which is composing music. I think I’m finally starting to reach a stage where I can say I know what I’m doing, but, do you know? I suspect I would have reached that stage much earlier had I been obliged to work to order.

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