An Introduction to Writing Songs for Film and Television by Aaron Davison
My name is Aaron Davison. I’ve been writing songs for over fifteen years. I attended Berklee College of Music in the mid-1990s where I majored in Songwriting. It was during my time at Berklee that I was first introduced to the concept of writing songs for film and television as a career. Although at the time I was mildly intrigued by the possibility of this career path, it wasn’t until eight years later that I decided to seriously entertain the idea. At this point, I had played in a variety of bands and had still yet to achieve my elusive goal of becoming a rock star.
One day while surfing the Internet I came across an article about a Berklee Alumnus who made a living writing songs for Film and Television. This article inspired me to make a serious effort to pursue the craft of writing music for Film and Television. I realized that during all the time I had spent chasing my dreams of rock and roll stardom I had passed over many more attainable goals that could have helped me make a living doing what I love to do most, playing music. I also realized that accomplishing these goals would probably actually get me closer to where I wanted to be. Within six months of reading the article, I had signed my first licensing deal with a publisher.
The first time I heard my music on Television was truly one of the most exciting moments of my life! After years of writing songs, taking guitar lessons and playing in bands, my music had, in an instant, been heard all over the world. It’s hard to explain just how thrilling it is to see something you’ve invested so much hard work and passion in pay off. And besides the emotional high of hearing my music on Television, I was also thrilled when a few months later I received a check from ASCAP for over $800.00 – for 55 seconds of airtime! This was in addition to the $500.00 I received upfront for half of the licensing fee.
Like I said, I didn’t really start out with the goal of writing music for Film and Television, but I’ve always had the goal of getting my music heard and getting paid for it. Thanks to many different placements over the last few years, I’ve been able to accomplish both of these goals.
Why Your Music Is Needed
If you’ve never paid attention to the background music used on television shows before, start listening! Music is a huge part of both TV shows and Films. It’s used to enhance scenes and storylines. It’s easy to ignore if you’re not actively listening for it – even as a musician. But it’s everywhere. Commercials, TV Shows, Video Games, Films, Websites and other mediums all use music as an important part of their presentation.
Much of the music that is used comes from independent musicians. Songwriters like you. The reason for this is that well-known songs come with hefty licensing fees. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to license a well-known song. This is why many music supervisors turn to independent music as a cost-effective way to use music in their productions. Depending on the production and budget, independent music is often used in lieu of “hit” songs. This provides a great opportunity for the independent musician looking to get started in the music industry. Think of it as the “minor leagues” of the music industry.
Want to learn more about how to license your music in TV and Films? Visit my website for a free ebook and video about how to get your music on TV and Films: