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“Writing for commercials is supervisor up-and-down and also unpredictable,” states Jingle Writer Cheryl B. Engelhardt, that is likewise a Singer-Songwriter, and also music sector Consultant and also Speaker. “You’re type of waiting for the phone come ring and also the other work are points I feel a bit an ext control over. In regards to my workflow, I’m constantly creating contents to key for license or writing music.

“That’s the ingredient I’m greatly working on, but when I acquire a call for one ad, the turn roughly time is yes, really quick. They’ll require it in a few days and also it’ll waiting in a couple of weeks. I have tendency to do my schedule work-related so when an advertisement comes in I can drop everything and also work ~ above it. The potential because that money is so lot bigger v commercials — if they end up airing it.”

“I’m ~ above the call list for numerous music houses,” she says, describing the process of landing a jingle-writing gig. “What happens is a company like Nike or Coke or something will certainly hire an company to carry out their entirety campaign. (The firm will sometimes have civilization in-house or hire out everything.)

“The company will contact a music home with in-house Composers and a perform of freelancers they’ll speak to if they have a backlog of jobs in-house, are too busy or the the layout they know a freelancer have the right to do yes, really well. They’ll email me and also say ‘we have this job.’

“About 50% of the time they have a rough modify of the commercial and also will to speak ‘here’s what that looks like’ and other times they’ll it is in trying to get an idea or gain music an initial in which case I don’t have actually any snapshot to look at.

“The an initial part that the procedure is they call me and also they either send me the video or they don’t — either way they’ll send me a short that usually originates from the customer with what they’re looking for.

“Sometimes it’s really specific and they’ll to speak ‘we want it come sound favor a cross in between this Justin Timberlake song and also this Katy Perry song,’ occasionally they’ll simply say ‘upbeat and also light,’ or they’ll send in lyrics and I need to work those in. (But most of the time lyrics method you need a Singer and also then you’ll need to get the union involved, so most of the time world avoid that.)

“I’ll obtain a an imaginative brief the tells me exactly how long that going to it is in or if there is anything certain I have to hit: if this sound drops out when the logo appears, or if there’s a specific mood, or if they desire the transition to happen about this part or any type of notes castle have. That gets put into the brief.

“Music residences will phone call me as soon as they’re planning to current to the firm so I’ll require to acquire my music to the music home ahead the time therefore they can give me any type of feedback. So it’s a totality chain: client, music house, agency, Composer.

“When I compose I am fairly prolific so ns usually end up presenting two alternatives or 2 versions of one option. I discovered the more options ns present, the more likely I success a spot, either due to the fact that they acquire it stuck in their head since there space two various versions the the song or since they’ve heard the so much.

Sometimes the client will have actually feedback and we’ll make part changes and ideally, they’ll speak ‘Great! This will go to air.’”


The typical salary for Jingle authors is approximately $57,000. The salary range for jingle Runners operation from $36,000 come $89,000.

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“If that goes to air usually you’ll get an upfront fee and also that will count on your deal with the agency. It’s usually five to ten percent of the advertising budget. I’ve obtained paid everywhere from $500 to $15,000. You acquire backend royalties, depending on how much the ad gets used on air,” Engelhardt says.

Even though the agency should file all the crucial paperwork, to it is in safe, she adds, “you need to be signed up through a performing rights organization like ASCAP, BMI or SESAC and also let them know you have a advertising airing. They’ll send friend a kind to make sure it go through. You’ll get paid based on how regularly it plays, what time of day, whether it’s cable or network.

“If you got a Producer or a performer line on the contract you’ll get something indigenous the regional union, too. It’s commonly a pair hundred dollars a month yet that to add up and also that i do not care passive income; you’ve currently done the work and also you’re still getting paid.”

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“I have actually no collection schedule,” Engelhardt says. “I have actually an write-up on my blog, life on Gigging; it’s referred to as “A day in the Life of a Music Maker” and also it goes v a typical busy day.

“I don’t have actually busy job every week. The days have the right to be random. Part days i sleep in and also go to the bank and walk mine dog and also feel like I’m twiddling mine thumbs due to the fact that I simply finished a substantial project critical week. On some days I’m functioning ten hours straight, working to midnight and getting ear fatigue since I’m listening to the same thing over and also over again. It’s yes, really varied.”


For solder Writers, advancement comes through working with much more prestigious music houses and landing writing gigs with huge name brands. In turn, this method more money for the jingle Writer and also a far better chance of being referred to as up because that the company’s next commercial.

For one aspiring solder Writer come land his or her an initial paying job, Engelhardt says, “They require a reel. The other way to do it is to begin as one Intern or Assistant in ~ a music house. I got my start in a video edit home that go commercials and also through them, I got to meet the music houses.

“There are other means to acquire in that could take longer, yet the benefit is you gain to see exactly how the market works rather of sitting at residence trying to key from nowhere. It i will not ~ be a destructive idea to acquire a summer task or internship in ~ an advertisement house or music residence to see just how things work.”

“Do some serious research study on that you desire to work for. Start to watch TV and also listen come the advertising music and the type of music the is playing. If you check out an ad that you’re choose ‘I can write that sort of music,’ work-related backward. If it’s Nike discover out the ad agency because that the commercial.On iSpot you have the right to look up any kind of commercial, who developed it, what ad agency was behind it, i m sorry music house. Discover commercials and brands who are using music prefer the kind you want to write and start contacting them.Be ready. Producing a reel can take a pair of months, however have a reel all set to go and also know what you’re questioning for.If your reel no ready, start an Excel spreadsheet with contacts for music houses, ad agencies. Etc. Because that example, some music homes are really great with hip-hop and rap and also if you’re an orchestral human you’re no going to desire to reach the end to them. Don’t simply go approximately contacting everyone. That would be obnoxious. Nothing be obnoxious.”

In addition to the ability to record your very own work, Engelhardt states “social an abilities are definitely important. It’s easy for musician to be prefer ‘I’m a loner. I just want to make music.’ however if you want to make a living turn off this you need to treat it like it’s a business. You have to fulfill people. That a partnership industry. Placed the azer Composer in the closet and also bring the end the social person just because that a minute.”

Jingle authors are often freelancers, which method they need to hustle to gain work. They should be flexible, maybe to take feedback from ad agencies and also clients, and also curious about the declaring industry. Due to the fact that the process moves easily from getting a creative brief indigenous the music home to sending out in the perfect product, they have to be driven, determined and adaptable to suddenly schedule changes.


Jingle authors must have actually a heavy background in writing music; Composition and Songwriting degree programs will administer many of the important skills. Follow to Engelhardt, recording and also entrepreneurial an abilities are additionally integral.

She says, “I think that really an important to develop your own tracks that sound well-mixed. I’m no saying you need to be a production major, however definitely take some courses to obtain your chops increase in agree Tools and also Logic.

“Getting myself acquainted with the technology stuff has really aided me and made me was standing out as a mrs in the creating world since there no a the majority of techie females in the creating world. It’s really an effective to develop your very own stuff and make that sound favor you desire it to.

“Have every the technical skills you can and also just store writing. Every day, write something and also don’t judge it. If the bad, it’s bad, yet tomorrow might be better. Structure your library is really valuable, so start at an early stage on, creating thirty-second and also one minute lengthy pieces that music. Friend can develop a library you have the right to use when you start getting calls for projects.”

Education should proceed after college, too. She adds, “I tried to find so lengthy for a considerable guide on just how to do it in the music market as a Songwriter and also Composer. Ns bought every the books and spent so lot money on them and nothing was yes, really it, i m sorry is why I began doing workshops and also courses.

“I’d to speak if you simply graduated to do my course since it’s all about pitching, acquiring clear on what friend want, and presenting methods to other world — and I’m no saying the just because it’s my course. It’s around how have the right to you it is in different and also knowing what friend want and how you space an opportunity. It’s dubbed MX4, which stands for The Marketing and also Branding, Money-Making, Mentorship Mastermind.

“I think it’s so crucial if you’ve already graduated college and also aren’t prepared to spend an additional $20,000 a semester or whatever on more education to simply make a reel because that the form of jobs you want to score. Even if girlfriend haven’t had anyone pay you ever, yes a bunch of publicly domain footage you deserve to use.

“If you really love orchestral music, score a pair things and also start to create a reel to gain the work-related you really desire to it is in getting. If you watch my reel yes a most vocal and also piano stuff since that’s what I want to do.

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“Do not avoid reading blogs and learning about the industry. Walk to the conferences. I have met therefore many human being at SXSW and the ASCAP expo. Talk to the panelists afterward; I’m one of them and I love talk to people. Find a mentor. Even if you need to pay because that it, pay because that it—but don’t stop.”


Engelhardt trust networking and also learning from peers space integral components of a solder Writer’s success. She says, “The ASCAP expo is a an excellent place to meet a lot of of people who room making music. The SXSW interactive part (not necessarily the music festival) is good because you deserve to listen to a most conversations around branding and also marketing to acquire your thumb on the pulse the potential clients.

Adweek is interesting and also there room a lot of of comparable conversations there to SXSW interactive. It’s more print-based, however you can read stuff about finding a brand sound and getting in the conversation and meeting people, i beg your pardon is an extremely useful.”