The first thing you need to wrap your head around is…

You’re ALREADY writing music for film and TV.

Yes, even if you’re writing in an incredibly weird and niche sub-genre, there is room for your music in films and/or TV and/or video games and/or advertising.

Don’t believe me?

Read on!

If you’re in a hurry, skip directly to the sub-section that interests you the most.

In each section, I’ll be showing you the wide range of music that is currently being used.

TV Shows



Music On TV Shows

Here’s a playlist with 7 tracks from current TV shows (writing this in January 2018).

Have you listened to all 7 tracks, even for just 30 short seconds? Did you notice anything?

Yep. They’re all different!

And before you accuse me of picking and choosing to prove my point, I really didn’t…. and I can prove it 😉

Here’s EXACTLY what I did to come up with these 7 examples of music in TV shows:

Top TV Shows in 2017
  • 1- I typed “top tv shows in 2017” in Google.

  • 2- I picked the first 5 shows that showed up in the search results. Then, when I realized screenshots of my process would be nice and went back to Google to do that exact same search a few days later, “The Good Place” had made the top 5, pushing “Stranger Things” to #6 so I just went and added a video from “The Good Place” in the playlist!

  • 3- I went on YouTube, typed the name of the show and picked the first video that seemed relevant.

  • 4- For the last show I went through, I went and picked another random track. Why did I do that? I wanted to demonstrate that one TV show can feature different genres of music.

Luckily (or exactly to my point! 😉 ), my assumption proved correct and I ended up with 7 widely different tunes.

Now let’s have a look at music in advertising which we often think is completely stereotyped and must fit a very specific genre.

Music For Advertising

Here are 6 examples of music in advertising for you:

For this playlist of music in adverts, I went through this exact process:

  • 1- I typed “superbowl advertisements 2017” (so all the ads aired around the same time and there wouldn’t be any question of music “trends”)

  • 2- I went on YouTube and watched 9 videos.

  • 3- I picked 5 spots that had music (1 didn’t have any music, 1 barely had any and 2 were crap, including one with Justin Bieber for T-Mobile :p)

  • 4- the Kia advert with Melissa McCarthy was so funny I watched another Kia advert which used a completely different type of music. I found that interesting and added the spot to the playlist.

Music In Films

Here are 18 examples for you (taken from 11 different full feature films):

Here’s how I came up with this playlist of music in films:

Best Movies of 2017
  • 1- I typed “best movies of 2017” in Google (again, to avoid any issues with “trends”)

  • 2- I went on YouTube, typed “movie name soundtrack” and picked 1 or 2 music videos per film in the top 10 of the Google search results (except Star Wars, I couldn’t be bothered to figure out what music related to the latest release and assumed pretty much everybody has an idea of what the music sounds like)

  • 3- I extended my research to the top 12 in the Google search results when I realized #11 and #12 were comedies (i.e. a welcome change from the top 10 horror action drama!)

  • 4- Steps 1 to 3 got me 21 videos on the playlist. I deleted 3 that seemed redundant. For example, all the tracks on the “Dunkirk” and “Wonder Woman” sound pretty similar so I didn’t see any value in showcasing 2 tracks from each movie. When I say the music sounds pretty similar, I don’t mean that it’s bad or unoriginal but you get the point pretty quickly. Like Star Wars, you already know what action movie scores sound like.

Quick side note…. the “Lady Bird” video (#3 in the playlist) is worth a full listen since it’s the record company previewing the full soundtrack in under 5 minutes. It’s a great way to notice the range of music that can be used in a feature film.

Music In Video Games

Here are 10 examples of music in video games for you:

This is the exact process I went through to come up with that playlist:

Top 10 Video Games
  • 1- I typed “video games 2017” in Google.

  • 2- I went on YouTube and typed in “video game name soundtrack”.

  • 3- I picked 9 videos with the complete soundtracks and 1 video with the game’s main menu theme (the exception is “Playerunknown’s Battleground” for which the top results didn’t have any videos with the complete soundtrack)

Quick side note: Initially, I was going to choose 1 or 2 random tracks per game but quickly realized it’s common to get the full soundtracks online for video games. With that new found knowledge, I decided to share with you the full soundtracks and let you explore these scores yourselves.

The first first few tracks of a score are sometimes similar, don’t be afraid to skip around each video to discover the full range of music being used!

Next Steps?

Ok so hopefully by now you’re a bit less of a sceptic and a bit more confident that, no matter what genre you write in, you can place your music in films and TV shows and video games and advertising and any other media you’re interested in.

If you still have doubts, keep in mind that we stayed super mainstream here!!

We looked at box office movies, Superbowl adverts and hit video games. That already showed that commercial mainstream TV shows, films and games include a wide variety of music.

Now imagine if you were to dig a little bit deeper into the worlds of indie films, app designers and YouTubers…. do you get it now? Can you start seeing how you could find opportunities for the music you enjoy making?

There’s really no need to change your style. There’s a place for the music you enjoy making.

So what are your next steps?

1- Pay Attention!

Be Mindful of the Music You Hear On TV and Other Media Platforms

2- Dig Deeper!

Be Proactive, Research the Space You’d Like to Work In

Not Convinced?

Post a streaming link (e.g. Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Box, Google Drive) to one of your tracks in the comments section below.

I’ll check it out and give you a few pointers 😉

Want More Helpful Posts Like This?

Sign up to receive the Creative & Productive newsletter.