Let’s Hear It For Original Music


The Composerworks’ Steve Berman explains why having original music, rather than relying on library music, will benefit the production beyond just the music quality…


It’s no secret that so many programmes feature library (production) music.

And with the increase in the number of music libraries in recent years and off-the-shelf music at your fingertips, why not? It’s inexpensive, (mostly) good or even excellent quality and is conveniently quick to source.

In fact did you know that the theme from Mastermind was sourced from a music library? And Crimewatch? And The Archers too?

So that’s that? Well not necessarily.

Undoubtedly there is a genuine use for production music. But there are also genuine reasons why using original music can be better over library music for the production in the long run. Addressed below are some common beliefs about use of library and composed music.

Library music is easy to source…

Maybe true. But think of the programmes you’ve watched over the last month. What’s the first thing you hear? Probably music. And I’ve heard many producers say that they hear the same old library tracks from programme to programme. Maybe the audience gets annoyed by that too.

If you want to help make your show as innovative as Uber is to the taxi world, then originality in all aspects, rather than recycling existing music, may be one subtle but key element to help translate to a better viewer experience.

How? Because composers have a weapon which library music doesn’t have: creativity. They can interpret a brief to write bespoke music, tailored to picture and timed to synchronise perfectly. This produces an unmatched quality to the music; a slick sound which can be a powerful way to boost the overall quality of a programme.

…and quicker

True again. But maybe apportioning a week or two longer for creation of bespoke music could make all the difference: there are many, many shows we may recognise themes to which are originally composed – from A, ‘Allo ‘Allo to Z, children’s show Danger Mouse - and these may be talked about and remembered as much for the music as the show itself. Such brand recognition may eventually help pay back the initial costs associated with music production many times over (series 2, 3…).

Composers are too expensive

Not true. Composers sometimes are presented with a limited music budget but which may permit the production of an original theme and some related beds ie. the fundamentals to create that original music “stamp”.

So before reaching for those oft heard tracks, it may be worth exploring what a composer can do for a given budget. With just a few original notes, music could be a valuable tool to help your production sound even more convincing…

See more at www.thecomposerworks.com