This is part 6 of a 7-part series of posts dealing with music licensing.
My last several posts have covered:

1. Basic Terms and Definitions
2. Publishing: Types of Deals, Part A
3. Publishing: Types of Deals, Part B
4. Clearances
5. Administration, Part A
6. Administration, Part B
7. Royalties, Part A
8. Royalties, Part B
9. Royalties, Part C

This week’s topic is about the CREATIVE part of writing for music licensing. Some of the most common questions asked around this subject are:

What should/can I write about?

When it comes to deciding what to write about, pretty much anything goes. You can write based on a theme or perhaps a mood. I’ll break down each and explain their differences.

So, what is a theme?

A theme is the main idea or message conveyed by a story, or in this case, your song. Unlike a mood, which can be expressed by a single word, a mood should be expressed by a complete sentence.

A theme can also be the “moral” of a story or lesson, but it doesn’t have to be. Basically, themes are central ideas which can usually be expressed in a one sentence.

Below are just a few common themes:

  • Love is great.
  • Love hurts.
  • Love conquers all.
  • Overcoming challenges.
  • Hope for the future.
  • Unrequited love.
  • It’s gonna be a great day.
  • It was a great day.
  • Hope lives on.
  • Success can change a person.
  • Challenges lead to self-discovery.
  • Growing up is hard.
  • Growing up is exciting.
  • Good defeats evil.
  • It’s been a hard day.
  • I’m a badass.

What is a mood?

Whereas themes are central ideas, moods are emotions. Moods can be evoked in stories in these ways:

Dialogue – the language between the characters.

Setting  – where and when the story takes place, who the characters are, etc.

Plot – the rise and fall of action and events throughout the story.

So it’s what you feel when you see the visual.

Here’s a word cloud with just a few moods to get your juices flowing:


Check back next week for the second part of this post, where I’ll cover topics like writing on spec and instrumentals for film and t.v.

Questions about this post? Leave a comment below.

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Want more tips on songwriting for film and t.v.? Purchase my e-book, How To Explode Your Income By Licensing Your Songs here.



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