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