Composers come in all shapes and sizes, but the majority focus on a certain type of music. Some write music almost exclusively for film, scoring sweeping arrangements that help to convey the emotional state of the characters. Others compose popular songs for bands and other groups to perform. On average, composers earned $53,760 a year in 2011, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But if you have a knack for writing short and catchy ditties, you may have a career as a jingle writer. For such an abbreviated refrain, these composers can earn astounding fees.
Ask for a minimum fee for a regional jingle. Unlike many careers, jingle writers aren’t paid a salary. Instead, this type of composer works as a freelancer and is paid on a project-by-project basis. A survey conducted by “Film Music Magazine” found that writing a jingle for a local or regional ad pays a minimum of $10,000.
Contract for a higher fee when composing the jingle for a national ad. As of 2012, jingles for national commercials paid at least $30,000, according to “Film Music Magazine.”
Request different rates for scoring an local commercial. Not all commercials use jingles to sell a product or service. Instead, a score plays underneath the script to evoke an emotion from viewers. In local markets, scoring a commercial paid $1,500 to $2,500 for low budgets, $2,500 to $4,500 for medium budgets and $5,000 or more for high budgets.
Contract a higher rate for the score of a national commercial. As you might expect, scoring national commercials commands higher rates. In 2012, composers earned $3,000 to $7,500 for the score of a low-budget commercial, $7,000 to $12,000 for the score of a medium-budget commercial and $15,000 or more for the score of a high-budget commercial.
- If commercials aren’t using original jingles or scores, they’re licensing previously released material. On average, a songwriter can earn $5,000 to $10,000 for a low-budget commercial, $10,000 to $175,000 for a medium-budget commercial and $100,000 to $250,000 for a high-budget commercial. For well-known songs, the rates can exceed $1 million, notes “Film Music Magazine.”
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.