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Composer/songwriter For Advertising: Jingle Writer/producer • Commercial Music Producer • Advertising Composer • Songwriter/producer


Composers/songwriters for advertising write, arrange, produce, and record music for commercial advertising.


To succeed, you must be creative, have the ability to compose music and lyrics, and be able to produce recordings of your ideas.


Being the owner, as well as the creative force at Hummingbird, Bob Farnsworth's day is filled with both business and artistic tasks. “Today I came in and had to deal with tax issues with our bookkeeper. Then I had three clients that each called about projects we're working on. Often I'll have calls that have to do with some marketing aspect of the company. Typically I spend some time planning various projects. By afternoon I may be taking instructions on a specific account and then determining budgets for demos. I might call up four or five outside writers and ask them to present me with demo'd ideas. I would provide them with an assignment sheet with pertinent information such as demographics of the target audience, whether there should be lyrics, if it is for radio or television, style of music, if it's a national or regional campaign, and so forth. While they each write a pitch, I'm writing my idea as well.” After sketching out some rough ideas, Farnsworth may call his agency contact and present them, getting feedback about which ones he should develop. He then takes the new information and filters it back to the team of writers that is working on additional ideas. On any given day Farnsworth may spend time in the recording studio laying down tracks, or mixing a project, until 7:30 or 8 p.m.



“There is no loyalty and you have to constantly prove yourself over and over again.”


“The moments I love the most are when you have musicians in the studio and they like what you're doing, and you can see they are having fun playing what you've written. You've got your headphones on and it starts to come together, and you realize your idea is much better than you thought it was going to be. It really feels like a great piece of music.”

Record a demo reel with campaigns you would propose for a specific product if you had the account. Approach small, regional companies to gain experience. Talk with radio stations and seek opportunities to handle some of their advertising spots. “My advice would be to consider the pros and cons of the area you want to be involved in. Pro: the advertising industry can be a more financially stable source of income than the record industry. Con: it is incredibly competitive and there is not a great amount of loyalty; you have to constantly prove yourself over again. Perhaps the biggest pro is that you have an opportunity to write, perform, and produce all kinds of music.”


Bob Farnsworth came to Nashville in 1974 with a simple plan: make a quick million or two as a recording artist to finance his dream of being a missionary along the Amazon River. Amazingly, he and partner Mike Hudson landed a recording contract with ABC Records within weeks of their arrival. Although critically acclaimed as the heirs to Simon and Garfunkel, the duo's album was scorched in the first wave of disco inferno.

With his recording career in flames and faced with the prospect of returning to South Carolina to sell life insurance, Farnsworth sought another way to use his musical abilities. He opened Hummingbird Productions and built a reputation for award winning, but off-the-wall, jingles and advertising campaigns. Beginning with regional advertising, his first job was for a Knoxville company. “I told them, ‘Look, I'm a recording artist. I can assure you I can do a jingle. Just give me a shot.’” Told to deliver “something really different,” Farnsworth returned with a commercial that featured a granny killing her husband and chopping him up for sausage. He was thrown out of the office. Undaunted, he continued to pursue regional work and soon progressed to national campaigns for customers such as Kellogg's, McDonald's, and Walt Disney.

On the strength of these successes, Farnsworth opened Hummingbird offices in New York and Chicago, continuing to gain an industry reputation for the diversity of his product. As the needs of the advertising business changed, these branch offices were eventually phased out, but Farnsworth's ability to give advertisers something new and different kept increasing. His Budweiser Frogs campaign is now an industry legend and earned him a Clio Hall of Fame Award. The Hummingbird library contains over 7000 works, including Farnsworth compositions for Coke, Pepsi, and McDonald's. Farnsworth has also composed music for numerous IMAX Signature films. www.hummingbirdproductions.com

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Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCareers in the Music BusinessCOMPOSING—SONGWRITING - Songwriter For Recording Artists: Composer • Lyricist • Songwriter • Writer, Composer/songwriter For Film And Television: Composer • Lyricist • Songwriter • Writer (film And Television)