The Jingle Punks: They Write, Um, Jingles–and Make MILLIONS!

Most musicians want to become famous for their great works of art. Others just want to find a way to make money while making music–any kind of music. Which brings me to The Jingle Punks. From Bloomberg:

In a beige soundproof room not much bigger than a closet, Gabriel Kirshoff sits in front of a keyboard, plinking out a pop-rock tune. It’s cheerful and swelling, with benign radio appeal that makes it sound familiar, if a bit boring, like something from Fall Out Boy. That’s what Kirshoff is going for. He’s not trying to write a hit, just something that will make people buy laundry detergent. Or eat a hamburger. Or upgrade their cell phone plan. “I don’t know who’ll end up using this song,” he says.

Kirshoff, 23, is a songwriter for the commercial music company Jingle Punks. He sits in the windowless booth in New York for eight hours a day—“It’s OK, I have a sunlamp,” he says with a shrug—composing tunes in genres including electronic dance music (EDM) and classical symphony for ads, films, and TV shows. Two of Jingle Punks’ other songwriters record in identical cubbies next to him. Sometimes they write tunes for a specific client, but they usually just feed their work into Jingle Punks’ library of prerecorded tracks that anyone can license.

The songs are approved by Jingle Punks’ co-founder Jared Gutstadt, 37, a former television editor at MTV. Then they’re uploaded into the Jingle Player, a searchable music database created by Dan Demole, 36, a former software engineer who’s the other co-founder. Their part-Spotify, part-Tin Pan Alley approach has turned the seven-year-old company into the world’s top commercial music publishing organization. With more than 60 employees (including 17 in-house songwriters), hundreds of freelance composers, and offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, and Toronto, Jingle Punks grew from $5 million in revenue in 2011 to more than $18 million last year.

Wow. How good are you at writing 10 second songs?  Remember this one?

You know who wrote that jingle? Barry Manilow. Yes, him. He also wrote this one:

And would you believe that the Rolling Stones wrote a jingle for Rice Crispies? Believe it.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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