Commercial Music

Book Cover Image

Creating Commercial Music

A New Book By Peter Bell

Published by Berklee Press and Hal Leonard

Produce music for profit! Learn to create commercial music for the contemporary marketplace—for advertising, music libraries, TV, and more. Understand the creative, technical/production, and business skills and practices required to produce commercial music. This step-by-step manual will help you sustain a career as a music creator.
Author Peter Bell shares audio and video examples and detailed case studies of his work in the industry, including creating the theme for This Old House, and jingles and scoring for many well-known commercial brands.
You will learn to:

  • Produce music for advertising, TV themes, music libraries, and more.
  • Market your services to direct-to-business clients as well as advertising agencies and other commercial music consumers.
  • Understand the client brief and the expectations and requirements of advertising songs (“jingles”), underscores, library “track packages,” TV music (themes, bumpers, beds), and other formats.
  • Produce voiceovers, scores and live ensemble and vocal recording sessions, all with high production values.
  • Develop a sustainable business, considering issues such as business structures, staffing roles and responsibilities, facilities, your reel, contracts, competitive bidding, billing, and other essentials of running a successful “music house.”

Peter Bell is a producer, composer, and guitarist, who has spent decades creating commercial music for brands such as Nike, Ocean Spray, Red Cross, Timberland, and countless others. His television themes include This Old House, New Yankee Work- shop, Victory Garden, and ABC After School Special. He teaches commercial music production at Berklee Online and in the EPD Department at Berklee College of Music.

Peter Bell solved my musical need when he created a splendid theme song for our This Old House TV series. He was able to turn a mere suggestion from me into a memorable theme, which has served us well for many years on PBS. In a clanging world of trivial jingles and forgettable ‘elevator’ music, Peter’s efforts to create some special music for us was fortunate indeed and much appreciated. In this book he shares the methods and craft that have made him so successful.”
—Russ Morash, founder/former executive producer, This Old House

Creating Commercial Music is an essential read/study from a man who knows the path less taken for your music to be hit: heard, recognized, and earning.
—Steve Berkowitz, Multi-Grammy and Blues Award Winning Producer/A&R Executive

Peter Bell is uniquely qualified to pen this book, having spent over a decade running a successful music house, working as a professional musician, and teaching music production at Berklee College of Music, both on-campus and online. Peter is that unique combination of someone who can both ‘do’ and ‘teach.’ Creating Commercial Music is jam-packed with information and examples that will help you understand the various industry roles and responsibilities involved in commercial music, whether it be for library music, advertisements, or television themes. This book is a must read for any musician that wants to explore a variety of ways to monetize their creative output.”
—David Mash, Retired Senior Vice President for Innovation, Strategy, and Technology at Berklee College of Music

Creating Commercial Music is a comprehensive resource designed to help readers find their footing and proceed confi- dently into the high stakes world of TV, advertising, and film. Covering everything from composition and production tips to business dos and don’ts, Bell’s work is a useful tool for seasoned musicians, industry novices, and everyone in between. This book along with its affiliated Berklee Online course helped me get my own commercial music company off the ground and gener- ating income.”
—Katie Day, Founder/CEO of Shortcake Music (featured on MTV, ESPN, WGN, Fox Sports, Daytrotter, Spotify’s New Music Friday playlists, and more), Berklee (2007)