Television Composer

Create soundtracks, thematic music, and title songs for TV shows.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$22,000 – $85,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Television Composers do?

A Television Composer’s job is to make sure TV music is catchy, memorable, and downright iconic. If you grew up watching “Happy Days,” “Cheers,” or “The Brady Bunch,” you know that many people’s favorite songs are played on television instead of the radio. Whether it’s the dramatic “dun dun” of the “Law & Order” theme song or the spirited lyrics — “We’re gonna do it!” — from “Laverne and Shirley,” it’s all thanks to Television Composers.

As a Television Composer, you’re a Music Composer hired by Television Producers to write the music that accompanies on-screen images during television programs. That includes TV shows’ theme songs as well as the musical scores that play in the background beneath dialogue and action.

What makes your job as a Television Composer especially unique is that you must pair sounds with images, matching the music you write to the mood and action of the TV series for which you’re writing. The theme song from “Friends,” for instance, wouldn’t work so well as the theme song from “The X-Files.” It’s not just the show you have to consider, either; it’s also the scene, as the music for action sequence must be appropriate for combat, gunfire, and explosions while the music for a love scene must express romance and intimacy.

Whether you’re composing for a comedy, drama, reality show, or news program, your days involve pitching ideas, then writing, arranging, and performing music. Next, you record demos, produce themes, and sync sounds with pictures, all while collaborating with opinionated Directors and Producers under tight deadlines.

Even at its most challenging, yours is a dream job that’s music to the ears — and the eyes, too!

Should I be a Television Composer?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become a Television Composer

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