Sep 19, 2010, 23:06

Every professional musician I know has said at least once, “People love that song and it’s so simple! Why didn’t I write that?”.

Along the same lines, every couple of years the music licensing equivalent of a grand slam is accomplished by a signed recording artist just noodling around at sound check while we production music artists are left scratching our heads. That’s what the members of the Australian band The Temper Trap have done with“Sweet Disposition”. Featured on their 2009 album Conditions, this incredible single is enjoying the same level of TV usage enjoyed by Moby and Coldplay. Check out these great spots:

Diet Coke



“Sweet Disposition” has also been used in the TV show One Tree Hill, the movie 500 Days of Summer, a Peugeot 3008 TV ad campaign in Scandinavia and the TV show 90120 among others.

It’s the Vibe, Stupid

I once earned crazy good money for creating a thirty second bed of sampled pizzicato strings with quirky piano licks….in three hours. The ad agency thought it worked perfectly with their TV spot and said, “Great work. No revisions needed. Send invoice please”. Sweet.

Admittedly, that day’s windfall happened in spite of me. In those days I believed a track was only good if it had blood, sweat and tears on it.

Let us creators of royalty-free stock music be reminded by all this that, ultimately, it’s all about capturing a feeling…an emotion. It’s not about the gear, the chord changes, the budget, or even the time invested. It’s simply about capturing the raw emotion.

And let us also remember that when Coldplay, Moby and Temper Trap were creating these advertising hits, their primary goal was more than just creating good underscore. They were trying to create lasting music that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any major label release. As my mother would say, “Shoot for the stars and at least you’ll land on the moon.”

In 1952 avant-garde composer John Cage premiered a piece of music that was four minutes and thirty three seconds of complete silence. Pianist David Tudor closed the piano and sat completely still. The next day, letters to the editor shrieked “I could have composed that!”.

Cage’s reply?….“I never said you couldn’t”.


Mike Bielenberg is a professional musician and co-founder of, a production music marketplace where media producers and business owners can license high-quality, affordable music from a online community of musicians.

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