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#549681 - 10/17/07 12:24 PM Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain...  
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niteshift Online content
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niteshift  Online Content
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Hey Guys,

There has been some discussion on a couple of threads of the difference between a jingle and a song. Here's my definition.....

A jingle is a piece of music, generally 1 minute or under, which, most commonly is a work for hire for a particular advertising agency. It is not registerable with a PRO, and does not attract broadcast royalties. It is privately owned and may not be reproduced as a cover without the permission of the owner.

A song is a piece of music, generally over 3 minutes in length, which has been recorded and commercially released by the owner i.e. the publisher, to the general public. It does attract broadcast royalties, is legally able to be played and reproduced without the permission of the owner, upon paying the required licencing fee. It may be used under licence for advertising, but under those circumstances, it again does not attract PRO broadcast royalties, because it is deemed advertising in those particular circumstances.

Have I got it right ? Any thoughts ?

cheers, niteshift

#549701 - 10/17/07 01:34 PM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: niteshift]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Everett Adams  Online Content
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Sounds about right to me.A jingle has no commercial value other then to the company that commissioned it,and the writer of course.

#599454 - 03/23/08 09:44 AM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Hi Night Shift,

Yes you have it right, If you are offered any work , I would say try to hold on to the copyright , I have always done that, with original stuff.

In many cases the company who commissions the jingle want you to parody something that was a hit. and in that case the publisher has to agree to a one off fee, however that's not the end of it Jimmy Webs song" Up Up And Away" was used in a commercial for Pan American, not on T.V. but it was used for several years from Airports, and Sales Conventions,

Jim had no idea it was being used because the Publisher held onto the royalty’s owed to Jim, and he is not obliged to tell the writer what is happening to his music, as he has been assigned the rights. anyhow Jim got in touch and received a long over due check running into 500, 000 dollars.

So a jingle can be a copyrighted work, I would say all jingles would be copyrighted because we had one in the U.K. that took off as a single , by Jon Bonjovi .

So a jingle can go on to be a Chart Hit

Have been working at E.M.I. Hayes U.K. in many departments starting as Tea Boy and worked through to A and R, New Artist Management,
Co Writing , with Boy Bands, and some solo acts
I have always played in bands,

psuedonymn of course to many thieves and robbers on the web these days
#600002 - 03/25/08 12:22 AM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Originally Posted by Everett Adams
Sounds about right to me.A jingle has no commercial value other then to the company that commissioned it,and the writer of course.

Careful there. I can think of several jingles that went on to be hit singles.

#600041 - 03/25/08 03:03 AM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: TrumanCoyote]  
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Larry Williams Offline
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ALL original music is copyrightable.

Although I don't have any jingles out there myself, I have worked with a couple of jingle-writers in the past. My experience says the following (although IANAL):

Jingles are normally licensed to either the product manufacturer or the marketing/production company doing the advertising and hired by the product manufacturer.

Jingles can also be done as a work for hire - not recommended.

Normally, the copyright is still held by the writer. If it's a radio spot, then it's simply a "master use" license. If it's for a TV commercial, then a synchronization license would also be required.

I'm pretty sure that Barry Manilow was collecting royalties for "You deserve a break today" for years, and would be surprised if he sold off those rights. I don't know for sure about PRO involvement though. It may be more what's written into the licensing contract.

For instance, there can be special arrangements such as if the jingle gets used only regionally vs nationally, and what the royalties would be if it gets used for more than a year, or if additional video or TV commercials are made using the same jingle...all those areas are negotiable.

#606228 - 04/12/08 05:16 PM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: Larry Williams]  
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Michael Borges (D) Offline
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Michael Borges (D)  Offline
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I agree with Larry!
Regarding the PROs for specialty music such as "jingles", they can be completely circumvented via direct payment which is most often negotiated directly between the writer (or publisher) and the licensor. This principle also holds true for any kind of song, not just ad jingles.

On my Store & Licensing page I offer this option to licensors:
Performance rights may also be licensed directly for an additional price negotiated on a per-program (or period) basis and will be included "in writing" in our contract.

That simply means that if they pay me directly, I'll give them a contract they can show to any inquiring PRO such as ASCAP or BMI. Obviously, if they've pre-paid the performance royalty to me directly, they won't be liable to pay it again to one (or any) of the PROs.

I actually prefer this collection method for at least several good reasons:
1. I can collect the money in advance rather than wait 1 - 2 yeras to collect it from the PRO.
2. It can help my sale because I can offer the normal PRO royalty fee at an attractive discount which would otherwise cost me 15% on the PRO's fees.
3. It can help grow my list of credits with satisfied licensing customers. (Always a good thing!)
4. I don't have to worry that they'll forget to fill out a cue sheet and send it to the PRO. My performance royalties will never "fall through the cracks" if they've been paid for up front.
5. It's more likely that my licensors (customers) will come back to negotiate new deals which can save them money and time.

As a matter of fact, there's a whole sector of the industry for both TV and Radio that promotes the concept of direct "per pay" licensing. Here's a good example:
They say:
Each of these companies [music libraries] has represented to the Television Music License Committee that they will license directly to a television station the performing rights to their music as well as the synchronization rights.

The Committee suggests that you negotiate whatever additional price will be involved for performing rights and that your station "get it in writing.

As you can see, direct licensing is a very realistic and economical option that publishers and media broadcasters have, plus of course it's also completely legal. I bet most music used for commercial ads are negotiated on a Direct License" basis because it's easier for businesses and ad agencies to control costs on a per-campaign basis.

So in terms of licensing and royalties, there's really not much difference between an jingle and a song. It's just a matter of how they're used and marketed.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself. -- Johann Sebastian Bach

#606299 - 04/12/08 09:40 PM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: Michael Borges (D)]  
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niteshift Online content
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Hey Michael,

Guess that was my point. Advertising in no way, attracts PRO royalties. A PRO will not collect nor survey any piece of music deemed to be advertising. Hence the direct negociated fee to to the client.

cheers, niteshift

#929914 - 10/26/11 06:47 AM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: niteshift]  
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ding59 Offline
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Spambot begone.

Last edited by Mike Dunbar; 10/26/11 03:44 PM.
#929965 - 10/26/11 03:21 PM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: niteshift]  
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Nigel Quin Offline
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Here’s my take. A jingle is a short piece of incidental music designed to catch the ear and is used to advertise or introduce a feature, person, product or show, whereas a song is designed to advertise and promote itself or the performer. They are very different beasts!

#929989 - 10/26/11 06:24 PM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: Nigel Quin]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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A "jingle" is something you hear when you're carrying change in your pockets. Isn't a "song" a sexy piece of clothing? :laugh"

Hey Nite, I didn't know a jingle won't generate PRO royalties, or is that just a "work for hire" jingle? I reckon that's what it is...

Best, John smile

#942171 - 01/25/12 03:34 AM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: niteshift]  
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Pat Hardy Offline
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Pat Hardy  Offline
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The difference is the objective.

A jingle annoys...er, I mean sells or tries to you a product or service.

A song annoys.... er.... I mean entertains or tries to entertain you.


#942185 - 01/25/12 08:37 AM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Great threat nite!

Thanks also Michael and Larry for valuable inputs!

Buzz Tracks
Making media sweeter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buzztracks
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/buzztracks
#942189 - 01/25/12 08:47 AM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: Kolstad]  
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Pamela Bowne Offline
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Culebra Island
Thank you Pat for bumping this, I have enjoyed the thread. MTC a jingle directs your thoughts to a thing, a song directs your thoughts to a feeling.


Never think can't do - think how to
#942193 - 01/25/12 09:49 AM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: Pamela Bowne]  
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"Tampa Stan" Good (D) Offline
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HiDee Night'!

Length, Licensing & Lyrics..I'd guess.

Been Racking my brain trying to remember Composer of "Happiness Is"..back in the '60's. Steve Allen perhaps?

At any rate, it started-off as a Jingle for Kent Cigarettes..."Happiness Is..The Taste of Kent" was SO popular that it got Major Re-Write..."Happiness is Different Things..to Different People"...& went on to be a Pop Hit..(Ray Coniff Singers).

It's still a very-catchy Melody..& Concept..to this day. &..it began as a Jingle. Ended-up a Hit Song.

#943588 - 02/02/12 05:30 PM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: "Tampa Stan" Good (D)]  
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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
A jingle makes you money.....whereas a song costs you money to make.....

I have written quite a few jingles and got paid for ALL of them...BUT so far NONE of my songs have made dollar one.
There must be a lesson there somewhere.

#943605 - 02/02/12 08:32 PM Re: Difference Between a Jingle and a Song, Please Explain... [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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It's easy to figure out. "Jingle Bells" is a song, and the "McDonald's Song" is a jingle.

You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.

Mike Dunbar Music

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