How do you make your Jingle Jangle? by Carolee Goodgold


“O-O-O-O, Only Cheerios. The One and Only Cheerios.”

Oh, oh, oh, I was lucky to sing on that jingle! I remember the producer joking, “Well, there’s your mortgage payment for the year!”

Yes, the wacky world of jingles was once enormously lucrative. I have friends who used to be so busy singing jingles that they had a car service waiting downstairs to hustle them to their next booking! Sometimes it’s still like that.

But not so much. Other than local jingles, there isn’t that much singing being done anymore. All the more reason to be prepared for any good opportunity.

The jingle business has changed drastically over the past 10 years. Advertisers don’t spend money like they once did, and they cut corners whenever they can. Previously, you were paid on a sliding scale every time a spot ran until the 13 week cycle ran out and then started again. Now you are frequently offered something called a “wild spot,” where they pay a fixed fee for 13 weeks, or (even more insulting) you are offered a buyout, which was previously unheard of for a national spot!

In addition, musical trends have changed. Instead of hiring a jingle house to write an original jingle specifically for the product, advertisers now use popular songs, paying a large licensing fee upfront, but ultimately saving money on singers and musicians -- or even avoiding the need to re-record. They also spend a lot of time trolling on YouTube and iTunes, looking for unsigned bands with cool sounds, and pay them a relatively low buyout fee.

Still, as we can all hear, there are still singers being recorded, somewhere, every day.

The payment system for jingle work is very similar to union voice overs: there are different payment arrangements for national spots, regional spots, pay-to-play, wild spots, etc. But the way to the door is very different.

And it’s much harder to get through it.

Getting union voice over work is comparatively easy. You do almost always need to be submitted by an agent, and I’m not saying it’s easy to get one, but at least you can figure out who they are! It’s is fairly easy to identify the major players in NY, Chicago, and LA, as well as smaller regional agencies. In the theatre world, you can be submitted to castings by your agent or, if you are unrepresented, you can go to Playbill.com or Backstage.com and check the breakdowns for auditions. The process of submissions is also relatively straightforward.

In the jingle business, however, you must first do a ton of research just to learn who the jingle houses are, what composers work for them, and what composers work on their own. Then you submit your demo, and hope that someone takes time to listen.

In NYC, there are only two managers who represent singers, and they are extremely picky about who they bring into their team. Of course, there’s always the possibility that you are recommended by a fellow singer or musician, or you could be lucky enough to be friends with a composer. Good things can happen, and life being what it is, they usually happen without notice.

So when an opportunity comes, you should be ready to snatch it up.

Consider this scenario: You’re chatting with the only other person in an elevator, and that person happens to be a jingle house owner or a composer who works for one. When you tell him/her you are a singer, they ask if you have a demo … you stare at them blankly and regretfully whisper, “No.”

That’s happened to countless performers (with and without the elevator). And it’s sad. In fact, any serious talent with the passion and ability to sing jingles should be downright embarrassed.

If you’re a singer, and you think you have what it takes to sing commercials, then take the time, effort and money and invest in a singing demo! Make it short, sweet, and to the point, and make sure it shows off only your best skills.

Then you can confidently say, “Why, yes, I do have a singing demo, and here is the link to my website where you can hear it!!”

My motto: “Right Place, Right Time, READY!!!

For more information about coaching with Carolee Goodgold or any other Edge Studio instructor, please click here or call our office at 888-321-3343.

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