So the other day I’m in Studio A putting the finishing touches on a 30 second jingle. The music is sounding great, the genre is exactly what the client wanted, and the vocals are really hooky…creating a killer earworm. Life is good. I take a sip of ice cold water from my Chicago Cubs 2016 Word Champions tumbler, lean back in my chair, and let out a sigh of musical satisfaction. My eyes wander across my screen and come to rest on something that destroyed my reverie: the “time counter”, which read :31.884. WHAT?!! My newly created 30 second jingle is timing out at almost :32 seconds? I KNOW I brought it in at :29.9….
Yup. That’s right. When we create a jingle for tv/radio/web a :60 is actually a 59.9, a :30 is :29.9, and a :15 is 14.9. We do this to make sure our clients’ jingle spots don’t get “cut off” while being aired. Turns out this jingle I was working on was :29.9 until I switched to a different vocal reverb that I liked a lot. Unfortunately that switch made my jingle timing come in at :32. Okay. Enough jingle nerd speak. Time to fix the problem.
I spent the rest of the day trying different things to fix the timing while not ruining the musical vibe of the jingle. First I cut out 8 beats. Jingle’s too short. Then I cut out 4 beats. Too long. 2 beats…too short. Then I cut 3 beats. Perfect timing wise but the edit was musically a bit jarring. Where did my awesome, hooky, ear wormy jingle go? No problem…back to the drawing board. Went back into composing mode and re-wrote some of the parts to, as the kids say, make it flow. Did I end up sacrificing a tiny bit of my perceived “musical perfection”? Maybe a bit. Do I now have a rockin’ jingle coming in at ;29.9? Damn straight. Just another case of Substance over Style.