Substance Over Style

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, by Bill

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.     

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