On cue

A look at some new production music libraries that could amp up your project.
May 1, 2009

Do you need some stirring, heart-swelling music for the emotional climax to your one-off? Perhaps you’re in the market for an uptempo pulse racer to ratchet up the tension in your reality show. Either way, checking out the melodic possibilities available via production music libraries can save you time and money. We took a poll of assorted production music companies to find out what new libraries are available that cater to the factual entertainment set.

Dallas-based FirstCom Music has contributed production music to assorted reality productions including America’s Best Dance Crew and America’s Got Talent. It’s just released two new collections geared specifically to the reality genre, Game Show Drama and Reality TV 2. The scoring kits specialize in thrill-a-minute cues designed for high-adrenalin competition shows, and tension/release signatures that are naturals for game shows and other competition-style programming.

If your project calls for more twang than tension, Freeplay Music has released American Roots Vol. 1, an amalgam of classic rock, blues and folk. Other guitar-oriented libraries include FirstCom’s Guitar Intros 2 (from its OneMusic Library) and Six String Crates (from its Velocity series). Also in the blues vibe, there’s the slide guitar and front porch vocal stylings of 615 Music‘s Authentic Blues, and if you’re looking for something more countrified, there’s Contemporary Country Vol. 2, also from 615 Music, featuring tracks from producer/songwriter Dale Oliver (Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney).

The latest release from California’s MusicBox also aims squarely at the reality niche. Heroes and Legends, an orchestral and choral mix, is particularly well-suited for competition and high-drama programming. Its CUE library has provided underscores for shows on HBO, A&E, History, PBS, Discovery and truTV among others. Two new CUE CDs were released in April, including Slasher Flick, which veers towards the creepy and menacing, and Strange Bedfellows, which is more appropriate for those tense, vaguely unsettling moments in your EDL. Recent placements for the material include My Super Sweet 16 Presents: Exiled (MTV), Invisible Worlds (Discovery) and Night (Animal Planet).

Lighter fare can be found in Fontana’s Mosaic collection, featuring jazz and pop-rock cues, or the upbeat Easy Life, both available through Groove Addicts’ production music division.

5 Alarm Music has several new reality-centric production music collections in its 24 Seven library set: Trance & Lounge/Reality Fashion; Reality: Competition/Eliminations; Reality: Sports/Host Explanations 2; Reality: Urban/Anticipations; Reality: Comedy/Spooky Funny and Reality: Drama/Dramatic Tension & Promos.

On a more serious note (pun intended), Intervox in Germany offers up Human Lab for medical and/or science shows, as well as Wanted/Missed, a collection aimed at crime and investigation programming that ranges from somber sounds to more hard-hitting tracks.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.