The Use of Music in Television Shows

I had been mulling over the idea of writing a post about music and television shows for a few days and then yesterday I serendipitously came across an article in the Huffington Post about TV’s Best Music Moments. I certainly don’t agree with all of their choices, but some of them are definitely iconic, particularly the final scene of the series “Six Feet Under” set to Sia’s “Breathe Me”. That is hands down, no question the best series finale of a television show I have ever seen and “Breathe Me” provided the perfect soundtrack to those final moments.

I’m not specifically talking about iconic uses of music in television though. I really want to talk about it in general. I might be wrong, but my perception is that in the past 10 years or so the use of music in television has become much more pronounced. It seems like almost every week TV dramas are required to end their show with sort of musical montage. It has become somewhat of a trope, but I enjoy it because I hear a lot of new music that way. Bands are getting discovered because their music was played on a show. I personally have discovered any number of bands that way. As I mentioned in my post about the Chuck finale, I bought a ton of music after hearing it on that show.

It may just be that my means of interacting with the music I hear on television has changed though. Once upon a time before the existence of the internet if you didn’t know a song that was played on a show you were watching, then you were probably out of luck ever finding out what it was. Not any more. If a song catches my ear I can grab snippet of the lyrics, Google them, and usually be provided with a song title and artist in no time. Barring that some networks like the CW provide listings of the music played in their shows or you can hunt down someone else who knows what the music is and is posting it. I always knew I could count on Alan Sepinwell to provide a list of the tracks used in each episode of Chuck in his weekly reviews of the show.

I’ve started keeping an expanding playlist of music I discover on TV shows using Spotify. If you’re on Spotify and want to take a listen here’s the link.

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