You might be surprised to learn that a tremendous amount of the background music on your favorite TV shows and movies is derived from songwriters’ demos and from artists’ independent releases. I’m not referring to the instrumental music composed specifically to underscore a scene—but to the vocal and instrumental pieces heard in the background on television shows and in movies.
If you write songs in the hopes that artists other than you will record them, then films and TV shows offer an outlet for your song demos. If you’re a recording artist, as well as a songwriter, we’re talking about placing recordings from your own albums—including albums you’ve produced independently. Composers of instrumental music can also find a market for their music on TV shows and in movies.
When used in TV shows and movies these pieces of music are referred to as cues—and are often used as source music.