Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry

The use of production music in Australian reality television series 'Nerds FC'


  • Jon Fitzgerald Southern Cross University



production music, library music, reality television, popular music, screen music, Australian television


This article examines the use of ‘production music’ in an Australian ‘reality TV’ program, Nerds FC. Production music (or ’library music’) represents an important source of generic soundtrack material, and is created by musicians for specialist production music companies, who license the music for TV, film, radio and other media. Despite its pervasive presence, however, production music is a largely anonymous and un-documented area within screen music studies. The paper begins with a brief overview of the development of the production music industry, before examining ways in which several Australian companies approach the development and distribution of production music catalogues. The paper then documents the processes involved in selecting and aligning production music within one episode of Nerds FC – from the viewpoint of the post-production editor – before analysing connections between musical content, visuals, dialogue and mood. The paper draws on interviews with the editor, and executives of two leading Australian production companies.

Author Biography

Jon Fitzgerald, Southern Cross University

Jon Fitzgerald is Associate Professor in the contemporary music program at Southern Cross University. His doctoral thesis examined the development of popular songwriting in the early 1960s, and he has written numerous publications on aspects of popular music theory and history, as well as a popular music theory textbook. He is also an experienced composer and performer.


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How to Cite

Fitzgerald, J. (2009). Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry: The use of production music in Australian reality television series ’Nerds FC’. Perfect Beat, 10(1), 15–37.




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