Reality Show Music

Factual entertainment videographer using film camera equipment

Reality TV (aka factual entertainment) has become one of the most popular genres on TV: from the reigning Queens of celebrity culture, the Kardashians, and dating programmes to talent shows, cookery and travel, it dominates the airwaves and streaming services. Despite encompassing such a broad range of programmes, themes, emotions and locations, they all need the best reality show music to make them stand out from the rest.

Looking for reality show music? Here’s our top 5 tracks:

‘Probing Brief’ by Paul Mottram – a minimalist piano track, with a building rhythm section

‘Circuits’ by George Georgia – featuring atmospheric FX, this is ideal if you want a trip hop feel with plenty of synths

‘Moment In The Sun’ by Alex Arcoleo – for an uplifting, easy-going mood, choose Alex Arcoleo’s cool synths and bass groove-filled indie

‘Wing Span’ by Martin Felix Kaczmarski – summery travel or dating shows will suit this groove-led electro

‘Lost In Flight’ by Terry Devine-King – inspire the audience with a mesmerising piano, orchestra and a soaring choir

Reality TV Music

Michael Palin might have kick-started the popularity of travel shows when he undertook his mission to go Around the World in 80 Days back in 1989, but since then, there’s barely a corner of the world that hasn’t been the focus of a travel show. Whether it’s the Top Gear team doing daft challenges or Simon Reeve undertaking challenges such as travelling round the Equator or the entire length of the Americas, having the right reality show music to fit your destination or the mood of the action is key.

Find inspiration in our hand-picked travel playlist, or do some continent-hopping with the World Lifestyle Series. From Arabic percussion to traditional English folk, 1950s rockabilly to modern Chinese pop, and instruments from the accordion to the zither, the music covers the whole of the world’s regional sounds and musical cultures.

When it comes to reality show music to soundtrack cookery demos, you might need something Italian or Parisian, or maybe a touch of Asian-fusion, depending on the featured cuisine or to suit your location.

What if there’s a competitive element, a la Masterchef, My Kitchen Rules, or Bake Off? Include music and effects that will ramp up the tension as the contestants and viewers face the agonising wait to see who’s not making it through to the next round.

Talent shows have been a staple of the reality TV calendar ever since music impresario Simon Fuller launched Pop Idol in 2001. The highs and lows, the tears, the tantrums, the sing-offs and the spectacular finales – they all need the right music to accompany them.

What to use for those early rounds when there’s a really awful singer? It’s probably going to have to be something comedic. However, when the underdog you’ve been rooting for hears they’ve got through to the next round, and avoided the dreaded sing offs, reach for those uplifting tracks. Waiting for the results of the audience vote? Get everyone on the edge of their seats as you increase the anticipation with a dramatic heartbeat effect. 

For anyone testing their knowledge or abilities on a game or quiz show, choose from a ‘thinking’ bed, or put the pressure on when the clock’s ticking down. When they’re playing to win, they’ll either be overjoyed and punching the air because they’ve managed to beat the odds and bag the big prize, or trying to put a brave face on, as they head home with nothing.

Factual entertainment music

We make licensing great music for factual entertainment as simple as possible: once you’ve picked your ideal tracks, you’re cleared to use it across multiple platforms, around the world - forever.

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This page was first published 21/08/2015 and updated on 27/03/2020

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