Have you ever wondered why TV shows in the past have theme songs? So did I. Every show has a theme song. However, in the age of streaming content online, people would just skip the intro sequence (Netflix even came out with a button to let you “Skip Intro” when the theme song is playing).

So what was the reason for having a theme song in the first place? Why would they waste time on a song rather than let the broadcaster play more advertisements?


An introduction sequence in shows got its beginning from movies. It serves to give the audience some information about the movie. Some of this information includes the name of the movie, actors acting in the movie, and some of the scenes in the movie to grab your attention. These introduction sequences were often paired with music.

When television shows become a thing, they were seen as “mini-movies” where a big movie is split into many different parts. As such, they followed the same format as movies where they have an opening sequence with music. They serve the same purpose as before where they introduce the name of the show, the actors in it, and some general information about the show.

Why are theme songs still a thing?

In the era of the internet where everything is online, anyone can easily search online for information that the theme song sequence provides. So why would companies spend so much money to write music for the show?

Before streaming sites were a thing, people watch these shows on actual televisions (those ancient things you see where your sofa is pointed at). The things about watching shows on television are that it follows a specific schedule. If the show starts at 8 pm, it will usually start exactly at 8 pm. If you switch on your television 1 minute late, you will miss 1 minute of the show.

Therefore, the theme song is there the serve as a buffer before the show starts so that you will not miss anything even if you are a little late. It also gives you some time to settle in, get some snacks or go to the restroom before the show starts.

Another reason for the theme song is to ingrain the show in people’s minds. It creates some links between the music and the show. When people hear the music, they instantly think of the show. For example, can you identify the show with the music below?

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If you cannot, you are really missing out in life. You should go watch it. It is Friends and it is on Netflix. It is about 6 friends staying in New York City living like they do not need to work and… okay that’s not the point.

But a good theme song will make people remember a show better and longer. You will probably forget what happened in that episode of the show but you will remember the song if it is catchy.

Are theme songs still relevant?

I am no artistic person or professional video maker. Maybe the song does serve an artistic purpose to a show that I just do not know. But I am not a fan of the intro song sequence of shows especially those that are very long. I am the person that will just click the “Skip Intro” button on Netflix.

For example, if you watch the anime Attack on Titan the theme song is about 1 minute and 30 seconds long. That is (I feel) just way too long for a show that is below 20 minutes. An example of a short and sweet intro song is from the show Fresh Off the Boat which is only 15 seconds. I can listen to it 6 times before the AOT song finishes.

Theme songs today serve to let the viewer know the actual start of the show. Many TV shows today begin with a recap of the previous episodes or have a cold open – short skits before the actual show starts. The theme song will help separate these recaps from the actual episode. Hence it may not have served the purpose it use to have.


To conclude, theme songs stuck around through the times even though the way we watch shows are changing. It may be important to a show as people are used to having an intro song to a show. If a show just starts off without a song, won’t you find it weird? So I guess theme songs are here to stay.

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Big Bang Theory

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Disney Opening

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Attack on Titan

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