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Lately I stream live on YouTube. While doing so, I play music. Every time I begin a stream I play the same song, the rest is random (shuffled).

The idea is that people get used to this, and start to associate the song with my stream(s). Hopefully even get a good feeling because of this recognition (Kind of like the smell of coffee is associated with a cozy time).

At some point I wanted to say

I guess this is my ______ song.

But couldn't find the word. The only thing that I could think of is "theme song", but that just doesn't fit what I was looking for. Is there another word that more closely describes such a tune or song?

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    I think "theme song" is what most people would call it. Why do you think it doesn't fit? Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 8:38
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    "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme actually from "Gladiator" OST? - Yes, yes it is. WTF, Hans? It's not a signature tune until you steal the theme and stick it into something else, just like that.
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 19:49
  • "Theme song" definitely seems the most likely. You could say "This is almost my theme song" if it's not literally the music you play at the start/end.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 20:02
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    A word of caution. Unless we're talking about music you've originally composed and played, all signature sounds/songs are protected by either trademark or copyright. Some artists are more anal than others, but as your popularity increases, the likelihood of someone proverbially knocking on your door with a cease-and-desist order or a demand for compensation also increases. This will especially be true for your theme song. It stinks to be told no, but it's financially a lot safer to ask for permission than pray for forgiveness - especially if you monetize your stream.
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 20:49
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    be aware of the word "sting", which is what people in advertising would typically call a musical sting, used in any context.
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 17:31

7 Answers 7

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You may be looking for signature tune:

a distinctive piece of music associated with a particular programme or performer on television or radio. (OxfordL)

However, most dictionaries label this phrase as British English. Collins notes:

[mainly British] in AM, usually use theme song

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  • Yes... "signature tune" strikes exactly what I was looking for :/. I think this went wrong because I felt that I needed a word that changed the meaning of "song"; like "it's a song - it's a THEME song". While in this case it's the other way around: "It's my signature. It's my signature SONG". That's why I couldn't find it. Feels unfortunately still as a failure to find the right word :(. Thanks though.
    – Carlo Wood
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 8:47
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    For me, only a singer has a signature song, such as Judy Garland with Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Vera Lynn with We'll Meet Again. A theme song like here regularly starts off a show on radio, TV, or streaming. Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 12:46
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    @YosefBaskin For me (AmEng), the difference is intentionality. A theme song deliberately introduces, and is often (but not always) written especially to do so. It's the advertising version of a leitmotif. A signature song is more a song that gets associated with something by repetition, but isn't necessarily intended to represent that thing musically. A show usually has a theme tune because producers are intentional about sound design, though a show might get a signature tune distinct from the theme if there was another oft-repeated song which people came to associate with the show.
    – R.M.
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 17:34
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    @R.M. Astute distinction. Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 21:22
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    I've seen "signature" used in the US in the sense of a performer that has one song they are most widely known for performing (eg: "My Way" was Frank Sinatra's signature song), and that's in fact the WP definition of it.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 15:10
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If you were to compose something to represent yourself (or a particular character) instead of selecting an existing tune or song, that could be referred to as a leitmotif.

From Merriam-Webster

An associated melodic phrase or figure that accompanies the reappearance of an idea, person, or situation especially in a Wagnerian music drama

This term would be especially applicable if you were to feature multiple different arrangements of the same tune to fit different scenes/moods.

Some of the best examples that spring to mind are:

  • The theme of the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings films
  • Imperial March from the Star Wars films, as used to represent the character of Darth Vader
  • Hedwig's Theme from the Harry Potter films
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If you're referring to the short musical snippet heard at the beginning of a podcast or video stream, you might call it an opening jingle. They're usually not long enough to really qualify as a song, just a few bars that identify "Hey, this is the show you're about to watch/listen to". It might not even be all that musical, sometimes it's just a signature sound that plays at the beginning.

Sometimes it'll be a sample from a longer song, though that usually involves getting the rights from the original song writer or copyright holder, and that can be difficult. More likely, you'd go for something public domain or royalty free (unless you wrote and performed it yourself maybe, or got a friend to do it as a favor), and generally very short (you don't want to make people wait too long at the beginning of every episode just listening to your opening intro that's the same every time).

It's similar to the advertising jingle, generally associated with a product/service and heard in all of their TV/radio/internet ads. In advertising, this more often occurs at the end of the ad, rather than the beginning.

Podcast and video streams also often have another jingle at the end, which might be called the closing jingle. Sometimes, it's the same as the opening, sometimes not. In video streams, this would be when the credits are shown.

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  • Thank you. But that was not the word I was looking for for sure. Unfortunately someone edited my question and removed the context (that was about my memory and how it works). The original question is not "what can I use for this in the futute" but "what word could I have been looking for?" This was not it, but it might help others as a good answer to the question they have.
    – Carlo Wood
    Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 9:25
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There are many words or noun phrases that relate to a piece of music that is meant to introduce something else.

If the thing being introduced is a movie or tv show, this is commonly called the main title. If the piece of music recurs (for example, in the closing credits), it may also be the theme music, or theme tune of the production as well.

Musicals, operas, and other pieces of musical production may also have main titles or theme music, but in those cases it's often also referred to as the overture (this can also refer to movies, but it's generally more formal than the alternative terms there).

If the thing being introduced is a product for sale (in an advertisement, for example), the music could be called a jingle, though that typically carries some other connotations as a specific kind of "ad music".

Athletes and many other kinds of performers or performing groups that play to a crowd often have entrance music that plays when they take the stage or field. If the performer is also the musician, this might also be their signature tune.


More directly to the asker's question, many of these terms are also appropriate for streamers or youtube personalities, depending on the context, but anecdotally the one I've heard most often is simply intro music.

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In professional sports, the phrases walk-on music or entrance music mean something quite close to your meaning. From Wikipedia:

Entrance music (also known as an entry theme or walk-on music) is a musical piece or song that is played for athletes or entertainers when they first appear in front of the spectators before beginning a performance. ... Acts often retain a single signature tune throughout their career; music acts typically retain the same intro/outro at least for a whole concert tour.

I personally associate this practice most strongly with professional boxing or wrestling, most likely because of this Simpsons gag.

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Other answers are better than this one, but for the sake of completeness...

Signature Sound, Sound Logo or Audio Logo

Example: Intel's signature sound

A signature sound, sound logo, or audio logo differs from a theme song/tune or signature song/tune in that it's a very short but memorable sound designed intentionally for branding outside of the television or streaming series markets.1 They are trademark protected where (I believe, could be wrong about this) signature/theme songs are not (but they are copyright protected).


1I've seen some TV show identifiers over the years that were so short that they're more akin to an audio logo than a theme song. The title sequence for the TV show 24 comes to mind. At 12 seconds it's almost as short as Intel's signature sound.

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In the context of livestreaming (Twitch/Youtube), people would typically refer to a song that you play every time you start your stream as an intro song. Similarly, if you play a song every time you're ending your stream, that would be an outro song.

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  • Thank you - the word "intro" had also completely escaped my mind :-/.
    – Carlo Wood
    Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 9:28

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