Library music (also known as ‘stock’ or ‘production’ music) plays an important role in the depiction of Donald Trump in media productions, be it to cast him as a bold political hero, a glamorous millionaire, an authoritarian ruler or a clown-ish character. The various facets of Trump’s public brand are reflected in library music catalogues: tracks tagged with the keyword ‘Trump’ highlight, for example, his notoriety as business tycoon and host of reality show The Apprentice, or his candidacy and mandate as the 45th US president. In this article, we draw together original qualitative library music data with a close reading of specific television case studies to examine two main research areas. Firstly, how is Trump represented in library music catalogues, and what does this reveal about popular perceptions of him? Secondly, which library music tracks are used in media content about Trump? Where are the ‘Trump’-tagged tracks used in television, and what other kinds of library music are used in series about this president? This article explores the musical strategies which were deployed to depict Trump’s mandate and its political upheavals, and, more broadly, reappraises library music as a vital – yet underexplored – element in the construction of audio-visual meaning.
- library music
- public image