The Best Spotify Playlists for Screenwriters

What are the best Spotify playlists that screenwriters can use for their writing sessions?

One key element to cinematic storytelling is the use of the instrumental score — music.

Imagine a Steven Spielberg movie without John Williams adding some cathartic music to enhance the emotional impact of a scene.

The climactic moment of E.T. using his powers to lift Elliott, his brother, and their friends to safety would be a vastly different cinematic experience without the thrilling musical score.

Download the script for E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL here for free.

The emotional and cathartic ending of the film would lose much of its emotional impact.

So when you’re sitting down during your writing session and visualizing the scene that you are about to write, it helps to duplicate the cinematic experience as much as you can.

That’s why screenwriters should write to music.

And in most cases, you don’t want to use songs with lyrics. While a specific lyrical song can surely capture the moment, the best overall music to utilize is instrumental scores.

Remember that it’s best to avoid overly iconic soundtracks because your mind will instantly connect the music with images other than your own characters and storylines (pretty much anything by John Williams).

During the development process, just before starting the physically write, many screenwriters create their own playlists that work as temp tracks that they can listen to while writing.

If you’re looking to save time searching for specific songs, Spotify is a great place to go. The music site and app have a plethora of instrumental playlists full of original cinematic musical scores and classical music that can set the mood for any writing session. And you can use these selections to help you create your own Spotify playlists as well.

If you’re unfamiliar with Spotify, it’s free to join as long as you’re okay with an advertisement here and there. You can also join with an ad-free Premium account.

Here we share the best Spotify playlists for screenwriters to write to.

Note: The number of songs we list for each playlist may fluctuate. 

This Is John Carpenter

Number of Songs: 40

If you know the movies of writer/director John Carpenter, you’re familiar with his style of musical scores — many of which he scored himself.

His themes are very atmospheric, so they are perfect to listen to during writing sessions.

John Carpenter’s Lost Themes

Number of Songs: 21

A companion playlist to This Is John Carpenter. This collection is all developed and performed by Carpenter himself.

Again, perfect atmospheric music, especially if you’re writing a suspense thriller or horror movie.

Cinematic Chillout

Number of Songs: 50

The name of this playlist says it all. The instrumental music within is comprised of scores that you’ve likely won’t remember, despite the fact that they come from major motion pictures.

Each song is ultra-atmospheric and very, well, chill.

Movie Soundtracks — Instrumental 

Number of Songs: 598

This is a master playlist with a wide variety of selections from movies — The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Titanic, Legends of the Fall, Gladiator, Avatar, Harry Potter, and so, so many more.

There are even John Williams score tracks from major Spielberg movies. But these tracks are those that aren’t as iconic as the main tracks you’re familiar with.

This list is especially perfect if you’re looking for selections to create your own specific playlist as well.

Epic Movie Soundtracks

Number of Songs: 463

Similar to Movie Soundtracks — Instrumental, this playlist offers some more epic scores overall — just in case you’re writing that epic period piece, action tentpole, adventure, or war flick.

Movie Soundtracks/Themes

Number of Songs: 507 Songs

While there are many actual movie soundtracks, this playlist is unique because there are also non-movie instrumental tracks that work very well as overarching theme scores or music for specific cathartic moments.

Mellow Movie Soundtracks

Number of Songs: 921

If Cinematic Chillout offered very chill music to write to, this playlist takes it to a whole new level with almost 1000 tracks that are mellow and relaxing. If you’re writing any type of drama or romance, look no further. If you’re searching for some tracks that capture cathartic moments that you’re visualizing, you can’t go wrong.

Bagpipes/Celtic

Number of Songs: 85

If you’re writing a period piece or just need something with a bit more oomph and age to it, this playlist is fantastic. All of the songs either utilize bagpipes or are authentic-sounding Celtic tracks.


Which ones did we miss? Share this post on Facebook and Twitter and let writers know what other Spotify playlists they should check out!


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