What are bumpers and stingers?

Grab your headphones and get ready to amp up your audio vocabulary with two key terms in the world of production: bumpers and stingers. This post will tell you all there is to know about these wonderful sounds and how you can use them to make your projects even better. Already know what bumpers and stingers are? Then skip the exposition and discover the perfect sound from our library of royalty-free bumpers and stingers.

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Bumpers are short pieces of music usually lasting no longer than fifteen seconds and are used during intros, outros, and transitions. Often paired with voiceovers, many broadcast shows use bumpers to transition from show to commercial and vice versa. Think of the classic “We’ll be right back after these messages.” These cues help prevent any jarring cuts when ending a segment of a show. Here are a few more examples of bumpers:

Without bumper music, audiences may get confused when a show begins, ends, or cuts to commercial. If these cues didn’t exist, television would be a huge mess of random video segments and commercials. So it’s important to have a short jingle to subconsciously tell your audience “Hey, show’s over. Time for a commercial.” People like their television nice and neat, even if they don’t know it.

You’ll find bumpers everywhere – even Japanese anime shows have commercial breaks with bumpers or sound clips. If you watched Pokémon growing up, you might remember the iconic “Who’s that Pokémon?” commercial break that was paired with a memorable bumper.

Bumpers aren’t limited to just broadcast television. They’re also great for YouTube videos and podcasts. When ever you go on your daily YouTube binge, you’re bound to run into a video with a bumper. That’s because they’re a sign of professionalism. A consistent bumper paired with a logo reveal or intro helps increase brand awareness and lets your audience know who’s video they’re about to watch.

Bumpers are perhaps the most useful in podcasts. Since podcasts lack that visual element, transitions can become even more confusing when cutting to commercial. The audience relies solely on these audio cues because of the missing visuals. But even if you have a video podcast, bumpers can be used for the same purpose – but now you also have the opportunity to pair it with a visual cue like a branded transition.

Examples of bumpers

Extraterrestrial by Simon Jomphe Lepine

Punchy, electronic beats make this bumper a perfect segue option for a podcast or an intro/outro track. 

Vintage Funky Intro by Jon Presstone

This upbeat 9 second bumper with hip hop influence is a perfect choice for a short intro track or transition.


Stingers are similar to bumpers, but have some slight differences. For one, stingers are shorter, often lasting no more than five seconds. They can be a number of sounds from short music segments to a single sound effect. Like bumpers, stingers help keep things organized and provide a smooth flow to a story, like signaling the end of a scene or transitioning from one scene to another. You can find stingers all over sitcoms. A perfect example is the funky bass lines from Seinfeld. 

Stingers can do wonders for filmmakers. Scene transitions are often overlooked and are accomplished with a simple cut without any audio cues. This really isn’t the most entertaining way of getting from one place to another in a film and may also ruin the tone of a film.

These transitions can be difficult without the proper sound to accompany the visuals, but with the proper stinger, you can take your scene transitions to the next level. A loud hit can end a scene while keeping your audience at the edge of their seat or a nice musical piece can keep your foot tapping while the characters change locations. With stingers, the creative possibilities are endless.

Examples of stingers

Kids Show Intro And Outro by Jon Presstone

This upbeat stinger is great since it has two parts that can be used to sandwich a commercial break on either end, or be used as an intro and outro. While it has “kids show” in the title, it’s versatile enough that it could work for a podcast or YouTube channel for any audience.

Passing Through The Fog by Valentina Gribanova

Reminiscent of a computer start-up noise or a production company’s logo reveal before a movie, this chill ambient stinger is a great choice for companies and businesses.

Final thoughts

Now that you know what bumpers and stingers are, you can make the most out of your transitions. If you want to add your own voiceover to a bumper, but don’t know how, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Vocals for Video Projects. You’ll be on your way to creating amazing bumpers in no time!

You can also find even more options for bumpers and stingers in Storyblocks’ library. All of our music is 100% exclusive and royalty free, so you can find unique tracks without worrying about copyright issues. Sign up for a Storyblocks subscription today to get unlimited downloads from our library of over 2 million stock assets, access to our Plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud, and much more.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include additional information. It was originally published on December 8, 2017.