Guest post by Holly St George @ Music Gateway
There has been a year on year increase in revenue generated from sync. Not only is it benefitting the music business, but sync is also a chance for you as an artist to expand your fan base as well as open up a multitude of opportunities.
However, putting yourself forward for sync opportunities can be a difficult process for an independent. This blog will answer some of the crucial questions about sync and how to increase your chances of landing one.
Are You Sync Ready?
It seems like a silly statement, but you’d be surprised as to how many musicians will approach supervisors with an unfinished product. Music supervisors receive an exceptional amount of music daily, and your track could be an amazing fit, however if it’s not finished it’s not going to be considered. It’s that simple. We’ll talk more about making sure your music is finished further in this blog. Firstly here are important things to remember for being sync ready:
The sync business is a 100 mile an hour business, often sync briefs are urgent turnarounds so there are ways to ensure your music is easily accessible. You can do this by:
Having access to your stems - Important if you have used a 3rd party studio.
Providing the highest quality of your music
Having a radio edit - It goes without saying that if your audio contains explicit content it’s usage becomes limited so insure you have a clean version.
Have an instrumental version - The Scene may require a voice over, and song lyrics may deter from the direction of the dialogue, providing an instrumental means you are prepared for this.
Back to making sure your music is finished:
Mixing and Mastering
This is a vital part of being sync ready, as previously mentioned Music Supervisors are inundated with music and in order to compete your music must be of the highest quality. Industry professionals have repeatedly stressed the importance of mastering.
So if you haven’t already, get the mix of your music right before you send it to supervisors, music supervisors will probably only listen to the first 30 seconds to determine whether it’s relevant don’t let your track be discounted on the premise of the mix. You can find out more about mixing and mastering here.
Metadata is a key component in ensuring your track can be found, here’s the scenario: You’ve sent in your track to a supervisor and it’s great they love it, but unfortunately it’s not relevant to their brief at that specific time. Don’t worry it’s been added to their iTunes for safe keeping.
However without metadata your track is difficult to find. Metadata provides key information, such as genre, BPM, mood, artist, album you can even attach contact information in the title of the track. In doing this not only is it easily accessible but when it comes to being cleared the information for who to contact is there. The more information you have on your track the better. You can find out more here.
Registering to a PRO
You simply can't sync and license music to media without the songs and recordings being registered to a PRO. It’s vital that your songs are registered to ensure the performance and mechanical rights monies are collected correctly and distributed to the right people and/or rights holders. PRO’s collect royalties on behalf of writers, performers and rights holder’s and pay the monies back to the respective parties.
Most countries will have two types of PRO, one that deals with the Performance rights (Publishing), and one that deals with the Mechanical rights (Masters/Recording). If you & your Works are not already registered you can find the appropriate PRO in the links below.
If you or your songs are signed to a publisher, this will have been done for you. If not, you can find which PRO you need to register to here.
If your songs have been released by a Record Label, they will have done this for you. If not, you can find a list of National ISRC Agencies here.
Don’t spam with mass approaches!
Knowing the brief is important, there is no point in spamming a music supervisor with constant ballads, when if you were to do some research you’d see that typically they only place indie pop in a particular style of films. Just like as an artist you have your niche a music supervisor will have theirs so avoid sending over irrelevant tracks. You will do more harm than good.
It’s also important to remember that establishing a relationship with music supervisors is a long process, you won’t be able to establish this relationship if you are spamming them with irrelevant tracks and you are spamming them with questions, if your track is relevant you will hear back. Granted, it’s hard for an unknown independent without pre-estabished relationships / rep in sync to reach out to supervisors, however that’s where sync agents come in.
They have spent years building these relationships to make it easier for independent to pitch their music. Music Gateway’s Sync Portal for example provide an indie channel for the independent sector to have their music represented to over 300 advertising agencies & 700+ music supervisors across TV, Film & Gaming. When looking into sync agents it’s important to ensure that you are getting the right deal when it comes to the commission on the sync fee. Sync fee’s vary and can be lower for an independent, so it’s important to ensure that you’re getting a fair split. Currently Music Gateway operate on a 75/25 split in the artist favour for all sync license fees secured on a non exclusive agreement (80/20 split on an exclusive agreement).
You can find out more about the Sync Portal here.
I hope this post has given you a bit to think about with regards to ensuring you are sync ready. As a final point, choose perseverance over persistence. The time may not be right now or you may have received a few set backs. But being sync ready & having patience you will get there. Also worth remembering that with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, there is more and more content being created and in a huge variety of genres so there are more opportunities to get your music placed and this results in more opportunities for independent music.
This article is written by Holly St George @ Music Gateway - A free online business platform for collaboration, hire work, A&R and sync licensing opportunities. View more here.
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