Why is Sync so important in the music industry?

Why is Sync so important in the music industry?
Guest post by Trudy Kirabo, A&R Marketing Assistant for Music Gateway
Synchronisation made its debut in the music industry over 30 years ago when Matthew Broderick lip synced to the Beatles “Twist and Shout” in the 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day off”. With other artists shortly following thereafter including Frank Sinatra, David Bowie and Michael Jackson in the world of synchronisation, it was no surprise to see sync was here to stay.
Synchronisation in the music industry is simply the process of having a musical composition in connection with a moving picture. This could be a tv show, a film, advert, video game or anything with a visual platform. If you’d like to use a particular song for your visual platform, you’ll usually gain this permission from a publisher/songwriter and acquire something called a “Sync License” . Having a sync license gives you the permission to use that composition in sync with a visual and removes all the restrictions.

Why is sync so important?

Well sync has always been really important, it whole heartedly has helped many new/established artists create a bigger awareness of their music by simply being attached to a product, TV or film. In the long run this has opened doors for them which exposed them to a wider audience.
Physical CD sales were once one of the main revenue streams for the music industry, but with the introduction of streaming and downloading, physical and digital copies of tracks no longer were the focus of customer musical consumption. With the CD recently experiencing drastic changes with only 165 million units sold in 2013, and with sales declining a further 14% a year after that, sync has now become one of the main focused revenue streams.
This made fan loyalty harder than ever before, as fans were less able to tangibly support their favourite artists through buying physical CD’s. However, it made it easier for artists to throw themselves into the limelight. Asides from radio play (which is already hard to break into) the next big thing was/is ‘That song from the advert!’. Companies, especially well­known adverts that are projected during the Christmas period for instance, John Lewis, Coca Cola and Sainsbury’s adverts are examples of sync placements that are focused on finding that one off song for people to fall in love with. This in the long run can sky­rocket an artist/band's career.
Sync doesn’t only benefit artists and musicians, but the whole music industry. Whether you’re a producer, publishing company or record label, sync can play a significant role. For example, if you’re a publishing company, getting a song from your music library licensed for a major blockbuster film can bring in sync licensing royalties for your company. It can also help build a good reputation for a company that will quickly be seen as a trusted source in delivering relative hits.
Sync is also serving as one of the foundations of the music industry’s revenue today, as it’s one of the ways of getting an upfront fee and a performance royalty as well as a guaranteed bonus. Some major mainstream artists can release music on one platform and get away with it supplying their monthly income. (*Cough ‘Beyonce’ *Cough*) However, new artists may not have that same privilege just yet, so sync is a great way to get your foot in the door.

The Future

Although sync licenses can sometimes be difficult to come by, anyone who is able to position themselves correctly within the sync industry will not be let down. The potential revenues are huge. Don’t be intimidated to start from somewhere, aim high but also aim wise. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get on your local tv station's advert for brooms that light up!
As we strive to connect people within the industry together, we look out for and receive briefs daily from Music Supervisors across the globe. This means by pitching to a project of interest, you can easily enter into the sync market once the project owner sees your pitch and is interested. And if you ever find yourself pitching for a sync opportunity, remember to make sure your song sounds fresh and exciting.
So now you have the knowledge, all you need to do is get pitching to some sync projects. For an opportunity to do this, why not check out our site at Music Gateway ​to see how the Music Gateway community can work for you. Sign up free today!
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