The Power of Sync Licensing

March 1, 2021

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Monday, March 1, 2021




If you are a music creator or connoisseur, you surely know that music is protected by copyright once it has been written. This applies to all aspects of its use, including copying, distribution, performance, and reproduction. Those who are writing music are typically looking to have their songs performed or utilized on various media platforms for money, but they want to protect their creative product. The way to do this is through synchronization licensing, otherwise known as sync licensing.

Let’s start with defining sync licensing. This is defined as a legal agreement between the copyright holder for a musical work and another entity who is seeking to use that music on various media, typically set to images. An example of this would be background music for a commercial.

Sync licensing is a powerful tool for composers to ensure their songs will gain them financial compensation—often, having a song sync licensed results in double compensation. First in the initial use of the recording, and then secondly through public performance royalties. This can be very lucrative if, for instance, your work is featured on a syndicated television show that is being aired many times a year. You will make additional money for every rebroadcast.

Larger sync licensing deals can fetch around one million dollars for established artists, but often it is the promotion that comes out of a sync deal that can lead to long-term fiscal gain. Sync deals end up being great publicity for an artist and can genuinely help them grow their musical brand. Some instances include NF, Sam Tinnesz, Tommee Profitt, and Fleurie.

Not all sync deals will turn into loads of cash. However, an artist should to be careful what sync licensing companies they align themselves with. You obviously want to seek a company that has a well-respected market reputation. Also, utilizing a company that works in diversified markets such as television, radio, cinema, and video gaming will give you the most chance at exposure and usage.

Interestingly, sync licensing accounted for close to 7% of music industry revenue in recent years. That may not sound like much, but it equated to approximately 1 billion, yes billion dollars, up for grabs for sync licensing artists. That’s a lot of cash, but you need to get your musical composition noticed and placed. This happens by working with directors, music supervisors, and sync licensing companies.

A director will determine exactly what music they envision for their production and pass this information onto a music supervisor. These legal and musical experts will find the right song and present it to the director. It can be a struggle to get noticed in this oversaturated market of tons of songs and just a few music directors, comparatively.

Your best bet to give you the chance of sync licensing success is to work with a record label or sync licensing company that has established networks with industry music directors. Having the right “in” to get your music heard gives you the opportunity to break through and break out.