[photo credit - daniellin]
The next series of posts will bring you all the information you will need to know about music licensing and synching, we will have guests writing specific blog posts and we will be interviewing professionals the industry to really get to grips with music licensing.
The following post is taken from FATdrop Blog, the article is a perfect resource for learning how licensing works from three different perspectives.
Licensing music to be played in films, adverts and TV shows has been part of a label’s income for a long time, but recent high profile artist tie-ins with games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero has made it big news. As sales from physical music decline, how far can this slice of revenue help to plug the gap? How much of a priority should it be for a label?
Like many parts of the music industry, sync looks like a black art to outsiders. How do you start getting sync work? Who do you need to know? Who should you be working with? FATdrop asked three industry experts to let us into their world…
Jonny Reggae, head of label management at the Independent Label Scheme, had huge sync success with his label, Catskills Records. Catskills artists’ music soundtracked many high profile ads – iPod, Hyundai, Ray Ban – and Levis. Jonny and the ILS now advise labels on sync licensing.
Dave Philpot, Skint Records Head of Business Affairs/Licensing, co-founded Sync Inc in Spring this year. Run by Dave and co-founder Matt Kaleda (former BBC TV Music Supervisor, ex Ninja Tune Sync Licensing Manager and ex Warner Music Head of Creative Sync), Sync Inc aims to become the one stop creative music agency.
And, to get a view from the other side of the sync fence, FATdrop spoke to James Yuill – James was a music supervisor for 3 years, before chucking in his day job to do music full time. James makes “lusciously sad laptop folk with a dancefloor pulse.”
The label point of view:
How did you start getting sync work?
Jonny Reggae: When we first started Catskills Music Publishing we realised that if we owned the master and publishing rights to a track we would get paid twice on any syncs. At first we really didn’t make any concerted effort to get our music heard, music supervisors would go and spend hundreds of pounds a month in their local record store and build libraries of good music. This is what happened with the Levis ad. We just got a call from the supervisor for Levis telling us they wanted to use the track.
From there we took time to find out who the main supervisors were and send them music. We have a database that includes many different companies – ad agencies, film production, computer games – as well as music supervisors. We were also fortunate to work with a label in the US that had its own in-house sync department and as they were in LA we got a lot of work through them.
Dave Philpot: We started getting ad agencies contacting us in about 1997. We were new and quite cool then as a label so creatives at the agencies were hearing our music and getting in touch.
Dave, what’s been your biggest sync success? How did it come about?
It depends whether you are talking money wise or exposure wise. Money wise it was probably an advert we did with a Macy Gray and Fatboy record, but exposure wise in late 1998 / early 1999 we did two different adverts with Fatboy music for Adidas. The ads were very high rotation and this coupled with all the other exposure Norman was getting helped get the “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby” album to number one.
Did you look for all sync opportunities yourself, or do you use specialist companies? How does it work?
Dave Philpot: Back in 1997 we were not very active as a label, but we began getting more active as soon as we worked out that this could be a useful and profitable avenue to explore. We do use a few third party companies but procure most of our sync direct with the agencies or through our new sync company – Sync Inc.
With Sync Inc it can work in a number of ways, but mostly we get a music brief and the visual from an agency and look at these together and pitch music we feel fits the music brief and visuals supplied.
“Sync licensing is a handy way to make extra revenue and stay independent” – Agree / disagree? How much of a priority do you think it should be for a label?
Jonny Reggae: Absolutely agree. Record labels can’t make money from sales now so they have to evolve.
Dave Philpot: It is a handy way to make extra money, independent or not.
Priority for a label would always be to put out the best music they can. Sync is something a label should think about and explore as best they can, but it is not something you can rely on income from.
Some companies don’t pay artists/labels because the exposure is so great – is it still worth it?
Jonny Reggae: This one will split people – I would never do an ad for free. It’s a dangerous precedent to set, and ad agencies are aware that labels are desperate for income and so the fees for licenses are tumbling. However, if I was offered a track in a hit US program like One Tree Hill for example, either for a low fee or for free, I would take it. You may well sell 50k downloads from the back of that!
The music supervisor view:
Could you briefly explain how the process of sync licensing works?
James Yuill: When sending over the tracks you make an initial inquiry as to whether the artist ‘in principle’ would be okay for the usage. This depends on media, budget and whether the ad itself is credible. Once the ad agency choose a track/multiple tracks we would then approach the rights owners for a definite cost.
What’s the biggest earner? adverts? TV series?
I really only have experience with adverts. But I would say that adverts do because they get played more often which means the Performing Royalties are vast.
For more of the article click here, thanks to FATdrop for such a great post.
Music Supported Here