Longtime Synchtank client Position Music is an independent publisher, record label and management firm, redefining what it means to be a music company. We chat to President and CEO Tyler Bacon (pictured) about building a successful business, exploring new directions, and focusing on his main passion: artist development.
Can you take us through Position Music – what do you guys do and how is the team structured?
We are a music company. Everything we do is centered around helping our artists grow. We do this by developing the artist and finding their core audience. Whether it’s through placements, tours, music production, digital streaming, public relations, or marketing – we’re fully equipped to handle the creative and professional needs of the modern-day artist.
We have five main departments at Position Music: Synchronization & Licensing, A&R, Administration, Label Services, and Artist Management. Each department works together to achieve our artists’ goals. Being in Los Angeles, we can foster relationships with key tastemakers and music supervisors in the heart of where content is being created. In addition, we have our Head of Advertising and Branding located in New York to be close to all the advertising agencies on the East Coast. We also have a dedicated Digital Marketing department that helps cultivates our artists’ online personas, such as promoting music videos, tours, and artist-to-fan community management.
There’s this perception that Position has always been a trailer-focused company, but actually that kind of happened by accident…
Yeah, that perception of us is quite common however it’s not actually accurate. When I started this company 20 years ago I was an A&R guy with a record label background. I was trying to find new ways to promote artists in a declining record business. I fell in love with the idea of putting songs into movies and television so I started representing third party catalogs for sync. Then we shifted our business model and started acting as a publisher and making records as well. Fundamentally, in my heart, I’m an A&R guy so we were repping third parties but also signing writers and artists.
Then I learned about production music and started a production label. We started landing trailers and at first I wasn’t even sure how. We soon realised there was this whole trailer world so we started creating music tailored to that and we built a really successful trailer music business. The very first artist I managed and repped was Celldweller and he became a big deal in the trailer industry. We started making full-length trailer music albums with many different composers and artists and began landing huge trailers like Harry Potter and Spider-Man. Although we became very successful in that world that process probably happened over the course of about seven years.
We definitely want to be the best trailer music label in the world – we go to AIR Studios in London and create incredible music with 60-70 piece orchestras. But we’ve been in the artist world from day one and that’s really where our passion is. Within the last 5 years there’s been a transition from being a heavily sync-focused publisher to being a full-service worldwide publisher, and a small but effective indie label that plays the role of developing artists that, quite honestly, majors probably aren’t doing as much. We’ve been growing for 20 years and I feel like we’re really focusing on where our passions are in 2019.
“Within the last 5 years there’s been a transition from being a heavily sync-focused publisher to being a full-service worldwide publisher, and a small but effective indie label that plays the role of developing artists that, quite honestly, majors probably aren’t doing as much.”
Can you talk us through some of your artists?
One of our first overt successes on the artist side over the last couple of years has been the alternative rock band Welshly Arms. We signed them when they’d only been a band for maybe two months. Fast forward to today and they’re now touring with 30 Seconds to Mars and playing major festivals. They’re also very syncable and it’s a perfect example of sync helping to fund and develop the early stages of a band. Funding things like tour support can be difficult as an indie label but when we land a $50,000 advertising sync mid-tour that goes a long way. Welshly Arms is currently seeing a lot of success overseas, including having three top-ten singles in Germany. It really is a worldwide effort to break a band.
We’re developing several other artists at the moment. We have a band called Twin XL who are number 15 on SiriusXM Alt Nation right now and getting several terrestrial radio adds each week. They just wrapped their first tour and are getting syncs. The right things are happening.
We also have a very unique and special artist called TeaMarrr and we’re starting to connect her with significant writers and producers. Her music video for her single “One Job” has connected with a really passionate audience online. We’re finding more and more artists to develop which is really exciting, and on the publishing side we are signing more writers/producers and thinking a lot more in terms of getting major artist cuts and connecting artists with producers.
It’s great that revenue from sync can go a long way in helping to fund a business.
We really work hard at being an effective sync-based publisher and I’m really fortunate to have a great team of people – we’re really a team. And now we’re just getting smarter and leveraging that syncability into the bigger picture. We’ve found a sweet spot now where we’re generating significant revenue from sync and then you get to pick-and-choose where to re-invest that into developing artists. We’re willing to dig a hole in developing key artists. And then of course we have some writers where sync is the main goal – they’re not going to tour significantly or anything so you just let them create and then we can kill it in sync.
“We’ve found a sweet spot now where we’re generating significant revenue from sync and then you get to pick-and-choose where to re-invest that into developing artists. We’re willing to dig a hole in developing key artists.”
Let’s talk about your pitching process. How systematic/strategic is it?
When our pitching team comes in everyday they hit the ground running and take an incredibly proactive approach to customizing playlists based upon our client’s needs. We also respond to our client’s specific requests, however, a good amount of time is spent researching the studio’s production schedules, the ad agencies and the brands they’re representing, and what each music supervisor is currently working on.
When a special artist signing occurs, we create a customized playlist highlighting their catalog. We also include all pertinent touring, television appearances, bios, photos, etc. We get a ton of briefs sent to us everyday and have implemented organizational processes to best accommodate our client’s needs. We also have partners based in Europe, so we can serve our clients around the clock.
We have a highly collaborative and streamlined communication system between our pitching and A&R teams. We have a close relationship with our artists which allows us to be transparent with them. They feel connected to their publisher because they are included in the process.
Position recently became official Apple Music Playlist curators. How does that work?
We’re really excited about this. We’re focusing on introducing epic and trailer music to the Apple Music community and educating listeners. We’re really trying to build epic music up as a genre because it’s incredible music with a significant fan base. Quite honestly sometimes we sell more records and see higher streaming numbers from our trailer music than some of our artist releases. With streaming it’s just statistically amazing how it works. It’s not like the old days of record sales where you have a big week one and it drops off. With streaming the numbers seem to slowly build and then sustain themselves for a long time.
We’re really calling for the epic and trailer community as a whole to promote these genres so we’re featuring music from other labels/publishers as well as our own. If we, as a community, can enhance each other then it’s a win for everybody. It’s also interesting to see how this type of music can spread far beyond its original purpose. You’ll find epic tracks in inspirational playlists, in workout playlists, and so on. We recently launched with 10 playlists on our Apple Music curator page and we’re constantly updating them.
It’s encouraging to hear about the streaming statistics.
Yeah, it’s so encouraging that the record business is back on the rise. As an independent it’s also encouraging that we have the ability to move the needle without major distribution or any of the roadblocks of getting physical CDs into a store. If we can truly reach the fans it can spread itself.
“As an independent it’s also encouraging that we have the ability to move the needle without major distribution or any of the roadblocks of getting physical CDs into a store.”
Can you tell us about your new UGC licensing solution division Uzer Music – how does it work?
Uzer Music is a subscription based music service for content creators on digital platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitch. We built Uzer Music to better serve creators that are monetizing their channels and need to license music at an increasingly faster pace. Like any innovation, this space is still emerging, and creators are warming up to the idea of a subscription service to license their music. We’re really excited about the future of Uzer Music.
What’s next for Position Music?
We’ve just renovated our LA office and built a state-of-the-art recording studio adjacent to it. The studio is booked nearly every day. We get to do this amazing thing of pairing artists with writers and letting them create songs right here. We love having our artists collaborate with one another and believe having a centralized studio space will make this even easier to do.
Additionally, with our new branding and website experience, we really feel we’re entering a new phase and chapter for the company. We’ve hired a lot of new talent and are focused on becoming even more of a force as an independent music label and publisher.
Check out some of Position Music’s recent sync highlights:
- Placement: Hellboy Trailer, Track: “Smoke on the Water” – 2WEI
- Placement: Make a Little Trouble | International Women’s Day 2019 | HBO, Track: “Supernatural” by Tribal Blood
- Placement: TOLKIEN | Trailer 2, Track: “Orion” – 2WEI
- Placement: O.G. (2019) Official Trailer ft. Jeffrey Wright | HBO, Track: “Eidolon” by Jo Blankenburg
- Placement: Football Night in America NFL PROMO, Track: “Check It Out” – Oh The Larceny
- Placement: Curry 6 Video: Ruin The Game, Track: “I Ain’t Done” – Andy Mineo
- Placement: The MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid, Track: “Get Busy” – KOYOTIE
Want to know how Synchtank helped Position Music to grow their business? Check out our new case study: