Whether you’ve been slacking on your metadata or you simply have no system in place at all, it’s time to make 2015 the year that you take charge of your sync licensing operation. No more excuses!
In Part 1 we’re starting at the very beginning and looking at all the tools you need before you even think about pitching for sync. These are also great practices to follow for your business in general, so think of this as a basic overview and create your own checklist using the sections below. We’ll be going through the various topics in greater detail over the coming weeks, so make sure you subscribe to our blog (top right of page) or follow us on Facebook | Twitter.
Section 1: Branding & Web Design
1.1. Brand identity
Whether you’re a singer-songwriter, a producer, a label, or a publisher, your first port of call is your brand identity. This goes far beyond your name and logo. What are you about? What are your values? Think about how you want to be perceived by the industry. Keeping your branding consistent across all of your communication channels is vital. Why not create your own personalized brand style guide? (Some great examples here).
Building a decent web page is vital because it allows people to find you, find your music, and get in touch. Your site needs to:
- Have a clear and clean design
- Be easy to use
- Communicate your brand
Above all it needs to be simple and convenient. One of the biggest bugbears of music supervisors is crappy web pages – out of date info, confusing design, links/music players not working, no contact details, you get the idea. Music supervisors have limited time so it’s your job to make life easy for them or they will go elsewhere.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your website shouldn’t be either. Start with the basics and you can eventually build yourself a beautiful website. You also don’t need to spend a fortune. You can source web design and image content for reasonable prices via stock image sites, font books, and online platforms such as oDesk and Fiverr. Check out ThemeForest for website templates from just $3. It’s a lot easier than you might think.
Branding and Web Design inspiration sources:
Section 2: Catalogue
Your catalogue is your product. You don’t just want to be pitching out your latest releases / what you can remember off the top of your head. After all, your back-catalogue is just as important as your newest stuff. Creating a metadata tagging system is your first port of call for 2 reasons:
- Having all relevant info for a track in the file is priceless for music supervisors
- It makes your catalogue instantly searchable
Our technology generates pretty awesome metadata automatically, but at the beginning there’s no substitute for a little manual work. We won’t lie to you, this takes a really long time, but it’s totally worth it (why not hire an intern to help at Inspiring Interns?) Basic details to include are title, artist(s), composer(s), contact details, rights owners, etc. Make your catalogue super searchable by adding details like:
- Key lyrics (GREAT for searching)
- Male / female vocals
- Keywords / subjects (e.g. energy, brightness, Summer)
- Mood (e.g. contemplative, happy)
These extra details belong in the comments field, and ensure you don’t spam metadata by inserting every possibility – choose only three or less moods and keywords. Check out an example of a good metadata tagging system on our client Imagem’s site.
Having a good (and secure) storage system is essential. In addition to hardware it is definitely worth utilising cloud based solutions such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Check out this article which provides a comparison of the main players in the cloud storage world.
Now is the time to establish what rights you own and have the permission to represent (and in which territories). If you don’t know the clearance status of your rights you’ll probably never land a deal and music supervisors will write you off immediately. Being a “one-stop shop”, where you either own the master and publishing rights or can confirm that they are 100% pre-cleared on both sides, is extremely valuable.
2.4. Finding talent to represent
- Searching through YouTube, SoundCloud and other online audio/visual platforms
- Social media
- Word of mouth
2.5. Registering your works with a performing rights organization
Don’t forget to register yourself as a songwriter (and publisher, if applicable) with an organization like PRS, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC. They will collect performance royalties for you on your behalf after you have successfully scored a sync.
Note: Becoming a member of these organizations also entitles you to attend some great industry events for free or reduced prices.
Section 3: Marketing and Communications
3.1. Market research
Before you start any communication you need to research the marketplace and gather information on the people you are communicating with. Utilize resources such as:
Before you contact a music supervisor, ad agency, brand, producer, etc., you need to know what their preferences are. What music have they licensed before? What are they influenced by?
3.2. Marketing tools Tools to engage and communicate with the marketplace include:
- Social media
- E-mail marketing
- Producing content through blogging
The world of sync is built on relationships, and these relationships rely on speed and trust. There really is no substitute to face-to-face communication so get yourself down to some industry events.
Marketing and communications inspiration sources:
Section 4: Organization and Analytics
4.1. Keeping records
You need to start making comprehensive records. This will allow you to keep track of who you’ve pitched to, what you’ve pitched, your success rate, etc. This will also makes it easier for you to inform your artists on any progress/work you’ve done on their behalf.
4.2. Make use of analytics and reports
Analytics and reports are essential for tracking the progress of your marketing and licensing endeavors. Lots of sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Google) provide this for free, whilst paid platforms (such as social media management tool Hootsuite, and Google Analytics Premium) give a more detailed breakdown.