Over the last year we’ve been working with more and more indie companies who want to make sync work better for them. If you’d like to do the same but find the world of sync licensing a daunting and confusing place (which it often is), check out our 5 essential tips:
1) Do your homework
If you want to contact music supervisors, do some research first. What are they working on? Sites like IMBd will show you what’s in production and who’s in charge of the music. Consider which tracks from your library you think would be suitable and then get in touch at the right time (usually post-production).
Educate yourself. Music is being used in more and more media end points so don’t single mindedly chase the the latest big movie or TV show. There are 1,000’s of mid-to-low value sync licenses that also need fulfilling which, with a cost and time effective system in place, can prove a profitable and steady income stream.
Keep on track of trends. Read articles like this which tells us that so far in 2014, UK advertisers have preferred pop music over other genres, and that the most lucrative sync sector for songwriters has been food and food retail. You’ve probably also noticed that happy, feel-good, uplifting songs are consistently popular with advertisers, so it’s worth having a few of these in your catalogue.
2) Time is everything
This is simple – time is money in sync. Do whatever you can to streamline the process and chances are you’ll see more of it. Music is too often considered an afterthought and therefore dealt with at the last moment, so make sure all rights are in order and always be flexible, on time, and on budget. If a music supervisor wants an instrumental or custom version of a track, get back to them quickly or you’ll probably miss out.
3) Build relationships
Sync is a bit like online dating (yes really). You email, you try to impress with your intelligence and wit, you get to know what the other person likes. In the same way you’ll get to know publishers, sync agencies, music supervisors, and so on. You’ll learn how they like to conduct business and you’ll figure out their preferences. For example whether a certain music supervisor prefers to be sent mp3s, streaming links, vinyl, etc.
But as with online dating, there’s no substitute for real life interaction. We’re all humans (I think) and we all like to be around other like-minded humans, so try to attend key events like SXSW, The Sync Summit, Billboard’s Film and TV Music Conference, and AIM’s Sync Licensing Conference. This will help you build new relationships and foster existing ones.
Basically, if you’re personable and intelligent in your approach and deliver what’s needed, chances are people will come back to you again and again.
[Note: sync is not actually online dating. Don’t flirt with music supervisors]
4) Get control of your catalogue
Whether you work in a sync department of 10 people or in the living room with your cat, you need a system. This all begins with the magic M. A word which you will grow to love and hate in equal measure: METADATA.
Yep, every single track in your catalogue must be tagged with 100% correct and up to date information. Don’t forget the basics (title, artist(s), composer(s), contact details, etc.) and go the extra mile by adding key lyrics (the best for searching), BPM, male/female vocals, keywords and mood/subject e.g. ‘Christmas’, ‘contemplative’, ‘Summer’. 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. (More good tips on this here and here). Now you and others can search your catalogue quickly, and recipients of your music will have all the details they need in one place.
After taking care of your songs, focus on building a system that keeps track of what you’ve pitched, who you’ve pitched it to, details of the project, and whether or not you were successful. Switching between SoundCloud, iTunes, Gmail, Dropbox, Final Cut and Excel will probably make you lose the plot, so consider a system like ours where it’s all managed in one place, or create your own method. Whatever suits you.
5) Don’t rely on technology
We’d love to say that technology like ours is the answer to sync licensing success, but sadly it’s not the whole picture. Don’t get us wrong, we provide a fantastic service to help and support you in your sync endeavours, but that’s as far as it goes. The rest is up to you. You need to be driving traffic to your site and marketing your music. So what if your catalogue is the 8th wonder of the World? It’s meaningless if no one can find it.
Remember all that time you spent on metadata…..
Good luck and don’t take it too seriously!