Our client, boutique music publisher North Star Media, discuss finding talent, scoring syncs, and using the Synchtank system to support their business.
Jordan Dorfman – Executive Vice President/General Counsel
Aaron Monty – Sr. Director, Creative Services (LA & Nashville rep)
Caitlin Carpenter – Director, Repertoire Services/ Junior Director, A&R
Paul Rocha – Sr. Director, Creative Services (NYC rep)
John A. Sepetys – Sr. Director, A&R
How has the Synchtank platform helped you to shape your business?
Jordan Dorfman: The Synchtank platform has helped to shape our business in countless ways. For example, it has allowed us to combine our forward-facing website with our back-end music distribution system. Not only has this had the effect of streamlining many of our processes by eliminating redundancy, but it has also provided us with both a clean and easily navigable website as well as a state-of-the-art music distribution system that effectively and efficiently delivers music to fulfill the synch needs of our clients.
Additionally, we have taken full advantage of the blog and placement sections of the website to promote and archive relevant news and synch activity. This has significantly enhanced our ability to raise awareness about the many successes of our company and the amazing artists we are proud to represent. These are just a few of the many ways that the Synchtank platform has benefited us as we continue to grow and take our business to new heights.
How do you utilize the CRM function of Synchtank to track pitches and other information among your team members, located in various cities across the US (Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, and Nashville)?
Aaron Monty: The CRM function is useful in helping us stay connected and informed about what each of us is working on. All of our contacts and our list of projects are in one place, and we’re able to send pitches from wherever we are that day. It’s awesome to be able to go to an Opportunity record and see all the pitches that have been sent for it. This keeps us from stepping on each other’s toes, and allows us to be more efficient. I’ve made a habit of going through the list of everyone’s pitches each day and I’m not going to stop!
What other Synchtank functions do you find particularly useful?
Caitlin Carpenter: In the Repertoire Services department, the functions that geek us out the most are the advanced search and report functions. The advanced search function allows us to see what metadata is searchable on our site, and helps us find ways to improve our metadata tags. The report function in the backend helps us tremendously when we need to generate metadata reports to make quick fixes and hassle-free updates. Most importantly, though, Synchtank has been really great overall for our clients. Its clean layout and advanced search function make it super easy for music supervisors to search our database and find exactly what they’re looking for!
Can you tell us the story of your artist Epoch Failure, who seem to be getting more and more exposure through sync?
John A. Sepetys: We found Epoch Failure a couple years ago when we were doing a promotional campaign/contest with ReverbNation. We had over 10k entries, and around 3k entries in, I came across a video of two guys lip-synching to their CD in the car. It was about as raw and undeveloped as you can get, but it was enough to see the talent and potential shine through. I mean, you know when the magic is there. We signed them to a full pub and master deal, and then we got to work! We’ve now taken it from two guys lip-synching in their car to having placements in major motion pictures, all over TV, and their “Champion” single is fast becoming a breakout anthem in the sports world.
“Champion” was just played in-stadium during the post-game celebration at Super Bowl 50. It’s also been used by NFL Network, NASCAR, ESPN, Fox Sports, WWE, Denver Broncos, NY Knicks, NY Giants, and more. And their new rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” was praised by Jon Bon Jovi himself, then shared on Bon Jovi’s website and social media platforms. ESPN featured “Livin’ on a Prayer” for five weeks during their recent coverage of the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl lead-up. It’s been really amazing to see Epoch Failure grow and develop as an artist. Plus, they’re wonderful guys who have overcome incredible odds on a personal level. For all of us at North Star Media, it’s been inspiring to be part of a Cinderella story like this. And the story is still just beginning.
What do you look for when signing a new artist?
John A. Sepetys: When considering indie artists for our sync roster, we start with obvious musical strengths like: great songs, strong vocals, signature sound with some personality, fully mixed and mastered studio recordings. Then we step back and look at their overall artist picture. Do they have a recent or upcoming release? Any press? Local or national touring? Strong following and engagement on social media? Basically, we address all the angles that we know music supervisors will investigate if they like an artist and are considering one of their songs for a placement.
The reality is that, in addition to a great song, music supervisors are also looking for any added “brand value” that an artist brings to the table. Therefore, we keep all those factors top of mind when considering new artists to sign. In a more general sense, we also pay close attention to lyric themes, grooves, arrangements, production styles, and other things that can make a track or artist naturally more “sync-friendly” or relevant in the placement realm.
Can you tell us about some of your latest syncs, and how you share and promote them via the Synchtank system?
Paul Rocha: North Star Media has landed some fantastic syncs in the past few months (see highlights below). We regularly share and promote all of our placements and artist news on our site’s “Recent News” & “Featured Placement” sections. Synchtank’s template format creates a really nice display layout, and the backend is super intuitive and user-friendly.
Recent sync highlights include:
- Super Bowl 50 (played in-stadium for post-game celebration) – Epoch Failure “Champion”
- Netflix’s House of Cards (Season 4) – The Blind Shake “Holy Road”
- Multiple placements in Showtime’s Shameless (Season 6) – SiLi, Greta Van Fleet, Nigel & The Dropout, SIRSY, Hobosexual
- E! NYC Fashion Week coverage promo – Citizen Kay “Raise A Glass”
- ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown – Epoch Failure “Livin’ on a Prayer”
- ABC Wednesday Night Comedy promo – Brandon Calhoon “That’s What I’m Talkin’ Bout”
- T-Mobile “Binge On” ad featuring Aaron Paul – The Blind Shake “More Land”
You’ve had some recent syncs in both Korea and Japan. Are you finding more opportunities in these Asian territories?
John A. Sepetys: It’s not just more opportunities in the Asian territories; it’s more opportunities all around the world. We have a strong team of eight sub-publishers covering territories across the globe. Plus, through our broad network of agency contacts, we now regularly pitch for international advertisements, films, and various online content.
What are North Star Media’s goals for 2016?
John A. Sepetys: Continue to work hard on behalf of our incredibly talented indie artists, and land even more placements for them than last year (which was our best year ever). In January, we just set a new monthly record for licensing request fees, so we’re off to a good start! We’d also like to keep adding new artists to our NSM roster, so we’re always raising the bar on the quality and variety of music we’re delivering to supervisors. And when dealing with our clients’ needs, we’ll strive to offer the friendliest, fastest, and most professional creative service we can.
With Epoch Failure, we look to build on the strong momentum we established in 2015, both growing their fan base and raising industry awareness. Finally, I know Jordan (our EVP) has his eyes and ears open for interesting catalogue acquisition opportunities.
We’d like to say a huge thanks to North Star Media for giving us an insight into their business. Follow them here: