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What is Sync Licensing? Get Your Music in Movies, TV & More

Sync licensing gets your music into movie soundtracks, TV shows, adverts and even video games. But how does it actually work? And can any artist land a big-money sync deal? Let's start by explaining what sync licensing actually means.

In short, sync licensing (or "synchronisation licensing") refers to all the music that is used to "support visual content".

So that includes placements in TV programmes, films, advertisements, video games. Think of the songs that get featured in FIFA games, or the tracks you hear in car commercials.

As you can imagine, this kind of exposure can introduce your music to A LOT of new people, as well as forming an association between your sound and a particular brand, product or idea.

Sounds exciting, right? But how does it really work...

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Sync licensing explained

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What impact can a sync deal have on your music career?

Well, aligning yourself with a particular product, brand or idea can help to create a sense of community - or even brand loyalty - around your music.

For example, if you were passionate about reducing your carbon footprint, a placement with an eco-friendly brand would be a great way for you to get your music in the ears of like-minded people.

It can lead to career-changing visibility, with your music being broadcasted to an entirely new audience that otherwise may never have discovered you - sometimes in new territories across the globe. 

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Sync placements will also help drive those all-important streaming numbers up, as well as increase in your followers and subscribers. New fans that find you through sync placements and have taken the time to find out who you are also more likely to follow you and dig deeper into your discography.

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How does sync licensing work?

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Our sync journey begins with Music Supervisors providing "briefs" to Music Publishers.

This brief will be relevant to a project they're currently working on. For example, a sports fashion brand may be looking for high energy hip-hop to use on their advertising campaign for a new line of shoes.

Publishers will then search through their roster of artists and pitch any music they think will suit that particular brief.

But here’s the really exciting part - a flat fee will be paid for a sync license.

A sync license gives that brand the right to use a certain piece of music in their content. It is usually negotiated on a case by case basis, but could be up to $10,000 or more for just one placement!

And it gets better.

On top of the flat fee, additional music royalties will be collected and paid every time the placement is broadcast. That means one well-placed sync could be earning royalties for years to come!
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So now you're thinking, well surely that's only for big artists with huge fan bases? But you'd be wrong...

<p style="padding-right: 40px; padding-left: 40px; padding-top: 30px; padding-bottom: 30px; color: #5934E8; font-size: 1.5rem; font-weight: 500; background-color: #FFFFFF; border: 3px solid #5934E8; text-align: center;">Sync is not just for the big artists! It offers a great way for any artist to fund their music career, no matter where they are in their career. As long as the music fits the visuals, any song has a chance.</p>

Platforms like TikTok and YouTube are the latest big players in the world of sync. They’ve started acting as pseudo-A&R services, discovering emerging artists already active on their platform and ‘breaking’ them with an advertising campaign, all while maintaining the authenticity. 

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How to get a music sync deal

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Now we know what sync is and why it’s so important for artists. But you want to know how to land a sync deal, of course!

You can start by getting your music "sync ready". Here's how.

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Licenses & copyrights

First of all, for music to be eligible for sync placements, two licenses must be cleared:

  • The master copyright - This covers the song’s sound recording and is usually held by the artist or the record label.
  • The publishing copyright - This covers the song’s composition and is usually owned by the songwriter. But if you have signed a music publishing deal then it will be held by your publisher. If there is more than one songwriter, they will all need to give permission in order for the license to be cleared.

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Metadata

Metadata is so important when it comes to landing a coveted sync placement.

  • Make sure that all of your metadata is present and correct to be eligible for pitching for sync. 
  • The names of the composer and any co-writers must be correct and sent to your publisher so that the license can be easily cleared.

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Collection Societies

Join a collection society. Even if you're not pitching for sync just yet, do it anyway.

The sync license will need to be cleared with them at some point, so it's important that you are a direct member of your country's royalty collection societies. 

As part of Ditto Music Publishing we can register you with collection socieities around the world. But if you are already registered with a collection society, we'll need you to provide the correct information including your writer number.

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Hopefully everything makes sense so far. But here's are a few more tips to boost your chances of landing a sync opportunity:

  • Keep hold of all your assets. Have the main version of your song ready to go as well as an instrumental version, a clean version, and the Stems just in case they are requested.
  • Have your artwork, lyrics, press shots, artist bio ready in case these are also needed to advertise the sync.
  • Make sure your social media channels are active and engaging! This will definitely work in your favour when trying to catch the eye of any prospective music supervisors.

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Now you know what sync licensing is and how it can work for you as an independent artist, it’s time to start landing those deals!

At Ditto Music Publishing, we can help.

Hit the button below to sign up for Ditto Music Publishing and we’ll make your music eligible to be pitched for sync opportunities. 

We will also register your tracks for publishing royalties across the globe, while you keep full ownership and copyright. It’s an easy way to start earning royalties you may be missing out on right now.

Since we have launched Ditto Publishing, we have secured placements for our artists in a range of high-profile media, including Channel 4’s Made in Chelsea (UK), Dreamworks’ Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts (US), and Sky’s Soccer AM (UK)!

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