Are you an independent musician looking to expand your reach and make passive income from your music?
Sync licensing could be the perfect way for you to achieve both of those goals.
Sync licensing uses music in a visual medium, such as a movie, television show, commercial, or video game. It allows your music to be "synced" with visual content, creating a powerful connection between the two elements.
It's an amazing opportunity for musicians to get their tracks heard by new audiences as well as make some extra money on the side.
In this blog post we'll explore sync licensing step-by-step – from understanding what it is, how sync agents and agencies work, and tips on getting started!
Let's dive in!
Table of Contents:
PART 1: Discussing a Sync License
PART 2: Placements & Companies to use
What is Sync Licensing?
Sync licensing is a form of intellectual property licensing that enables filmmakers, TV shows, video games, or any other type of media productions to legally use your music in exchange for payment.
is the process of obtaining permission to use copyrighted music in a visual medium, such as a film, television show, commercial, or video game. It allows your music to be "synced" with visual content, creating a powerful connection between the two elements.
Not only can sync licensing expose independent artists to larger audiences - it's also an incredibly engaging experience that carries tremendous potential for new opportunities in career growth.
Here are three of the main benefits that sync music licensing companies can offer you as an indie artist.
1. Financial Compensation
One of the biggest benefits of sync licensing is financial compensation. When your music is used in a visual project, you will be paid for its use. These royalties can be a significant source of income for independent artists, as payouts vary between music licensing companies.
For example, If your music is used in a commercial for a popular brand, you will receive royalties for its use and the revenue can be significant.
Our Tip: Sync licensing can be a great way for musicians to make money from older songs that are no longer generating income through traditional means.
2. Increased Exposure and Recognition
Sync licensing can increase exposure and recognition for your music. When your music is used in a film, television show, or commercial, it can be heard by millions of people. This can lead to new fans and followers, as well as opportunities for future collaborations and performances.
For example, if your music is used in a popular TV show, your music will be exposed to millions of people. Obviously, such a sync placement can lead to new fans, followers, and potential collaborations with other musicians and industry professionals.
It also helps that fans of a particular show or movie will identify your music with the media they know and love. This gives them an added reason to enjoy and come back to your song, time and time again.
3. New Opportunities
Lastly, a sync placement can open up new opportunities in the music industry. When you acquire a sync deal, it can lead to new collaborations and networking opportunities with other musicians and industry professionals.
For example, if your land sync placements in a video game, you may be approached to compose the soundtrack for future games, or you may be offered opportunities to work on film scores.
How to Get Started
Here is a quick checklist you need as an artist before beginning to look into sync licensing companies and sync agents...
1. Owned music catalog
Make sure you have the rights to the master recording and the underlying composition of the songs you want to submit. Submit high quality records to showcase your talent and potential.
2. Detailed bio and music links
It doesn't hurt to provide a clear and concise bio that highlights your achievements and experience as a musician and links to your music. The more information accessible to sync licensing companies, the better.
3. Understanding of the sync licensing process
Understand how sync licensing works and the different types of visual media options your music can be used for. This blog post is a great starting point. Arguably most importantly, make sure you have full copyright your own music you intend to submit, as any potential rights issues need to be cleared before your music can be licensed.
4. Finding the perfect music supervisor or sync agent
Lastly, pitching your music to the right sync licensing library and team of music supervisors is of course a crucial step in the sync licensing process.
Find which sync licensing companies align with your genre style of music. Or, you could explore a company that deals with independent musicians music exclusively.
Ultimately, this choice is up to you. However, we'll do our best to point you in the right direction.
We will now dive into the best sync licensing companies for musicians and indie artists to submit their music to.
Wait, what is a Music Supervisor?
Before we jump into ranking the best companies in the sync licensing game, let's answer a common question- "What does a music supervisor do?"
Music supervisors work closely with filmmakers, television producers, ad agencies, and other visual media professionals to help them find the right music for their projects. So while a sync licensing company will obtain a sync license, it is up to a music supervisor to select and coordinate the usage of that music.
In short, music supervisors play a key role in the sync licensing process as they are trusted by media companies provide stellar understanding of a project's musical needs.
Ok, without further ado, let's jump into which companies you should trust to help you land your own sync placements in media projects.
Good Ear Music Supervision (GEMS) is a team of music curators that specialize in finding the perfect match between authentic songs and film. Since 2011, they have provided music supervision for hundreds of ad campaigns for many of the world's most beloved brands including Apple, Nike, Google, Target, Spotify, Honda, Samsung, ESPN, among others.
The licensing company prides themselves on digging deep to discover songs that are truly special and universally appealing, made by artists from the heart, and matched well to each project. They offer quick delivery, flexible budgets, and a return to craftsmanship and skill. GEMS fosters a strong connection with the film, with no stock shlock, no throwaway demos, no corny sound-alikes, only killer and no filler.
Search Party Music is a another small team of music supervisors that specialize in original music composition, music supervision, and licensing for advertising, television shows, and movies. The music licensing company was founded by renowned music supervisor, Randall Poster, who has worked with iconic directors such as Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, and Sam Mendes. The company is known for its expertise in pairing brands with artists, event-based campaigns, and digital, social, & collaborative endeavors.
The company has recently announced a partnership with Premier, a leading creative agency which creates breakthrough solutions for music business agencies. This partnership will provide Search Party Music clients with expanded capacity for music supervision services, full-service music and brand strategy, consumer research and trend reporting.
iSpyTunes is a music marketing, management, and modern record label focused on emerging artists. Most recently launched, their sync licensing platform helps independent musicians get their music heard on film, television shows, video games and other media projects. Yes, we may be slightly biased, but we are building an expense-free way to get your music placed in media.
Due to the social proof of over 100,000 playlist followers, we are confident in our ability to curate the best possible collection of sounds, no matter the desired genre or mood. Plus, our network of independent artists gives us a competitive advantage in terms of both (1) finding unheard gems and (2) satisfying a low budget. We will do our best to get your music considered for as many placement opportunities as possible, without any upfront fees whatsoever.
Yes, submitting your music is free and easy. Plus, we only retain half of money for placements we secure for your music (you get the other half!). We just began building our sync music library so we don't have any results to reference yet, but we are confident that all parties involved will benefit from this move to expand into the music licensing market.
(p.s. create an account on our website to stay updated on our latest news and developments.)
4. Venice Music
The Venice Sync team licenses music from the Venice music library to top brands, music supervisors, and agencies. They are a trusted source in the music supervision and sync communities and provide benefits to artists, producers, labels, and managers. They offer sync education and creative feedback through weekly office hours and feedback sessions.
They have recent placements in campaigns for brands such as New Balance, Maybelline and Benefit Cosmetics and in shows like Fortnite, MTV, VH1, and Disney. Notably, however, a premium membership of $500/year is required to be considered for any sync and commercial deals.
Music Gateway is an established sync licensing agent that works with music supervisors, broadcasters, TV production companies, advertising agents, and games publishers worldwide to license music and earn revenue for rights holders.
They offer both music supervision and sync licensing placements, and have worked with clients such as Netflix, Disney, Universal, NBC, 21st Century Fox, YouTube, DreamWorks Pictures, and NBC.
Their award-winning music supervision team operates on a flexible project-by-project and budget-by-budget basis and has a proven track record of turning clients' visions into reality. However, be aware that you will have to pay monthly for their services.
6. Bodega Sync
Bodega Sync is a full-service sync licensing agency and a division of Symphonic Distribution, based in Brooklyn. They represent a diverse and highly-curated roster of independent artists, record labels, and producers.
Their creative team has 30+ years of experience in sync licensing and pre-clear the majority of their catalog for "one-stop" licensing, representing all the rights holders. In other words, hey pre-clear the majority of their catalog for "one-stop" licensing and represent all rights holders. They also have their music catalog available on DISCO Libraries, making it accessible to a wide network of top music supervisors.
Epidemic Sound offers royalty-free music for Twitch Streams, YouTube videos, advertisements, or film projects. Creators can easily gain access to the rather large music library and sound effects catalog, and use the music as they please.
For artists, Epidemic Sound’s ecosystem offers creative and commercial opportunities and their music is used by leading content creators, broadcasters, ad agencies and world-renowned brands. Epidemic Sound's music library reaches an impressive 1.5 billion views a day on YouTube and hundreds of millions of streams per month.
They offer short, flexible and non-exclusive agreements with competitive upfront payments and split royalties 50/50 even if you’re no longer working with Epidemic Sound. Artists also get a share of the $2,000,000 yearly Soundtrack bonus, proportional to the performance of their tracks in the player. However, musicians must be citizens or residents of the US and Sweden and must be unaffiliated or willing to opt out of PROs/NROs/collecting societies.
Jinglepunks is an award-winning audio creative agency with offices in NYC, LA, Toronto, and London. The company offers full-service audio solutions for TV, film, radio and brands, working with staff composers, music supervisors and top artists. With a music library of over 500,000 songs and custom composition services, they are a competitive player in the sync licensing music business.
Their exclusive agreement gives them the exclusive right to place your music in client's media content worldwide for 1 year with auto-renewal. They split sync fees 50/50 and collect the music publisher earnings, while you collect the writer's share.
Premier is an award-winning music intelligence and supervision agency that specializes in creating pioneering music strategy, supervision, and composition for advertising, film, television, and podcasts. Although they only have a team of 12 total employees (music supervisors, strategists, and innovators), they boast decades of experience in the music industry and other advertising industries.
Last but not least, Music Supervisor Guide provides indie artists with a different angle to navigate the music licensing scene.
Unlike the other sync licensing companies in this list, Music Supervisor Guide is a coaching program to help independent musicians or other professionals become successful music publishers. The program includes live training, support from in-house staff with successful track records of song placements, and access to top music publishers and supervisors.
The service also provides access to 1000+ music buyers and real film & TV projects looking for music, updated weekly and cross-referenced to the right music buyers.
Best Music Licensing Companies for your goals:
Ok, so we've gone through plenty of options of sync licensing companies. Now, based on your goals, which is the best choice?
Strong Reputation & Track Record
Relationships with key industry players
iSpyTunes (No cost or monthly fees)
Highest Royalty Split
Music Gateway (75%)
In conclusion, sync licensing can be a great way for independent musicians to get their music heard by a wider audience and open up new opportunities for their career. In order to get your first sync placement, make sure you have a catalog of music that you own all of the rights to, then submit your music to sync licensing libraries, record labels, music supervisors or licensing agents.
With a bit of hard work and persistence, you can turn your passion for music into real opportunities in film, television shows, video games, and other media projects.
Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below.
Looking to pursue a sync placement? Click here to submit your music to us for sync opportunities today!
'Til next time!