Music Licensing 101 – What is Sync Licensing?
As an independent recording artist or musician, it is important to generate revenue from as many places as possible. Digital streaming royalties, merchandise sales, and concerts are some of the most common ways that recording artists and musicians make money. Another way artists can generate revenue is through licensing their music for TV, film, commercials, video games, and other visual media. This is called sync licensing. In this article, we cover what sync licensing is, how sync licensing can make you money, and how to pitch yourself to sync licensing opportunities. Interested in more tips on the music industry? Check out all of our free resources for recording artists and those who work with them.
What is a synchronization license?
A synchronization license, or a sync license, is a contract between parties that authorizes one part to synchronize a song with moving images on a screen. What this means in simple terms is an artist is allowing someone else to combine their music with visuals. Sync licenses are required to be signed by the recording and composition owner. Sync licenses grant permission to use the composition of the song in a work. However, a master use license will also need to be obtained to use the master recording in a work.
What is a music supervisor?
A music supervisor is a person that combines music with visual media. The Guild of Music Supervisors defines a music supervisor as “a qualified professional who oversees all music related aspects of film, television, advertising, video games and other existing or emerging visual media platforms as required.” Music supervisors are oftentimes responsible for deciding the music that will be used in TV and film because they have to make it work.
How do you get paid for sync licensing your music?
The songwriters and publishers of the song are paid a performance royalty, collected by their Performance Rights Organization, or PRO, when the work the sync licensing contract was created for is streamed or broadcasted. The parties that created the music are oftentimes paid an upfront fee for the work in addition to collected royalties.
What are micro-sync royalties?
You may also hear the term micro-sync royalties. Micro-sync royalties are usually performance and mechanical royalties collected when music is synchronized on online platforms such as YouTube and TikTok.
How do I get sync licensing contracts for my music?
There are a number of ways to pitch yourself to sync licensing opportunities. One way is by finding the contact information of music supervisor at film studios and the contact information of team members of sync licensing companies and sending them a professional email with a link to download all of your music in one place. There are websites where you can host your songs for music supervisors and sync licensing companies to search for and license. One of those website is Songtradr. However, with a lot of songs to search for, it can be hard to separate yourself from the pack on sites like these. Music supervisors, film studios, and sync licensing companies also use websites like Music Xray and work with companies like United Masters to allow artists and agencies to submit to specific opportunities. Finally, you can hire a company like DCR to find and pitch you to sync licensing opportunities using these methods. Want to hire us to help you with sync licensing? Sign up for an artist management or artist development package or contact us for more information.
Navigate the music industry with confidence.
Have any questions about sync licensing? Reach out to our team and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We know the music industry can be complicated. Looking for more tips like these? View all of our free artist resources.