The Independent Music Advantage in Sync Licensing
Thanks to streaming – Independent artists from around the world are constantly being discovered on New Music playlists. These playlists are connecting consumers with fresh music faster than ever before. Did you know that in the world of sync licensing, placing independent music is often favoured over chart-topping hits?
Why independent music is better for sync placements:
1) Quick Clearance – In most cases an independent artist won’t have a deal with other co-publishers, or even many writers, making it quicker to get 100% approval for the song’s use. If a songwriter is signed to a Publisher, they will have to provide approval as well. You can imagine… A song that has 5-7 writers on it, 5-7 additional of Publishers / Managers involved… It’s difficult to clear quickly. And if approval isn’t provided in time, the Music Supervisor will have to switch gears and find a suitable equivalent (ie: a quick clear indie track).
2) Lower Fees – Let’s make one thing clear: Music holds value so don’t sell yourself short. Of course, It is up to your discretion to assess what value is being presented to you in any deal. Indie fees are typically low, so be realistic in your negotiations. Value in Syncs can arguably be defined in two ways; Earnings vs Exposure. Earnings: the upfront fee for the placement as well as publishing royalties collected. Exposure: the potential viewership numbers that the placement is projected to see. Standard fee amounts & audience potential vary greatly in every market.
3) Less Time Spent Negotiating – Music Supervisors realize that they’re providing valuable exposure to independent artists. By knowing this, they have the advantage in negotiation. Our advice in this case is to really think about how much value the offer proposes to you, and know what your bottom line is. Also, If the placement is significant, consider readjusting your marketing plans to better leverage the exposure of the song. Always remember that your music holds value and that every good deal is beneficial for both parties. It’s OK to ask for a slightly higher fee (respectfully) as long as it’s inline with the initial offer. No harm in asking, right?
4) Same Level of Impact – Familiarity is important in media, but it’s also very expensive in the world of licensing. Songs that are hits or that have legacy are the most expensive for the simple reason that they have the power to instantly connect a viewer emotionally. The benefit to syncing an independent song is that you can achieve a similar level of impact, for much less up front… and if a song is placed by a band or artist that is blowing up, it can really help amplify things for both the placement and the artist’s career.
A Few Words of Advice – The music market is saturated because creating music is becoming easier and less expensive over time. It is imperative for musicians, songwriters and composers to be smart about their branding. Make sure that your best material is easy to find, and that you’re easy to contact. If you’re directly pitching your music to a Music Supervisor make sure that you are also supplying them with the ability to download it.
(Photo source: Hybrid Studios)