Music Licensing Made Easy

Our top tips for getting your music sync ready

Most styles of music have the potential to be paired with visual media. We’ve licensed a wide range of genres for sync use from Mexican mariachi to soft and sleepy shoe-gaze, and moody blues to pulsating beats. Sync licensing revenue can be a great income stream for artists and songwriters, but if you want your tracks to be in with a chance of being synced there are a few steps to take on board.

1. Trust your ears and listen to what’s being licensed elsewhere. Take on board what kind of music is currently getting used for adverts, games, TV and film. Do you notice any particular styles, genres or themes? Check out sites like Tunefind to find music that has been used in TV and movies, or for music used in advertising, Sounds Familiar is pretty handy. There are some pretty typical themes that occur in advertising. Songs that have a positive feel-good vibe, or references to sunshine, coming home, togetherness, young, fun and free can often be heard. Brands are trying to build a sense of trust so positive music is the way forward here.

2. Get your music up to scratch. Music supervisors expect high production standards for their productions, so it’s essential that your music is sonically outstanding to be in with a chance of making the cut. It never hurts to get feedback from other musicians in your network. It should go without saying that tracks should also be professionally mixed and mastered.

3. Polish up that metadata. A crucial step that is often overlooked! Poorly labelled tracks are a major source of irritation for music supervisors (aka music supes) so spend some time getting your metadata in tip-top condition before sending music out. Ensure that each track has the artist name, track title, genre and contact information at the very least. Adding in tunecodes, ISWCs and ISRCs are a welcome bonus and will help PROs get your performance income accredited correctly, and you paid!

Also ensure you create rich and relevant metadata. Accurate and keyword-rich metadata is essential to ensure your music is discoverable within SoundVault. What makes your track stand out from the rest when a buyer is searching the system? It’s time to think like a film/ad producer when you’re describing your music and ensure you have plenty of accurate keywords. Aside from describing the musical attributes, spend some time creating tags that relate to the mood, movement, texture and emotion that your music conveys. If your music has a similar vibe to another well known artist or song then mention it.

4. Correctly name / label your tracks. Yes this is an extension of the metadata point, but it’s so important it needed to be said loud and clear. It sounds obvious but DO make sure you include your name too!

5. Make sure you have instrumental versions available. It does really depend on the production and client that’s looking to license your music, but around 70% of syncs are for instrumental tracks, which is often due to TV and ads having a voice over. At the very least have instrumentals versions, but if possible sending us cut downs and stems can be very useful!

6. Get to grips with rights. When music supervisors are searching for music for their production, they want the process to be as quick and easy as possible. Pre-clearing both the master and publishing rights to a song can save a lot of a time, and will make your music more appealing knowing that some of the legal technicalities have already been addressed. If pre-clearing isn’t an option, ensure you build a good relationship with your artist’s publisher so that you can communicate quickly if a possible sync deal is on the table.

7. Network to build up your contacts. There are an array of fantastic conferences, seminars and events out there. Go, meet people, make connections and then maintain those networks!

8. Pitch your music appropriately to the right people. There are so many avenues for sync: film, TV, games, advertising, corporate, online, apps, radio… find the right avenue for your artist’s music and approach supervisors who are working on projects where your music will fit. Music co-ordinators and assistants are a great place to start building up contacts. Or cut through and have your music represented on SoundVault – we have daily visits and maintain an end-to-end solution for your metadata, music files and pitching tools along with dashboard displays and analytics.

9. A personal friendly approach gives a good first impression. Don’t ever send generic emails to music supes en masse. Give yourself a chance to be heard by ensuring your email has a personal touch and give the recipient an idea of what type of music you’re sending them. If they have a similar vibe to another well-known artist, mention it. Send playlists they can stream and include a download link. 

9. Be patient. Landing a sync deal is hard! In recent years supply definitely outweighs demand. High volumes of good quality production music means great news for buyers, but it does mean the market is more competitive for suppliers! Lots of factors affect whether a track will make the cut or not: budgets, personal taste, and mood all play a part in the decision chain.

The sync business, like many sectors of the music industry, is highly competitive. Taking note of these simple steps will make sure your tracks are sync ready. Don’t forget to keep us up-to-date with any new exciting tracks you’re working on. You can always add new music to your SoundVault account, and can also edit any tracks you’ve already uploaded if you feel the metadata needs a freshen up!

Once your music is on board you have the perfect platform to share your library within your music industry network. 

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