Should You Be Sync Licensing Your Music?

Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock the Dream

For some artists, TV and Film placement is the ultimate goal, but others never even give it a thought. These kinds of placements are called sync licensing, and can be a huge stream of income for musicians. If it’s something you’ve never heard of or never tried, now’s the time to give it a thought.

The market for sync licensing is huge, think about all the tv and movies being produced, which all need music, not to mention video games, youtube videos and advertisements. And the best part is in this part of the music industry, the quality of music is much more important than fame and credibility. 

There are a few ways to get into the sync licensing world — one is through music catalogues. This is probably the easiest place to start. And, there’s not much work to do after placing your music, the deals will come to you. There are tons of music libraries, so it’s sometimes hard to figure out which ones to place your music in. Do your research and try multiple. The biggest thing is to look for non-exclusive deals, so you can license your music in more than one place. 

Another route is to work with a publisher. A publishing company will do most of the work promoting and getting placements, leaving you more time to work on music. However, you will be sharing royalties with the publisher. These deals will also often be exclusive, so be sure you know what you’re getting into. Never sign a lifetime exclusivity deal as you never know how it’s going to work out in the long run. Try to make any exclusive agreement deals as short as possible.

You can also try to DIY and make your own deals, but it takes a lot of time through trial and error to build these kinds of connections. It’s best to start by reaching out to smaller companies, gamers, and youtube channels with this strategy. 

Although it sounds like a dream set up, it can be very difficult to get into this market and to be successful. It’s also very rare to make a full income from sync licensing. However, it can definitely be a valuable time investment, plus big placements can be good promotion for you as an artist.

If you find you are not having any success with licensing, reevaluate your music. It has to be top broadcasting quality, no demos, and must meet the genres and styles in demand. Also, keep trying different music libraries and researching for opportunities that fit your music best. It can be a long journey to success, so if music licensing sounds right for you get started now!

Sync Licensing: A Look at One of Music's Most Underrated Moneymakers


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