UNDER THE LABEL

sync

WHO

Creative Licensing Coordinators, Film & TV Licensing

WHAT

Placing and licensing music in movies, TV shows, trailers, or any media.

THE BASICS

The Synchronization (Sync) department - also called Film & TV Creative Licensing in certain labels - works with songwriters and their catalogs to find new ways to license their song rights to any and all types of visual media such as Film, TV, Advertising, Video Games, and other audio/visual media. Their main goal is to create promotional opportunities for an artist and make money off of that placement.

​This department is in charge of the whole music licensing process from pitching songs to music supervisors and finding the perfect music to fit a scene to negotiating use fees, licensing music, and overseeing clearance processes. They work across the roster using all music released under the label, frontline and catalog.

​They work very closely with the film industry, studios, network television, trailer houses, and music supervisors. More recently, they started working with video game production companies.

​Sync is both a very creative and very business-oriented department. A strong music sensibility is needed to fit the right songs to the right visual media, and a strong business background is necessary to negotiate the best deals.

JOBS

SAMPLE LICENSING

Working on audio sync. They assist artists and producers with obtaining sample license clearances when one is used in a song. They research master rights information and publishing administration information to request sample clearance.

CREATIVE LICENSING

They are in charge of finding placement opportunities for their roster. They read creative briefs and find songs that best fit a scene. They maintain regular contact with music supervisors to preserve relationships and pitch new songs.

SENIOR DIRECTOR/VP/HEADs

They negotiate the cost of music for film, television, and ads/brands. They manage complicated clearance issues, including custom song agreements, unique financial models, and music package deals for projects.

STREAMING/SALES

They make sure the record has been distributed to DSPs around the world; Spotify, Apple Music but also Gaana and Jioaavn (India), KuGou and QQ (China), etc.

*sometimes the part of the international sales is centralized for all labels under one group* For example, Sony's Global Digital Business & US Sales record division deals with international sales for all Sony Labels (RCA, Arista, Columbia, etc.)​

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Everyone has the same goal, to create new opportunities for the music they represent. They need to find different and interesting ways to reinvent songs that already exist.

Every week we receive creative briefs from music supervisors describing what type of music they are actively looking for. Our team reads those briefs and looks for songs to recommend for placement. We are also constantly reaching out to them with new releases, especially long time tv shows that we already have an established relationship with. Generally, my time is split between being in the office or other people's offices for meetings (e.g. advertising or TV studios, creative executives, music supervisors). A lot of my job is business oriented, negotiating fees and contracts, and overseeing clearances but part of my job is also pitching new and old songs to cool new projects.

Film & TV @Interscope / Sync @Primary Wave

THE TASKS

Who they work with and what they do 

PUBLISHERS

- Coordinate and negotiate licensing agreements - both, the master recording and publishing side need clearance. The label represents the master and the publisher represents the publishing.

FILM INDUSTRY

- Receive creative briefs from music supervisors and propose music choices to fit the scene.
- Pitch new songs to studios or network television to place in upcoming shows and movies.

SONGWRITERS

- Negotiate splits between the different songwriters

PUBLISHERS

- Coordinate and negotiate licensing agreements - both, the master recording and publishing side need clearance. The label represents the master and the publisher represents the publishing.

FILM INDUSTRY

- Receive creative briefs from music supervisors and propose music choices to fit the scene.
- Pitch new songs to studios or network television to place in upcoming shows and movies.

SONGWRITERS

- Negotiate splits between the different songwriters

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

- Distribute artists singles & albums to DSPs on time for the release
- Negotiate business partnerships with DSPs -- Examples:  
        ° Reduced royalties rate per stream for artists of a specific label in exchange for free ad credits
        ° ‘Artist Social Boost’: DSPs are granted advertising access to an artist's Facebook or Instagram to run
           ads offering their followers 3 months free premium. In exchange, the label gets a portion of the profit from the fans signing up through the artist's link
- Partner with DSPs for marketing initiatives such as:
        ° Billboard in Time Square
        ° Playlist takeovers
        ° Example: Olivia Rodrigo's Car Wash with Spotify in LA.

PUBLISHING

- Licence songs before release
- Make sure the metadata is complete (every detail about the song is filled out - producers, singer, date, title, etc.)

SALES

- Curate playlists on streaming platforms to promote their artists
- Establish the number of copies of an album that needs to be produced
- Make sure the production and delivery runs smoothly (with Production Dep)

QUICK RUNDOWN OF SONG LICENSING

A music supervisor reaches out to the label with interest in a song. They provide 3 elements for a possible contract and give a scene description and information on the use of the song.

With those elements in mind, the Sync Department defines the licensing fees for the use of that song. The amount usually depends mostly on the artist, scene description and length, and part of the song used.

The label asks for the artist's approval; both on the budget and the use of the song (which project it will be featured on).

Important to know: For a song to be used, it needs the approval of both the master recording (label) and the publisher. This means all songwriters have to approve the use of the song too! And if an artist is also a songwriter they need to approve it twice, once through the label and once through the publisher.

Most Favored Nation (MFN)

This clause ensures parity between the rights holders (publisher and master). It means the amount you pay the publisher should be the same as the one you pay to the master owner. If one quote is higher (either master or publisher), the fee should be raised or decreased to be equalized.

Once negotiated, the deal has to be sent to the publishers for approval.

This step is necessary legally to ensure that the Most Favored Nation (MFN) clause is respected.

If a music supervisor confirms the use of a song then the license is created.

On their side, they will have to pay a fee for the use of the composition (copyright to the publisher) and a fee for the master (to the label).

SKILLS

“For NY and LA, there is always a member of our team at shows to organize business encounters, escort our partners backstage. It’s kind of a concierge service”
- Tour and Special Events @Interscope  

TIME SPENT

​"When there is no covid I travel a lot so I am divided between being with the artist on tours and promotion - with visits to my offices for strategy and planning meetings around the world and in London with my team on a day-to-day basis when we are not traveling. My boss travels much more than I do so we are used to working remotely and maintaining constant communication."

CHECKLIST

Is a degree required?

The recommended majors for the sync department are Marketing and Advertising, Finance, Music Business/Entertainment Law, and Publishing.

GLOSSARY

Synchronisation Licence

An agreement between the owner of a copyrighted song and someone who wants to use it. It permits the user to use the song in a video format (Social Media, Video Games, Movies, TV Shows, etc.)

Most Favored Nation (MFN)

This clause ensures parity between the rights holders (publisher and master). It means the amount you pay the publisher should be the same as the one you pay to the master owner. If one quote is higher (either master or publisher), the fee should be raised or decreased to be equalized.

Written by Lou.
Designed by Lou.
Published August 13th 2021
Copyright © 2021 Gen Admission