07 Feb What is music synchronisation? Unlock the answers here
As a music consultancy, much of our work here at Record-Play revolves around music synchronisation. This may be a term you’re already familiar with but if not, don’t worry – the definition is pretty straightforward.
Music synchronisation (or ‘sync’ for short) simply means the setting of music to moving image, a process that sees the sound put in sync with the visual – hence ‘sync’. Think of Mr Blonde in Reservoir Dogs slicing a policeman’s ear off to the sound of Stealer’s Wheel, or how the John Lewis Christmas ad has become an event every year. That’s the sort of thing we’re talking about, and in order to synchronise music like this, whoever is making the advert, film or computer game has to obtain a music synchronisation licence (again, commonly shortened to ‘sync licence’).
However, while the definition of ‘sync’ may be straight-forward, the process itself rarely is…
There are many reasons why songwriters write songs – to help soothe the turmoil in their soul, to rail against the injustices of the world, to shock, to terrify, to get revenge on people who have wronged them, or just to make themselves famous. Few are the songwriters who match lyrics and melodies in the hope that it might one day be featured in an advert for, say, toothpaste. Yet if you’re a recording artist, then one day an agency related to the marketing department of a major toothpaste manufacturer may approach you with exactly that proposition.
If that happens, you may find yourself in a dilemma. Do you want your music to be used in said advert? And if you do, how much should you expect to be paid for the privilege?
Helping artists prepare for that possibility is one the reasons why we’ve written Unlocking The Sync: A band’s guide to brands, and a brand’s guide to bands. A pay-what-you-feel eGuide to the often complex relationship between music makers and music users, it’s written in an informative and plain-speaking style by two-time Music Business Writer of the Year Eamonn Forde alongside our own Kier Wiater Carnihan. If you feel you need some guidance through the murky world of music licensing and brand engagement, then this is the book for you.
Unlocking The Sync is available now from MusicTank, the University of Westminster’s music specialist think tank. Download it here. Update: All proceeds will be donated to Help Musicians, an independent charity providing help, support and opportunities to empower musicians at all stages of their lives.