The Sync Market – an opportunity but there can be a problem with being in too many libraries

Looking to get into, have your music considered in, the “sync market” (for TV, ads, film etc)?  Yes, it’s a numbers game, can take a long time to get take up at times – but lucrative if you start to get some placements.

Don’t think you music is appropriate? You are probably wrong – Just listen to TV shows for their music, films, ads  – -just remember every time a door opens in a film and you hear music (even for a brief second)……. someone has written or been paid for that.

If you are considering entering this market opportunity – one of the main questions is ……. Do you go direct, thru a portal(s), a ‘library’ or publisher or  ??? – It depends …. on you (how much time you have to work it, market, connect etc – or not) and your material (getting the right material to the right people/opportunity).

Anyway – if looking at putting your music/talking to a library – – this article by Aaron of Renegade makes some great points — hope its of interest.

The Problem with being with too many libraries ……..
I’m definitely not for signing away the exclusive rights to your music to music publishers and libraries in perpetuity (forever), as some publishers and libraries require the writers they work with do.  Although I’ve done these types of deals a handful of times over the years, in general I’m more attracted to deals where you retain the ability to shop your tracks around through multiple agencies.  The last thing I want is for the tracks that I’ve spent my hard earned money and a lot of effort on, sitting with someone exclusively for years, not generating any revenue.However, there’s a downside to spreading yourself too thin and aligning with too many libraries/publishers also, that is important to be aware of.  For one, if your tracks are being pitched to the same project multiple times, through different non-exclusive publishers and libraries, it can sometimes rub supervisors the wrong way.  In their eyes, if your music is that easy to get and can be found anywhere and everywhere, it creates a perception that your music isn’t as valuable.  It also gives the publisher or library you’re working with very little leverage in getting your music placed.  If a supervisor can get your track from 20 different places, why should they get it from one place vs. another? It also makes it harder for agencies you work with to negotiate really lucrative deals.  This is especially true if you’re placing your music in stock music libraries or “royalty free” libraries.

The head of a major sync agency that I interviewed recently told me a story that illustrated the problem of being in multiple libraries.  This particular agent secured a really lucrative spot in a car commercial for one of the artists she represented.  This particular artist had assured her that they weren’t in any other libraries or with any other agencies and they agreed to sign with her exclusively.

However, unbeknownst to this agency, this band was in fact with multiple different libraries, including some that licensed music very cheaply.  After getting this band a really high end car commercial, the ad agency that created the ad found out their music was in fact with multiple different libraries, some of which were selling the exact same song they used for much, much cheaper.  The ad agency was infuriated, the sync agency’s reputation was jeopardized, a lawsuit ensued and the band ended up losing most of the money.  It was a bad situation for everyone involved.  All because one of the band members was dishonest about who they were working with.

There isn’t really a perfect approach to licensing your music.  This isn’t an exact science and there’s an element of timing and luck involved.  But, be strategic and think carefully about which companies you work with and the type of deals you sign.  Don’t sign any deals that are in conflict with each other.  And whatever you do, be totally honest and upfront with people you’re working with.  The last thing you want to do is jeopardize relationships that you worked hard to form.

If you are working multiple agencies or libraries, make sure everyone is cool with that.  Find out what type of clients agencies you sign with are going to be pitching your tracks to.  Work towards creating strategic partnerships that benefit everyone involved.  Above all, always be ethical and honest with everyone you’re working with.


There ya go – good information to add to/consider in your decision process? Let us know what you think.

An aside – PavMusic operates a boutique non exclusive publishing service into this area as one of our business offerings ..Note – we are not actually promoting this service as the purpose of the post as unless your music both (a) is exceptional and (b) filled an area we were lacking in our library – we are not taking any new artists at this time.….. but you are welcome to read more  about it if interested.
But the reason I mention it – is that we know  a bit about this market area  and may be able to help input into your thinking and planning, things to do and don’t do – (for example, unless they specify otherwise – don’t even consider submitting music to a library or opportunity that is not ‘finished’ including production level ).

Anyway hope you found the article of interest.

Until next time.




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