Cynical Syncs

Within the past eighteen months I’ve been asked by a whole mélange of sources to give them my thoughts regarding the world of synchronisation. Ranging from journalists writing pieces on how it’s more important than ever to utilise this source due to dwindling record sales to puppy eyed students who are writing a dissertation regarding how a big sync can be the launch pad for an artists career.

When asked by the latter recently I realized that the world of music synchronisation appears to be misunderstood so I thought a cheeky blog post containing yours truly’s humble musings was in order. This next rather succinct paragraph was the quote I offered to the knowledge hungry young chap:

“Synchronisation is the abused mistress of the music industry with artists/management/labels and even publishers completely underestimating what it can (and more often can’t) achieve for the track in question. It is seen as a guaranteed big pay cheque with instant and invaluable exposure, but my experience proves otherwise. Granted, you may get a decent bit of pocket money out of it, but ultimately the big money goes to already established artists and when it comes to exposure; you’ll only see the profile of the artist increase if there is a strong marketing campaign around the placement.”

I must make clear here that I’m not trying to ‘turn off’ anyone regarding the world of sync because its benefits are plentiful, obvious and there to be seen. I just thought it needed to be known (from my research and first hand experience) that although the so called ‘O.C. Effect’ is still alive; like the dog that’s been in the family since you were a toddler, it’s back legs are starting to pack in and a ‘trip to the farm’ might not be to far off the cards.

Music has always played a part within the world of TV, but it was the sun kissed, bronzed and ultimately unobtainable goings on of The O.C and the music supervision skills of Chop Shop Music that spurned its namesake’s effect. Grey’s Anatomy should also get an honorable mention for undeniably proving that:

Death (and/or) Breakup + Emotive Snow Patrol Song = Crying Women.

The same few examples always get thrown up when discussing the powerful effect a good US TV sync has had on an artist’s career; Ingrid Michaelson, Imogen Heap and the aforementioned Snow Patrol being the three main culprits, but it doesn’t appear to have done too much since (albeit nowhere near to the same magnitude).

So why is this? My argument is it’s down to awareness. How many artists are savvy enough to ensure the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) terms “PROGRAMME + KEY LYRIC USED IN SCENE” or “PROGRAMME + ‘what was the song used in the scene when’” are ready and in place for the air date of the show? Remember that announcing it on Twitter, Myspace, Facebook etc isn’t going to out rightly attain you any new fans, just confirm to the ones tenacious enough to get there that it was indeed you.

Think about it as simply as possible:

  • If I’m on your mailing list then you telling me you’re going to be on PROGRAMME, although nice to know, isn’t going to achieve too much in terms of raising your profile because I’m obviously already aware of you thus me being a member of said list.
  • If I hear a song I’ve never heard before on PROGRAMME and said PROGRAMME isn’t one that posts its tracklistings online then how am I going to know it is you? What do I search for? Where do I go?

A good example of this is artist X (who I frustratingly won’t name for you all). Artist X within the space of a typical ‘album cycle’ of 24 months had a few high profile US TV show placements including Veronica Mars, Cold Case and twice appeared on One Tree Hill. To start off, that is exposure the majority of people reading this would love to attain for their music/artists, but the humbling fact of the matter is if I did indeed name them, there is a good chance you won’t have heard of them.

Why not? Because they did very little around the syncs to make people aware they were happening. The most web savvy of their newly found fans did manage to track them down and subsequently purchased their music on iTunes and the songs used in the syncs spiked quite highly if you tracked their sales. But ‘quite highly’ in this case was relative to the previous weeks/months sales and therefore isn’t anything more then a few hundred extra downloads and as we all know; a few hundred extra downloads means pittance in the grand scheme of an artists career.

The fact that they did sell an extra few hundred copies of the songs used in the sync placement really does highlight the wasted opportunity it was; if they had a number of people this size determined to track down the artist in question and spend money on their music without them doing anything whatsoever to help them, then imagine what could have been with a bit of planning?

The point?

Landing a sync is at its most basic a good opportunity, but it’s up to you to make it realize it’s potential.

What I’m Listening to this week: Kowalski and Sound of Guns debut album

Get Back – Kowalski by  SentricMusic

What I’m Reading this week: number9dream by David Mitchell

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and listen to the Podcast

Stay tuned


p.S Fancy winning a Peavey Amp? Course you do. Click here then.

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~ by Sentric on March 17, 2010.

One Response to “Cynical Syncs”

  1. […] Cynical Syncs « Sentric Music’s Blog by sP. […]

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