You’ve *finally* got that sync… Now what?
By now we’ve all read blogs (including ours on this very subject), listened to podcasts, attended talks, sat through panels and analysed interviews by a whole mélange of professionals, academics and industry Svengalis in regards to how to get your music synced on TV/adverts/games etc. But once you’ve climbed that proverbial mountain you’d be wrong to think that your hard work is done – oh no, far, far from it.
Granted getting your music a prominent sync is a very difficult thing to do as competition is fierce, but making the most of the use can be the difference between “Oh, well that was nice” and “Blimey, that’s just funded the next record and tour.”
I’m going to start off by giving two different examples of artists who’ve done it very right indeed and then a nice little checklist of things to consider if/when you land that dream sync yourself in the future…
Sync: Skins Series 6 Trailer
Every so often I’ll be sat at my desk listening to all the music we get sent and a song will make me stop doing all the other stuff I’m currently faffing about with at that time (writing emails, tweeting witticisms or inevitably pissing about with figures on some spreadsheet or another). I love these moments, they’re few and far between; rare little soupçons of “Golly gosh, this is quite something I’m listening to here”, they’re the genuine highlight of my job here in Sentric towers and I had one of these said moments when a lovely gentleman called Tarek Musa sent me a track called Rivers which you can listen to here:
You may remember a while ago I did a post-entitled Different People Have Different Ears For Different Needs and in terms of my lugholes; this track is just perfect for sync. It builds all the way through, the female vocal is delivered with the passion matching the lyrics (the way she sings “when the tears run down your face” is just rather magical), the instrumentation, the tempo etc
So I enthusiastically fired the track out to all the usual sync people as is my nature these days and the lovely Kyle who was music supervising series six of Skins clearly had the same ‘golly’ moment mentioned above and wanted to use the track on the trailer for the upcoming teenage-shenanigans-drug-and-sex-fuelled adventures.
So this is where the ‘making a sync work for you’ part comes in.
Originally Rivers was part of a EP titled ‘Kankouran’ released under Tarek’s name and when the Skins trailer sync was confirmed I suggested there was the opportunity to re-release the track and utilise the exposure to get drive some sales. He then removed the EP from all digital stores, rebranded it as a group (which he called ‘Kankouran’), set up a Facebook page which he kept nice and mysterious with a link to stream and buy Rivers and he also gave another track away for free in exchange for an email which was also featured in one of the episodes of that series of Skins.
Here’s the trailer by the way, it’s a rather good sync I think you’ll agree:
Within a fortnight of the trailer being aired his Facebook page had 2k Likes, the track had thousands of streams on SoundCloud and various YouTube videos had a total of over half a million views (which he then commented on each video that it was their music being used and included a link to buy/stream). I was receiving emails daily from labels, management companies, agents, promoters etc all asking about Kankouran and now he’s working with a team compiled of people all with very good reputations indeed.
Example number two:
Artist: Ian Britt
Track: The Shape Of Us
Sync: Parenthood (US TV Show)
Ian’s been slogging away in the music industry for a long time now and has been a full time musician for the past three years thanks to the money he’s primarily made from synchronisation (both the upfront fees, and the money I’m about to mention here). He recorded The Shape Of Us in a toilet using a broken microphone the best part of a decade ago and as you can hear below, it’s a rather beautiful love song:
(on a side note; this is also a good example of how sync can really be a waiting game – this song was always destined to be used at some point due to it being simply a very good song, but it took seven years until that sync came along and it’s now generated more revenue for him than anything he’s ever produced before)
When it was confirmed to be used in Parenthood, I told him to make sure the song was easily findable online as those watching at home will inevitably be searching using 1) the name of the TV show and 2) the prominent lyric within the scene; so anyone Googling ‘Parenthood Shape Of Us’ would be sure to find him at the top of their results. Within a week of the programme being aired Ian had sold 9k copies of the single via iTunes alone (not including Bandcamp sales) which as I write this would have landed him at number 38 in the singles chart this week – pretty impressive if you consider the fact he’s doing this all by himself.
Add to that a whole host of new US fans, email addresses, Facebook likes, catalogue sales, merch sales etc – it results in a hell of a lot he very well might have missed out on without spending that afternoon making the song both easy to find and buy online
Here is the sync for those who fancied a gander:
So what to take from all this then? Well here are my tips on what to consider…
1) Make sure yo’ SEO is up to scratch, bro’
SEO (search engine optimisation) is key; make sure that within the page you want people to find your track (SoundCloud, BandCamp, Facebook etc) it contains the programme title, the episode name and the lyrics. You have to consider the fact that unless it’s obvious, the majority of the people searching for your song won’t know what the title is and will only have the lyrics they heard on the programme to go off.
2) Get on Shazam
Shazam is brilliant. I’ve personally spent a lot of money on music from Shazam-ing tracks I’ve heard on TV shows and movies and it would appear I’m not the only one as Music Week reported recently that they currently have a database of over 250 million users. To be on Shazam ensure your music is available to buy on iTunes (which I bloody well hope it is) and just follow this handy and simple guide.
3) Get more than just a sale
So once they’ve found you and bought the track (which you’d hope they would do after putting in the effort to get this far in the first place) then offer them something more. Chances are they might know nothing about you until this moment so offer them a freebie or two in exchange for an email, tell them how to connect with you online (Facebook/Twitter/newsletter etc), just be nice to them eh?
4) Brag about it, but in moderation
If you know the airdate of the show then tell everyone to tune in to watch the glorious moment in action and then be sure to include it in your bio afterwards as it’s selling points like that which get people like me to pay more attention to you.
That should do.
What I’m reading this week; Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Hope you’re well,
~ by Sentric on November 19, 2012.