August, 11, 2017
Synch Tips for the Unsigned Artist
By Anna Romanoff

In the synch world, an end title placement is a coveted spot. It’s a moment where the audience’s focus is solely on the music, and therefore great exposure for any artist. This is especially true for hip-hop, which tends to be buried in ‘club’ scenes or other background uses so that it doesn’t distract from any dialogue on screen. However, if you ask me we’re currently in a golden age for hip-hop in television. Between shows that focus on the genre (Atlanta, Empire, etc.) or shows that just embrace hip-hop as part of their musical identity (Insecure, Master of None, Being Mary Jane, etc.) there are plenty of opportunities to get hip-hop music synched. This last Sunday, as the latest episode of Issa Rae’s series Insecure came to an end, viewers were treated to the sugar trap stylings of Rico Nasty with her new single “Poppin’”. That same night on Starz’s Power, “Grind” by King Pen & The Lit Fuse could be heard as credits rolled. Both are relatively new artists, but they somehow managed to find their way into that highly desired end title slot. That is one of the benefits of television; things move quickly and music supervisors are always looking to feature what’s fresh. While that’s great for artists and audiences, it makes for a complicated balancing act for supervisors who have to try and find the best new music, while still making sure it will clear in time. On that note, here are 5 tips to making sure your music is synch friendly: 

  1. Make sure you are registered on ASCAP or BMI (or an alternate PRO). It’s not enough for a supervisor to be able to find your track on a blog, they need to be able to contact you and any other writers/publishers involved.
  2. Know the language and the process. If a someone asks you if you control 100% of synch and master, you should be able to answer that question (by the way, if you do in fact control 100% of synch and master, you’re already on your way to becoming a supervisor’s best friend). Know what rights are typical to give away, and what rights aren’t. You don’t want to be taken advantage of but you also don’t want to ask for something that even mega-artists don’t get.
  3. Make sure you have your writer splits figured out. Don’t make a supervisor negotiate splits between you, other writers, producers, etc. Everyone should know their share and stick to it.
  4. Speaking of splits, make sure your samples are clear! If you’re trying to get a song licensed that has samples in it (which is already a red flag in the eyes of many supervisors), you should make sure that those samples will be clearable. This is the ‘don’t sample Rihanna and then be surprised when the song becomes un-licensable’ rule.
  5. When pitching, make sure everyone is on board. If you are in the position of being able to pitch a song to a supervisor, make sure all the other writers/artists are on board. You’ll only frustrate supervisors by pitching a song at a certain price and then having them find out late in the game that a featured artist or another writer isn’t going to go along with the fee.
TAGS: synch, synch licensing, insecure, issa rae, samples, pitch, independent, unsigned