In the second episode of the Musiio podcast, Charlot Henzen, Head of Sync for Domino Records and Publishing, lends invaluable advice to musicians navigating the sync landscape. Drawing from her dual experience as an artist and sync professional, Henzen lays out the fundamentals for artists to sync their music effectively. Here are some of the key takeaways.
Listen to the whole episode here:
1. Write Songs from the Heart
"Music just needs to come from your heart and core," Charlot firmly believes, urging songwriters to maintain authenticity. She warns that tailoring music solely for sync opportunities may lead to art that lacks sincerity, urging artists to prioritise genuine expression over strategic composition.
2. Find Your Niche with Covers
Henzen values originality in covers, suggesting artists do thorough research to find their unique angle. "When I realised there wasn't a female dreamy version of 'The Boys of Summer', I knew I had something special," she shares. Her success story with an '80s classic is a testament to how finding and exploiting a niche can pay off in the sync world.
3. Financial Stability and Artist Longevity
"Make sure you have a day job," is Charlot's practical tip, specifically referring to employment within the music industry, such as at a label or publisher. Working adjacent to your art allows for valuable learning and networking opportunities. This approach helps artists avoid the "pressure cooker" of financial reliance on their art, promoting a healthier, longer-lasting creative career.
4. Perfect Your Pitch
When approaching music supervisors, Henzen advises keeping pitches concise and information-rich. "Introduce your band, mention your genre, provide comparisons, and tie your music to the supervisor's past work," she instructs. Including genres and moods is critical, as supervisors often rely on these as search criteria to rediscover music in their inboxes.
"Make yourself searchable in the metadata and make sure that your links stay active," she adds, stressing the importance of accessibility for future reference. This strategy prevents the frustrating "access denied" error that can lead to missed opportunities.
5. Not All Syncs Are Huge
"Big ad campaigns...are once in a career events," Charlot remarks, advising musicians to aim for regular, smaller syncs instead. Artists can pursue more frequent, smaller sync placements.
Also, the vibrant UK scene offers numerous outlets for independent artists' work in TV and film, which, although not always high-paying, provide substantial exposure and supplement income—"It's about two or three grand for a TV or film sync," confirms Henzen, highlighting sync as a vital component of an artist's revenue stream.
6. Avoid Samples and Keep Links Alive
"Stay clear of samples," Henzen stresses. Samples add complexity and reduce the chance of a sync placement due to the extra layer of approval required – even if you’ve cleared it. "The easier your song is to clear, the better your chances."
Besides the music itself, Henzen underlines the necessity of reliable file sharing. To maintain interest, ensure that "your links stay active and don't expire," which makes your music consistently accessible to music supervisors over time.
7. Instrumental and Clean Versions
Henzen also highlights the need for versatility in the music offered for syncs. She advises artists to "always have your instrumental versions mastered" to cater to different sync uses. Whether it's the full track, an instrumental, or a version with backing vocals, having these variations readily available is crucial. She also points to the absolute necessity for clean versions: "In ads, no chance with swear words." For a sync to work seamlessly, providing clean versions is as critical as it is strategic, enabling broader use across various media without content restrictions.
Watch the entire episode below:
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