Sync License – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Music Business Glossary

What is a Sync License?

A Sync License, short for synchronization license, is a legal agreement between a music rights holder (such as a record label, music publisher, or individual artist) and a third party (such as a film, TV, advertising, or video game producer) that grants permission to synchronize a musical composition with visual media. This means that the music can be used as background music, theme music, or any other form of audio accompaniment in conjunction with the visual content.

How are Sync Licenses obtained?

Sync Licenses are typically obtained through music publishers, record labels, or directly from the artist. The process usually involves contacting the rights holder or their representative, negotiating the terms of the license (including fees and usage rights), and signing a legal agreement. In some cases, music supervisors or licensing agencies may also help facilitate the licensing process by connecting rights holders with potential users.

What are the different types of Sync Licenses?

There are several types of Sync Licenses, each with its own specific terms and conditions. Some common types include:

1. Film and TV Sync License: This type of license allows a musical composition to be synchronized with a film or television show. It may include rights for both the master recording and the underlying composition.

2. Advertising Sync License: This type of license allows a musical composition to be used in an advertising campaign, such as a commercial or promotional video.

3. Video Game Sync License: This type of license allows a musical composition to be used in a video game, either as background music or as part of the gameplay.

What is the importance of Sync Licenses in the music industry?

Sync Licenses play a crucial role in the music industry by providing an additional revenue stream for rights holders. They also help artists and composers reach new audiences and gain exposure through visual media. Additionally, Sync Licenses can help enhance the emotional impact of a visual project by pairing it with the right music.

How are royalties paid for Sync Licenses?

Royalties for Sync Licenses are typically paid to the rights holder based on a negotiated fee structure. This may include an upfront synchronization fee, as well as ongoing royalties based on factors such as the duration of the music’s use, the territory in which it is used, and the media platform on which it is featured. Royalties are usually collected and distributed by performing rights organizations (PROs) such as ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC.

What are some common terms and conditions in Sync License agreements?

Some common terms and conditions in Sync License agreements include:

1. Duration of Use: The agreement will specify how long the music can be used in the visual project, whether it is a one-time use or for a specific period of time.

2. Territory: The agreement will outline where the music can be used geographically, such as in a specific country or region.

3. Exclusivity: The agreement may specify whether the rights holder is granting exclusive or non-exclusive rights to use the music.

4. Cue Sheets: The user may be required to submit cue sheets to the rights holder to track the music’s usage and ensure proper royalty payments.

Overall, Sync Licenses are a valuable tool for both music rights holders and visual media producers, allowing them to collaborate and create compelling content that resonates with audiences.