What are the emerging trends in sync music this year? We asked two of the music industry’s leading music supervisors to relay some stories from the front lines.
The following was created with the support of Songtradr, part of a broader partnership focused on the sync licensing space. Be sure to check our ongoing coverage of this fast-growing sector here.
Once the bastard stepchild of the music industry, sync music is now a surging and highly lucrative area of the business. Part of that expansion comes from exploding demand for music from heavyweight content creators like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video. But advertising has been spreading across different screens for more than a decade, while UGC content remains a universe of its own.
Sprinkle Hollywood films and dozens of well-endowed investors and startups on top of that, and you have a sub-industry that’s blowing up. But what are the trends happening in sync this year? For a taste of that, we asked the duo of Lisa James and Alex Menck, who are Music Supervisor and Director, Client Services at Big Sync Music, respectively.
Here’s a taste of what they’re seeing out there.
Are there any trends you’re seeing in 2021 sync placements or commissions, in terms of genres or specific styles?’
Lisa: It’s very rare that a creative idea is born off the back of a track. Therefore, sync placements are usually dictated firstly by the creative followed shortly by the budget. There will always be a marketplace for our big superstars, but recently I’ve found with budget restrictions off of the back of what’s been a hard year for a lot of brands, we’re seeing more interest in up-and-coming artists.
Alex: I agree with Lisa, but just in case you’re looking for specific names, I’ve received more than one Lizzo and Dua Lipa reference. Upbeat, positive, female energy with attitude has been the trend in the last couple of years.
If you were a composer or musician and looking to increase sync placements in 2021 (and beyond), are there any styles or types of media that seem to be getting the most placements or having the most success?
Lisa: Authenticity is always key. I would never recommend changing your style to increase sync placements. I personally prefer working with musicians and composers who are experts in their field rather than a trick of all trades.
Alex: Again, Lisa is spot on. I would just add that it is also very important that the composer understands the storyteller’s need for editing options with breaks, crescendos, a variety of sounds, and moments within a single track. The instrumental version has to be as entertaining as the original vocal version of the song.
“I’ve received more than one Lizzo and Dua Lipa reference. Upbeat, positive, female energy with attitude has been the trend in the last couple of years.”
Are there certain types of music — including genres or even instrumentation choices — that seem to get placed year after year?
Lisa: There will always be a place for percussive driven tracks in the advertising sector. It crosses over all territories and all content. Percussion is so versatile; you can dial up or dial down the delivery, tempo, and style of this, which is why it’s a trend we see year on year.
Alex: Percussive tracks and soul music. Positive urban beats have also been often requested.