This is blog is written by Teni Bada, Intern at Anara Publishing.
Since beginning my Sync and A&R internship at Anara Publishing, one of my main focuses has been on expanding the company’s visibility and pool of talents within the Nigerian scene. As an aspiring music supervisor, I recognise the value of sync in bridging unique partnerships between artists and brands, and thanks to the Association of Independent Music (AIM), I now have a better understanding of the markets, trends, and the dos and don’ts when pursuing sync placements. In addition to being a global marketplace for independent music makers, publishers, artist managers and music supervisors, the summit shared some valuable networking, music licencing tips as well as database tools. With a range of expert speakers like Ian Neil, who imparted his years of professional wisdom on us, my first AIM Sync 2023 conference definitely left me some key takeaways:
- Paying attention to detail.
The ‘Bespoke Compositions in Sync’ panel was helpful in identifying where some of the most persisting trends in sync can be found. By drawing from their experiences in the industry, each speaker shared their ‘dos and don’ts’ of making and pitching bespoke music for productions.
What resonated with me the most was the trends that No Sheet Music’s music supervisor Kadambari Chauhan brought to light. One thing she took notice of when receiving briefs and pitches was the demand for romantic music in a wide range of productions. She spoke on the tendency to use romantic serenades in a way that juxtapose the nature of what is happening on screen, which directors use to draw strong emotional associations with the scene. Surprisingly, this style of reframing romantic music is typically sought after in sci-fi, thriller, action or dark melancholic scenes. This talk reminded me of the importance of paying attention to detail in order to recognise those sync trends that could be easily glossed over.
- Placing the art of storytelling at the heart of Sync.
Top Boy’s music supervisor Toby Williams and composer Mickey J gave quite an exciting case study talk on the process of working within a production team and how the art of storytelling through soundtrack and score curation is key for a successful sync.
Music supervisors create the bridge between audio and visual media, and in addition to that storytelling element, budgeting is as important as ever when fulfilling a film maker’s vision. The panel gave an understanding of the dynamics and expectations held between music supervisors, composers, publishers, labels, recording artists, directors and scriptwriters. For instance, it reminded artists and publishers to be considerate of music supervisors’ time and capacities. Before submitting a track, it is important to pay attention to the direction of a storyline to ensure that your song(s) fit the exact nature of the production.
- Do your research before tackling a new market.
Speakers Jessica Ibgui and Christian Hurst gave territory overviews of both the French and Canadian markets and provided useful guides for non-major, boutique publishers like Anara looking to expand their networks into other regions.
Comparing the markets in France and Canada, I learnt that what is a trend in one region may be invaluable in another. For example, video game syncs do not hold the same value in France as they do in the Canadian market where the majority of these licenses come from. Meaning that video game synching is much less prioritised, if at all, in non-US/Canadian territories, which could very well include the whole of Europe, Africa and Asia. In both markets however, bespoke compositions (Canada) and modern orchestrations (France) are highly valued in Ads. The panels also shared some useful online services that I can imagine would benefit the likes of independent self-published music makers who may not have access to exhaustive market research tools.
- The real value of connecting and network building.
It is commonly understood within the music industry that building an extensive network of connections ensures a smooth and far-reaching career, specifically in the sync landscape. Whether as a publisher, recording artist, manager, music supervisor or producer, network building is what gives an artist access to great sync placements, and a music supervisor access to unique budget friendly tracks, as seen in the Top Boy case. Acting as global marketplace for such relationships to be built, AIM remains instrumental in connecting like-minded individuals around the world who play a range of different roles in the sync, music and media landscape. I would advise anyone in the industry to attend as many events as possible to continue to grow their connections.
Overall, the 2023 AIM Sync conference was undoubtedly an experience filled with valuable insights and inspiration. I highly recommend attending the event to anyone looking to gain deeper perspectives into the Sync market and expand their network! And I look forward to attending as many Sync Drinks events as possible, here in London and around the world.