How Can I Make Money From My Publishing Rights? Pt.2

Part 2: Synchronisation & TV placements


Synchronisation is the act of placing an artist’s music over a visual; be it an advert, a TV programme, a film, a video game etc. From global Mastercard adverts to small online promos; major EA Games releases to low-budget app games, there are numerous sync opportunities which can provide valuable income for artists at all levels.


So, how does sync work?


Adverts/Games/Films etc

Let’s say big car company X wants to use your song for their new advert. To do this they need to get the ‘OK’ from two copyright holders; the person who looks after the recording (usually the recording artists and record label) and the person who looks after the song (usually the songwriters and publisher). When the big car company says they have £10,000 to spend on the music for the advert, that means the money is to be split evenly between the two copyright holders. So if you have a ‘traditional’ 50/50 split with both your publisher and record label then the money would be split as follows:


Artist: 50% of the publishing fee + 50% of the master recording fee = £5,000

Record Label: 50% of the master recording fee = £2,500

Publisher: 50% of the publishing fee = £2,500


Of course, if you own your master and publishing rights then you would keep the full £10,000 but, whilst not impossible, it’s highly unlikely that you would be able to secure this type of sync as ‘company X’ and their contemporaries will normally go through a publisher or sync agency rather than taking the time to approach artists directly.


With this in mind, it’s important that the people who control your publishing and master recordings have a strong relationship. At Sentric, we’ve had artists miss out on sync placements worth tens of thousands of pounds due to the master rights owners pricing themselves too highly and ultimately scaring the client who then went on to use a different song.


Syncs can be worth anything from a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds. The fee is usually dictated by what ‘media’ it is intended to be used on, for how long it will be used and in which territories.



In the UK the PRS and the MCPS have blanket licenses set up in order for production companies and TV stations to use whatever music they wish without seeking prior permission from the publisher (there is a similar blanket license set up for the master rights owners by a company called the PPL). You may think that sounds like a negative thing but, in practice, it actually means an artist’s music has a higher chance of getting used whilst they’ll still receive remuneration via the collection societies.


Here are a few per minute examples (from Dec 2012 figures) to give you an idea of what can be earned every time your music is broadcast in the UK:


  • BBC1 Network Primetime: £83.94
  • Channel 4 Primetime: £25.12
  • BBC1 Wales Primetime: £3.68
  • ITV1 HTV Wales Primetime: £2.63


Other TV

Licensing in different territories operates in different ways. In the US, for example, every song for use on TV needs to be cleared in the same way as described above for the car advert sync. Fees can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars depending on the status of the song (is it really famous?), the scene it’s placed in (is the music prominent and very important to the scene?) and various other factors.


As with gig and radio broadcast income, sync placements can provide an essential source of income for artists at all levels. Having publishing representation in place can ensure that your songs are correctly set up for royalty collection and are being worked proactively for synchronisation and other revenue generating opportunities.


If you are playing live, receiving broadcasts or feel that your music would work for sync, head over to the Sentric Music website to find out more about what they can do for you and the royalties you can earn.

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