| 18 Jul 2024
All That Matters: Asia's relationship with sync

SINGAPORE: If you think creating music and distributing it is a challenge, then the session at All That Matters, which talked about challenges faced by the music eco-system to earn through sync licensing, was a real eye opener. The session shed light on the fact that even though Asian countries are growing markets, monetising the space is still rather difficult.

During the 'Roundtable Discussion: I'd Like to Teach the World to Sync', music and sync experts from across Asia and the world, held a conversation about sync licensing in Asia. On the panel for this session was Disney interactive business affairs music head Gwen Bethel Riley, Getty Images Entertainment VP Vince Bannon, Merry Bright Music CEO Elizabeth Chan, Big Sync Music CEO Dominic Caisley, Mothlight Music president and music supervisor John Bissell, and Times Music COO Mandar Thakur. The discussion was moderated by Sync Matters co-chair Mark Frieser.

Thakur brought hope in the room among attendees by stating the Indian Copyright (Amendment) Act is strong, making it easy for labels and artists to function. He added that in India, sync licensing is in its nascent stage and that the music used in India is more or less a hit or a popular track rather than syncing the tracks because of its sound. He also expressed that India lacks the concept of supervisors, which makes it difficult to discover new tracks and get them synced to films/ TV series. Thakur revealed that last year, Times Music managed 18-20 syncs compared to the previous year, in which there were just 4- 6 syncs for Warner-Chappell. He went on to say that 80 per cent sync takes place in ad films and 20 per cent in films.

Thakur revealed that the music of the film 'Singh is King' is synced 5-6 times a year. He added that today, filmmakers and film composers are increasingly re-creating existing tracks. Out of the tracks synced, 70-80 per cent are local content and the rest is international. He also stated that there is a misconception among the Indian masses that agencies and brands can use 30 seconds of the track or song for free, which got the panel laughing in disbelief.

Yet another Asian market that was talked about was China. Chan stated that the Chinese market is scary in terms of licencing. There is a huge amount of consumption in the market, but it is very difficult to trail the money, making it difficult for sync experts to penetrate the market. However, for Caisley and Big Sync Music, markets like Indonesia, Philippines and other countries in the region are the spaces in which they can expand.

Others on the panel highlighted their areas of expertise, like the need for libraries and a simpler sampling process. Bannon believes that this business is about making tracks available and does not care where it is going. Getty Images, meanwhile, look after the licensing for BBC, amongst other clients.

Riley stated that as an immense fan of music, she does not care where the music is comes from, and that she likes interesting music that can be used in Disney products.