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New Synchtank report exposes the disjointed processes behind sync clearance

Report calls for an overhaul of music clearance processes and identifies solutions to key challenges facing music users.


Kate Bush’s Stranger Things placement is, undoubtedly, the sync success story of 2022, shining the spotlight on a sector that is booming thanks to an explosion in new channels and platforms unlocking new opportunities for music. US sync revenue for recorded music alone was up 29.9% YoY in the first half of this year, according to the RIAA. 

Less well documented, however, are the processes behind the scenes that make these deals happen, which typically involve a fiendish mass of complexities. This is the focus of a new report from Synchtank, which explores the challenges associated with clearing, tracking, and reporting on music rights, and identifies the solutions available to improve efficiencies. 

To build an accurate picture of the modern sync landscape, Synchtank spoke to experts including a number of large-scale music users (including broadcasters, production companies, film studios, TV networks, platforms, and gaming companies) in the US and Europe; companies in the production music space; music supervisors and lawyers. 

The general consensus is that rights clearance is becoming increasingly high-volume and lower value as more music needs to be licensed across more platforms than ever before, despite compressed timelines and restricted budgets. The demands on clearance teams have increased dramatically and current workflows and systems are fast becoming unsustainable.


Other key insights include: 

  • With more channels and platforms in more territories, the complexities of global licensing are causing major headaches for music users, as are the varying rules around how and where music can be used.
  • Fragmented music rights and a lack of transparency around ownership has made clearance much more challenging. Meanwhile, tracking large volumes of license requests and deals is a laborious process involving multiple stakeholders.
  • Music users are typically using a patchwork of tools that were not designed for these complex workflows. An overreliance on spreadsheets and a lack of centralization is leading to inefficiencies and compliance risks.
  • Tackling these workflow bottlenecks can be handled by centralizing and integrating interoperable systems, streamlining clearance workflows, and creating a single source of truth for rights and contracts across departments.  


Synchtank CEO Rory Bernard said, “Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in the clearance process. Rapid production schedules, multiple teams, and tight budgets all emphasize the increasing role of well-integrated technology that provides high transparency and rapid workflows. Synchtank continues to develop and deliver in-depth industry reporting, covering the opportunities and challenges that are backed up by our technology platforms.”

The report also examines future trends and disruptive technologies in sync, from MIR and the impact of AI on music search and discovery to API-based, automated dynamic licensing models helping to enhance user experience and maximize creator revenues. 

As a SaaS company providing solutions for both music rights holders and music rights users, Synchtank understands the challenges facing both sides. In a constantly evolving media landscape where content creation continues to explode on an unprecedented scale, technology’s role in the future of licensing and clearance has never been more apparent.

The free report, Communication Breakdown: Complexities and Solutions in Music Rights Clearance, is available to download here.

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