×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Variety Introduces ‘Synch This!’ — New Music Column Spotlighting Songs Ripe for Licensing

Synch This” is a new Variety column written by MAC Presents VP and former Billboard branding reporter Andrew Hampp, highlighting new songs that we deem ripe for synch use. Insiders can skip over the “Synch 101” in the introduction, which will be linked to in future columns, to get straight to this week’s pick.

The term “synch” is a funny one – even if you’ve never heard it used before, it’s a convenient catch-all for something you hear every single day.

Short for “music synchronization license,” synchs have long been a prime method for music, new and old, to get discovered in TV commercials, box-office hits and the latest buzzy TV hit. So much so that synch revenue accounted for 2% of the recorded music industry’s global revenue in 2016, or roughly $314 million, an all-time high.

The first time I heard the term “synch” used it was in reference to “Unwritten” singer Natasha Bedingfield’s latest album Strip Me in 2010.  Though the project debuted at a disappointing No. 103 on the Billboard 200, a former colleague of mine still considered it a success because several of its singles “got amazing synchs,” referencing a high-profile ad campaign for NIVEA and movie trailers for the Rachel McAdams rom-com Morning Glory.

Not only does all that marketing spend serve as free promotion for artists during crucial album-release cycles, with national multi-month ad campaigns spending as much as $50-100 million in prime-time and digital ad dollars, the revenue generated from the synch can buoy an otherwise flat project for the artist and their label.

Not that it’s a music supervisor’s job to replace a radio programmer or major label marketing exec. Indeed, many of the most memorable synchs over the years have been from the use of classic catalog tracks, obscure oddities or deep cuts from music icons not looking for iHeart or Spotify playlist spins. But it can also be quite thrilling when the right song finds the right spot, to the point where you can’t imagine the commercial or the product itself without it – and vice versa.

One of the best examples of those commercials from the past five years is Christian Dior’s “J’Adore Dior” campaign starring Charlize Theron, with a synch from The Gossip’s “Heavy Cross.” In the spot, Charlize is seen running late to strut her stuff down a Paris runway (apparently alongside a digitally restored Marilyn Monroe, who we see in a neighboring vanity) while Gossip guitarist Brace Paine’s riff stutters along. By the time Charlize turns the corner to start storming the catwalk, draped head to toe in gold couture, the commercial unleashes its real secret weapon — Beth Ditto’s signature howl on that chorus. “I trust ya-a-owwwww!”

So for this inaugural Synch This! column, in which Variety will be shining a weekly spotlight on notable un-synched songs worth licensing, I thought it only appropriate to take a look at a track from Ditto’s upcoming project Fake Sugar, her debut full-length for Virgin/Capitol Records.

Though the rockabilly jam “Fire” was a more-than-welcome return to form for the “fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas” when it dropped in April, the real stunner released so far is “Ooh La La.”

It has all the trappings beloved by car or cell-phone commercial music supervisors – hand claps, a recognizable riff, a gut-punching “Hunh!” where the more popular “Hey!” might otherwise appear  — but with a killer delivery from Ditto that swings from coquettish to carnal, the kind of quirks beloved by fashion and tech brands. Heck, it could even connect in France, with Ditto sprinkling in lines like “Please don’t stop ce soir” and “Je ne sais pas” throughout.

Beyond the fact that the right synch could give cult favorite Ditto’s solo career a nice boost (The Gossip parted ways in 2012), “Oo La La” is exactly the type of song ad agencies have been craving since the Phoenix-ization of the airwaves in 2009. It’s a capital “R” rock anthem at a time when such songs are seemingly near extinct from the mainstream, with the hard-earned authenticity from someone with more than a decade of great music under her belt.

Who’s to say that kind of cred couldn’t help sell the next Cadillac, too?

Andrew Hampp is a vice president at New York-based music sponsorship and experiential agency MAC Presents.

More Biz

  • David Lubliner Moves to UTA From

    Veteran WME Agent David Lubliner to Join UTA

    William Morris Endeavor agent David Lubliner is departing the company for a post at United Talent Agency, individuals familiar with the move told Variety. The parting of ways was amicable, the insiders added. Lubliner was a veteran in WME’s motion picture literary department. Rumors of his exit had been floating since Hollywood reopened for the new [...]

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • R Kelly protest

    Protesters Rally Outside Sony Music Headquarters, Demand the Company Drop R. Kelly

    Standing in the cold with megaphones outside of Sony Music’s New York headquarters, a group of activists delivered the company, parent of Kelly’s longtime label RCA, a petition signed by over 217,000 people demanding that the singer be dropped from the label. The rally comes less than a week after a plane carrying a banner [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Fake Washington Post

    Fake Editions of Washington Post Distributed in D.C.

    The Washington Post was forced to issue a statement on Wednesday morning after commuters were handed fake print copies of the newspaper with a headline claiming President Donald Trump had fled the White House. “There are fake print editions of The Washington Post being distributed around downtown DC, and we are aware of a website [...]

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. The record level of spending [...]

  • Sinclair Enters Streaming Arena With Local

    Sinclair Enters Streaming Arena With Entertainment Bundle and Local Channels

    Sinclair Broadcast Group is diving into the increasingly crowded streaming platform arena with the launch today of Stirr, a free OTT entertainment bundle offering local news and general entertainment, sports and lifestyle channels. Sinclair aims to leverage the near-national reach of its sprawling station group with its strong local presence in markets across the country [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content