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Songs for Screens: Synch or Sync – What’s the Correct Usage?

It’s a debate as inconclusive as “theater” versus “theatre”: When writing about music licenses, is it “sync” or “synch”? The shorthand for synchronization has become so interchangeable in industry circles that many music-licensing professionals are at a loss for words as to why they use one over the other.

BMG refers to music licensed for commercials from its catalog as “synchs,” for example, while Sony/ATV prefers “sync” when describing its team of executives, led by president Brian Monaco, who secure placements for the publishing firm’s clients. Similarly, Warner Bros. and Capitol Records both use synch to describe their commercial, film & TV music teams, but Sony’s multi-label licensing division SyncShop prefers the usage without an H.

Even companies that feature the term in their name, such as U.K.-based music sales and licensing platform Synchtank, play both sides of the table.

“I do actually prefer just the sync with a C in general communications, but I feel like if it’s used within a word, the H works because it looks better and feels most grammatically correct,” says Synchtank’s marketing manager Emma Griffiths.

So which is best? Our research suggests that “synch” as an adjective to describe the overall type of licensing or a job description tends to be most AP Style-friendly, but “sync” has been more widely adopted as a noun. But with no definitive answer in sight, you can probably use the spelling of your choice with little risk of a sinking, synching or syncing feeling.

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