Synchtank Blog: Four DIY Musicians Talk Scoring Syncs

SYNCS: Four DIY musicians talk scoring sync licenses

In their recent blog entry, our friends over at Synchtank speak to four unsigned, DIY musicians who explain how they have scored syncs and the impact that it’s had on their careers.


1) Dane Schmidt (Jamestown Story) – Singer/Songwriter, Nashville, TN
Four DIY musicians talk scoring syncs

Why did you decide to go the DIY route?

I discovered that you could independently put your music on iTunes back in 2007. After a few months I was very fortunate to be making enough money each month from the sales of my music to quit my job and do music full-time. I’ve been doing it ever since. In the last year or two sales have definitely gone down because of streaming, but stream revenue has gone up, as well as YouTube revenue, Soundexchange revenue, etc. so I’m still very blessed to be able to do music as a full-time job.

What sync successes have you had? How did they come about?

I’ve had over 100 placements on shows such as Dr. Phil, Jersey Shore, The Real World, Teen Mom, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, One Tree Hill, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, The Challenge Rivals 2, and many more. I got my first placement in 2007 and quickly realized how lucrative they could be, so I just started sending my music to every supervisor, production company, etc. that I could find. I was fortunate to establish some great relationships that helped me get a lot of syncs.

How have these placements help to fund your career as a musician?

Honestly, I’ve had very few up-front paying syncs. Most of mine have been gratis uses, which a lot of people frown on, but don’t realize how much they can pay out in performance royalties. Before ASCAP changed their system for vocal/BV syncs, MTV placements paid out A LOT of money for 1-2 minute vocal features, so I was fortunate enough to be getting them at the right time. I feel like a lot of artists go out and quickly spend their money while I would put it all in the bank for a rainy day, so those placements helped keep me afloat while I was working on new music, taking a breather, etc.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to go to Japan a few times to record in some studios out there. Those trips will always be some of my fondest memories. I absolutely love Japan, the people, and the culture, so I’m very blessed to have been able to have those experiences.

How you handle the practical elements of licensing?

I was an ASCAP member for many years and kind of just figured out how to register and collect royalties myself. Obviously if you have your songs reg’ed and the cue sheets are correct it’s pretty easy to collect the money, but there have been numerous times where I’ve had to figure out how to fix a cue sheet, or collect money that wasn’t paid properly. There’s a definitely a learning curve, and I’ve still got a lot more to learn, but when you’re put in a position where you’re missing thousands of dollars because of someone else’s mistake you do whatever you can to figure out how to correct it.

What’s your advice for other artists?

I always say the same thing: be willing to work your ass off. This isn’t a job for slackers, you have to put in the time if you want to see results. There are always people out there willing to work harder than you, so if you’re not willing to step it up you’re pretty much just relying on luck. Luck is obviously a major factor in anything, but I’m a big believer if you work hard, the results will come.

What would be your dream sync?

Definitely an Apple commercial. I’m a big Apple supporter 🙂

Check out the tracks “Nothing’s Forever” or “Scarred“.

jamestownstory.com | @jamestownstoryfacebook.com/jamestownstory

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