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All Hail The Rise of Micro-Syncs (Or Not?)

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

by Maria Kaganis


Micro-syncs! This form of licensing falls under the umbrella of sync licensing, which you can find out more about in Brain Candy’s sync licensing blog post right here. What separates micro-syncs from other forms of sync licensing is that they are multiple-use licenses specifically for user-generated content on platforms such as TikTok or YouTube. In other words, micro-syncs are utilized for multiple uses as opposed to the standard, which is one license per use of a song.


Just like other sync licenses, micro-syncs generate mechanical and performance royalties through the stream of a video containing a licensed song, which are then collected and paid out. Mechanical royalties are collected and paid out by Mechanical Rights Organizations (MROs) and, similarly, performance royalties go through PROs, or Performance Rights Organizations (Source: What Are Micro-Sync Royalties?). By licensing your music for micro-syncs - especially as an indie artist - you are establishing yet another channel of income for your music as the rightsholder. Even so, there are pros and cons to micro-sync opportunities.


Doja Cat | Source: Spotify

Because micro-syncs are multiple-use licenses for songs on platforms like TikTok or YouTube, the issuance of one license can potentially provide a steady income for the respective rightsholders - or in other words, passive income. This is much more convenient than dishing out one license per use. Also due to its multiple-use nature, micro-syncs create the opportunity for lesser known artists to gain exposure through their connection to dominating social platforms like TikTok. Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, and countless other artists accumulated their audience off of TikTok and its highly sensitive algorithms, all the while generating income from the micro-sync licenses placed on songs in the app. However, this raises the question on if micro-sync royalties actually equate to the exposure one might get on a platform like TikTok.


While establishing a consistent source of revenue through micro-syncs may be worth a try, be aware that they do not necessarily generate the same level of payout as other sync royalties. Micro-syncs reflect the popularity of the artist and, because they are most often used by indie artists, the price point sits rather low (Source: What is Micro Licensing?). With that in mind, micro-syncs may not come off as advantageous compared to traditional sync licensing that offers a relatively higher price point.


There really isn’t a right or wrong choice here, but rather it is purely up to what you are looking to do with your music. You can go down the more traditional route of sync licensing and hope for a chance with the major pitch companies, or you can test the waters with micro-sync and hope to pop off on TikTok. Nevertheless, if you just want to pitch your songs for sync through a music library like ours at Brain Candy, we’d welcome you with open arms!


Cover Image Source: Webhiggs

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