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The Power of Sync: Making the Artist

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

How has the technological evolution of sync contributed to the success of an artist, in several cases, altering the trajectory of their musical career?

Image source: Film Editing Pro

Defining Sync

Have you caught yourself humming that song from the Netflix show you just finished? Or maybe you’ve rewatched a classic 80’s film with a catchy tune (queue Don't You Forget About Me from The Breakfast Club). Perhaps it’s a song that you wouldn’t necessarily classify as “your genre.” Nevertheless, the interchangeable relationship of visual medium alongside sound possesses a unique quality that permits the viewer to associate film/TV with music. This is the power of sync; the linking between TV or film to sound which establishes a mood and a richer experience for the viewer. Check out this How-To Blog by Maria Kaganis to learn more about sync.

Silence to Sound

We can trace the roots of synchronization back to 1933’s film King Kong, which was the first film that incorporated a full score (written music) during the entirety of the film. Prior to this, silent films had dominated the theaters. Eventually, films such as King Kong provided live music in the background to accompany the visual medium [Source: Reel Rundown]. Not only has the impact of sound incorporated in film and television flourished into a novel viewing experience, but sync has also offered artists an opportunity to showcase their work. In several cases, one song holds the power to blossom their career.

A ‘Thank You’ to Sync

Fast-forward to 2021 and you can sync music to any and every form of visual medium, whether that is through a smart device, television, or laptop. Sync has been principally used in TikTok and Youtube, making the discovery process for an artist increasingly accessible. Singer-songwriter music can be featured in a ten-second TikTok. 18-year-old mega pop star, Olivia Rodrigo’s All I Want and drivers license eventually led to the creation and success of her debut album SOUR. Check out this blog to read further about the power of micro-syncs.

You may be able to recall a few artists from your own viewing and listening experience where sync led to your eventual following of that singer. One band that profited off of a notable sync placement is Lord Huron, whose lyrically driven, the nostalgic and melancholic song The Night We Met (now with over 829 million streams), has been featured on the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. With over 9 million monthly listeners on Spotify and a 16-track album released this year, sync has brought Lord Huron’s career to the forefront of the alternative-indie music industry [Source: Spotify].

Lord Huron's The Night We Met [Image source: Youtube]

In 2011, the hit musical-comedy show, Glee, performed We Are Young by the Alternative-rock band, fun. Though the performance was not technically considered sync, popularity of the song led to further offers and success. Following the performance of the cast, the song had been featured during a Super Bowl XLVI commercial (America’s #1 live broadcast). This resulted in a #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks. According to Billboard, the song “...demonstrated how rapid and wide-reaching popularity could be at the height of the iTunes era in the early ‘10s when a placed sync and/or a valuable co-sign could result in a relatively left-field pop song exploding from a curiosity to a phenomenon practically overnight.” And that is absolutely what happened for fun.

Looking Ahead at the “What Ifs”

If sync has presented itself as a mode of heightening the artist’s career, what does this imply for the future of up-and-coming artists? If accessibility to technology and ten-second clips dominate our current pop culture, how does this translate to the agency and autonomy for artists when creating content? Sync in the media and music industry presents opportunities that are endless. This is just the beginning.

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