Online Video And The New World Of Sync Music

Music has always been an integral part of film, initially performed live and later as a fully integrated synchronized element. Opportunities for musicians and copyright holders to generate revenue from the use of their musical works in film, television and advertising have broadly kept pace with the growth of the industry. While robust, the opportunities were always limited by the finite amount of content that made economic sense to produce and exhibit, duplicate, and/or broadcast.

In the age of YouTube, the synchronized music licensing opportunities are now virtually endless.

Brands that historically relied on the :30 spot to reach consumers now find themselves becoming full-fledged production companies. Beyond this massive influx of ever-increasing, professionally produced content, the age of the fan tribute, highlight, spoof, remix etc. is now a well-established part of the media landscape -- and the good news for music copyright holders is, it’s monetizable.

By registering musical works with YouTube's Content ID system, copyright holders can identify all videos that contain usages of their musical works and opt to claim infringement or generate advertising revenue.  Songs that are widely used or featured in popular videos can generate consistent and sometimes large long-tail revenue.  This "found money" is creating a secular shift in an industry largely known for cease and desist letters, as more and more publishers are choosing instead to generate ad revenue on the flagged content.

It should be noted that without a formal licensing agreement, the choice of whether to pursue or not pursue legal resolution is at the discretion of the copyright owner. Should the content creator want to generate maximum (or any) ad revenue they will want to clear the music in their production.

The Internet has been absolutely devastating for music publishers that rely on album and single sales as a primary source of revenue.  In its’ place, live performance and music licensing are quickly driving the fastest growth both for the middle and upper classes of the industry.

Of all the revenue generating opportunities in music that are least undersood, synchronized licensing is perhaps the most prominent, but in the digital age it’s also fast becoming a huge bright spot for an industry facing a seemingly losing battle of trying to continue to convince consumers to outright purchase reproductions of their music.

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