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R8R Music Publishing
Synchronization Royalties

Synchronization royalties ("synch licenses") are paid for the use of copyrighted music in (largely) audiovisual productions, such as in DVDs, movies, and advertisements. Music used in news tracks are also synch licenses. Synchronization can extend to live media performances, such as plays and live theatre. They become extremely important for new media - the usage of music in the form of mp3, wav, flac files and for usage in webcasts, embedded media in microchips (e.g. karaoke), etc but the legal conventions are yet to be drawn.

Synchronization royalties are due to the composer/song-writer or her publisher. They are strictly contractual in nature and vary greatly in amount depending on the subjective importance of the music, the mode of production and the media used. The royalty payable is that of mutual acceptance but is conditioned by industry practice.

It is useful to note in this connection the concept of the "needle drop" (now "laser drop") in that the synch royalty becomes payable every time the needle drops "on the record player" in a public performance! All openings and closings, every cut to advertisements, every cut back from ads, all re-runs shown by every TV company, in every country in the world generates a "synchro", although a single payment may be renegotiable in advance.