Syncs to Streams: How to Maximize Your Music’s On-Screen Potential

Jonathan Cohen / September 28, 2022

Netflix insights from our Fan Study prove syncs drive discovery and catalog uplift. Here’s what goes into a great sync and how you can convert new listeners into long-term fans when you land one.

Landing a sync that puts your music in a movie, TV show, commercial, or video game can drive a ton of new listeners to your music on Spotify, but you need a plan if you want those listeners to stick around and become fans. Making a few smart moves when you land a sync can pay significant rewards when it comes to making sure those new fans keep returning to your music.

As part of our new Fan Study: Catalog Edition, we partnered with Netflix to analyze how syncs impact streaming. The study, which examined prominent syncs across 11 Netflix films and TV shows between 2017 and 2022 involving artists both emerging and established, revealed that while the sync drives fans to Spotify to stream that song, they dive deeper into the artist's catalog once they arrive.

It's no surprise that we saw exponential increases in first-time listeners who had never streamed the artist on Spotify before -- from 50% to 6000%. But the sync's impact goes even further: there was an average 109% rise in streams of the rest of the artists' catalog, excluding the synced song, across the set of songs we analyzed.

Syncs themselves also come in different varieties, from major movies and big TV shows to local commercial placements, and everything in between. But no matter where that sync happens, the music supervisors who place them keep an ear out for specific things when looking for the perfect song.

"There isn't a one-size fits all approach," says Amy Dunning, Netflix's Vice President, Music Creative Production. "It depends on the needs of the scene and the story... Sometimes, music can become a character in a film or show, so our supervisors are looking for additive elements to deepen an emotional connection or build energy in a suspenseful montage. But most often the goal is to amplify the storytelling."

Dunning says there are some things you can focus on if you want your music to be as attractive as possible for a sync. "Artists should find their sound, build their fanbase, and work with trusted partners to get their songs to the right music supervisors," she explains. "Music can still be discovered the traditional way by going to live shows, word of mouth, or reading a great review or article. Of course social media and the internet have made new artists across the globe a lot more discoverable [by music supervisors]."

So, if you are working to land a sync soon -- or already have one in your future -- here are a few tools and tips to help you turn new listeners into long-term fans:

  • Ready your artist profile to capture interest from the new listeners:

    1. Optimize your artist bio to mention the sync and highlight what TV show or film it appears in.
    2. Use your Artist Pick to feature the synced song or an artist playlist that includes the track and other music inspired by it. Then add a comment to the Artist Pick to tell your fans about it.
  • Introduce creative elements that tie in with the sync by making a Canvas, a three-to-eight-second looping visual for the track that also follows the song as it is shared from Spotify to social. Listeners are 145% more likely to share the track when it has a Canvas.

  • Set up your virtual merch table, if you haven't already, so all the new listeners flocking to your profile have every chance to support you, enjoy your aesthetic, and see what you're all about.

  • If you have a new release coming out after your sync, consider a Marquee, our sponsored recommendation tool that targets your music to listeners who have already shown interest in it. Choose "Recently Interested" targeting in your Marquee campaign to target the new listeners who came in from your sync.

  • Create Promo Cards to share on social media, helping drive awareness of the synced track.

Spotify for Artists helps you to develop the fanbase you need to reach your goals.

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