Creative professionals of all types and sizes continue to sort through challenges related to identifying and licensing the right piece of music for their project. From a licensing perspective, everyone from music supervisors to freelancers to students struggles with the costs for music on their projects. On a technical level, editors often have to slug through large quantities of tracks while also finding the time to listen to and assess all of their options.
Syncly Music provides a solution to both of these issues by offering high-quality music with industry-leading tech to customize tracks. Additionally, their pricing model is also a fair reflection of the value they are currently offering and reflects their unofficial mantra of being “simple, creative and fun”. Their free trial allows users to not just listen to the Syncly library and try their customization tools but actually use the music in any production during the 30-day trial period.
To learn more about this free trial as well as about special offer for PVC readers, we connected with Luke Gordon, CEO of Syncly Music. He explained what makes Syncly different, how all of their categories on the site are distinct, what type of creative professional can get the most put of Syncly and much more.
ProVideo Coalition: Can you tell us a little bit about the origin of Syncly? When and how did the company get started?
Luke Gordon: My background is in audio engineering but through my wife’s contacts as a TV producer/director, I fell in to composing music for media – mainly documentaries. This work rarely involves scoring music to picture these days but rather creating a small collection of cues that the editor and director can throw in the edit and see what works. Often, the editor would ask me for small changes such as “a version without drums” or “can you slow this down a bit”. It was an inefficient way to work (emails going back and forth) and the idea was formed to give some creative control of my music to the editor to make simple but effective changes more efficiently. In 2013, I teamed up with my co-founder, Mark Havryliv who has the perfect combination of music theory and computer programming skills and our first company (Syncly’s parent company), Score Addiction was born.
In 2016 we teamed up with Universal Production Music, Killer Tracks and First Com Music, to develop a customisable stems editor for their websites. Syncly was developed from a desire to leverage our strengths as product developers and create a music service for the next generation of content creators. Our goal is to make finding and applying music for media, simple, creative and fun.
What makes your music library different and distinct from some of the others that are out there?
We offer high-quality music with industry-leading tech to customise tracks. The music will always be the most important consideration for us but we work hard to develop tools to make finding and customising music as creative and fun as possible. All our tracks have stems – usually between 6 and 9 in total. Each stem can be muted or volume-adjusted to create a specific mix. We also, provide a “Customise” slider which changes the mix of all the stems at once so you can quickly and easily dial-in a particular sound. Finally, the Tempo slider can adjust the speed of the track by +/- 15%. As far as I’m aware, this is a totally unique feature among stock music libraries.
Syncly really is a great opportunity to get creative and have fun with music for your production. When you’ve customised your own version of a track, it’s nice to know that it’s unique to your production and you are less likely to get that sinking feeling when you hear “your” track on someone else’s work.
How have you seen creative professionals struggle when it comes to finding and selecting the right piece of music for their work?
Typical struggles we’ve seen tend to be around using search or browsing through large quantities of tracks. A certain amount of choice is good of course but listening to music takes time. We think we help with that issue by allowing users to tweak a track to their liking that they would otherwise have to dismiss.
Another pain-point is editing the music to fit the duration of their sequence. Editors often begin by syncing up where the track should end and work backwards from there. This is a problem we are drilling in to right now and we think we have some really cool, innovative solutions. I can’t say any more at the moment but we’ll hopefully roll-out this new feature soon!
Are their challenges often related to budget? That is to say, they find the perfect piece of music, but it’s too expensive for them to use?
We have spoken to almost every conceivable music user over the last few years, from music supervisors for Disney with almost unlimited budget to freelancers who want to see the price of the track in local currency to avoid unexpected currency conversion surprises! I think its fair to say that in recent years, with the explosion of video content, the price of music licensing has fallen dramatically in some areas. There are definitely more options than ever before.
Tell us about the different categories on your site. I see everything from Customisable Beds to Drama & Documentaries: Light to energy and motivation.
You can find music by either browsing our playlists or searching for specific key words. Our browse section is categorised by various moods such as “Uplifting” or “Reflection & Beauty”; or by use-cases such as “Drama & Documentaries”. Our Customisable Beds are simple, loop-based underscores that can be easily adjusted to fit a particular mood.
We’re adding new music from talented composers every week, in wide range of styles. Coming up soon we have a playlist called Epic Victory, composed by a London Royal College of Music graduate, James Yan and inspired by great adventure scores of the 80’s like Back To The Future by Alan Silvestri. We also have some fantastic music on the way from independent artists such as Sydney-based Kwze and Berlin-based Adam Dudek (Aka Elkvilla). Peter Nickalls is another extremely talented composer based in the UK and has composed for us since the beginning, with his work featured on Top Gear, Marvel and The Kennedy Space Centre among many others. We’re really excited about the new music in the pipeline!
What kind of additional or expanded opportunities do Premiere Pro users have thanks to the Premiere Panel? Does using this option change how users can take advantage of the Syncly catalog?
The Syncly Premier Pro panel has all the features of the Syncly website but with the advantage of being accessible within the editing environment. Panels are “dock-able” so it’s really convenient to have access to customisable music from one of your Premiere Workspaces at any time. The other nice feature of using the panel is that downloaded tracks conveniently appear in the bin; easily dragged to the timeline. If you are a Premiere user, the Syncly panel will undoubtably speed up your workflow.
We will shortly be releasing a VST audio plugin for Premiere Pro with very unique functionality. When the plugin is applied to any Syncly track in the timeline, the editor will be able to adjust and keyframe the stems and tempo of that track within the Effect Controls window. A use-case of this might be to keyframe the Customise slider, gradually building up the dynamics of the track over the period of the sequence; or to precisely introduce the drums at a particular cut in the pictures. This uses a patented system that means the editor only needs the main stereo track on the timeline – there are no stems cluttering up the Premiere project.
Your site mentions that you can offer more than just a free trial. What does that mean?
Our free trial allows you to not just listen to our library and try our customisation tools, but actually use the music in any productions you want during the 30 day trial period. It’s essentially free customisable music for 1 month. We require a credit card and will commence payment when the trial expires but if you cancel before the end of trial period, you will not be charged and any music you have applied to productions during the trial will be fully licensed in perpetuity. We think this is a pretty good and unique offer!
What can you tell us about the resources listed on your support page? If I’m still not able to find what I need after running through what’s there, is additional support available?
We really welcome people to reach out directly to us with queries about music or the tools. We also welcome feedback and feature requests so feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What sort of professional do you think is going to get the most out of Syncly?
I think customisable music is useful for most content creators but we are particularly interested in bridging the gap between filmmakers and composers. I would love to see directors and editors using our music and tools to build unique soundtracks for drama, documentaries, advertising and even podcasts.
Tell us about the special offer you’re making available for PVC readers.
PVC readers can get an annual Premium plan for USD$199. Just use the discount code PVC199 to get unlimited downloads and unrestricted licensing for 12 months!