Behind the scenes: Heather Boyd, Head of Sync North America at Believe
Based in Los Angeles, at the heart of the US film industry, Heather Boyd is Believe’s Head of Sync for North America. Her daily duty? Placing music from Believe’s artists and labels in a wide array of medias: ad campaigns, television shows, films, trailers, and even video games. Let's go and discover this fascinating but little-known profession.
What does synchronization consist of?
Synchronization is the use of music in any kind of visual media. From films and TV shows to social media ad campaigns on TikTok and Instagram or visual podcasts, etc. I work closely with film studios, advertising agencies, music supervisors, and other creative partners who work on projects that utilize music.
What do you do to help artists?
Getting a placement can be a huge deal for an upcoming artist. Not only monetarily but it can “break” an artist. In the Shazam era, fans discover new artists when they connect to a song especially when it’s paired with a visual they also connect to. Sometimes it can be more impactful and personal than just the song alone.
In the Shazam era, fans discover new artists when they connect to a song especially when it’s paired with a visual they also connect to.
What skills are required for this type of work?
I think relationships are key to any job in the music industry. Being social and driven to network and meet new people is critical. Administrative skills are also extremely important, as you have to track and organize a constant stream of paperwork and finances. Moreover, the contractual side of synchronization and music licensing requires a legal understanding of music rights ownership and copyright law.
What is the project that you are the most proud of?
It’s so hard to pin-point but something I’m very proud to be working on right now is the use of multiple songs from Meshell Ndegeocello’s “Ventriloquism” album in Season 2 of David Makes Man which is currently airing on OWN. The multiple re-occurrences of Meshell’s voice creates alchemy with the show and experience for the viewer. I’m excited to see the full vision played out on screen.
I think when an artist is authentic and creates the music they want to create for themselves and share with the world, it will not only be successful in sync but in every aspect of their career.
Any advice you’d give to someone who wants to work in synchronization?
Start building relationships. Follow or connect to people and companies you’d like to work for. Go to networking events online or in your city. Educate yourself on music licensing. There are tons of articles and interviews online and the gold standard book in the music industry is Donald Passman’s “All You Need You Know About The Music Business.”
What can make a good song for synchronization?
In some instances, there are certain aspects to a song that can make it especially great for synchronization but overall, I think when an artist is authentic and creates the music they want to create for themselves and share with the world, it will not only be successful in sync but in every aspect of their career.