Adam Bloom began working with Synchtank, an online publishing tool that automates the licensing process, about four years ago after graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
He had moved back to New York and returned to life as a full time musician, playing in a band, teaching guitar and looking for his next big break when a London entertainment attorney, who he had interned with a few years earlier, connected him with Synchtank. “No one was getting paid at the time,” says Bloom. “We were trying to raise money and working on couches at our apartments in Brooklyn.” Finally we began paying ourselves and got a little office. Three and a half years later I’m still here and the company has grown like wildfire.”
Bloom has just moved to Nashville. “We had visited Nashville a few times for the Americana conference and finally thought it makes sense for us to have someone in Music City. So I volunteered.”
So is Bloom still playing guitar? “Well, my music has taken a backseat because Synchtank has consumed my life for the past three or four years,” he confesses. “I haven’t been in a band since moving to Nashville, but would love to find something.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital tools are becoming vital for publishers of all sizes. The following interview is not a review, but is intended to offer insight about this kind of software and some of the functionality it offers publishers for empowering sync.
NEKST: How did Synchtank begin and what are its basic abilities?
Adam Bloom: Joel Jordan started Synchtank in 2008. He was an independent publisher and label owner. He hired Dave Comeau, the bass player from his band— an awesome programmer—and said, “I need to build a website that shows off all my copyrights and rights info.” They began using the new site to get licensing deals and people started asking about it. Primary Wave Music was one of the first publishers to see its potential and became Synchtank’s first client. Pretty quickly Joel’s publishing company started taking a backseat to a fast growing software company. Today the platform functions as a totally skinable website that can be customized to match your brand. It’s packed with functionality for curating your catalog including the rights and audible information. It also scans the music tracks for bpm (beats per minute), tempo and key signatures and that data becomes searchable. You can build playlists for music supervisors or anyone and then see which tracks were opened, listened to or downloaded. You can choose to have licenses requested through the system or automate the process.
NEKST: That’s comprehensive, but I’m guessing you still need a good pitch team?
Adam Bloom: Yes, you need someone to drive the car. We build you a Ferrari and hand you the keys, but how you drive it is up to you. Our target clients include publishers, labels, distributors, studios, music libraries, production companies, advertising agencies and television networks. Basically, it’s a way to market music. So we have companies like Big Machine here in Nashville that aren’t just using it for licensing. They use it to pitch to artists for cuts. They can walk into a pitch meeting with all their writer’s music up on an iPad. Instead of needing CDs or MP3s they have everything for every track ready to go including the rights information.
NEKST: What if your company is spread out in different offices or cities?
Adam Bloom: Synchtank connects everyone regardless of where they are located by making it easy to share what everyone is working on, track and run reports. There’s also ways to communicate with your writers so if you’re looking for a song that fits special criteria you can contact your writers and catalog partners, and they can suggest things and of course it you can also send bulk mailings and attach tracks using a number of professionally designed templates.
NEKST: What does this cost?
Adam Bloom: Our enterprise software is $299 a month for up to 500 tracks and the client keeps 100% of the sync revenue.
NEKST: Synchtank reminds me a little of WordPress—core software that gets wrapped in a customized skin or theme.
Adam Bloom: Yes, in a way, but it’s not built using WordPress. Each client gets a custom, cut-to-fit skin designed to match their logo, colors and site design. But underneath the sites all have the same functionality.
NEKST: What about for smaller more DIY companies?
Adam Bloom: We haven’t announced it yet, but we plan to launch a stripped down Synchtank version with ready-to-go templates, accessible to companies with 50-150 tracks. This kind of product should appeal to small publishers and DIY types.
NEKST: Do you expect more DIY empowerment in the publishing world?
Adam Bloom: Our idea is to empower everyone from the songwriters to the major labels with the tools they need. We’re trying to level the playing field for a lot of folks. Currently we have a few million songs and a 100+ clients. Our next challenge is to create a more efficient way to connect sellers and buyers by connecting all our systems together. Then music supervisors and editors can search across all our client catalogs. Some of our clients may opt out of a central database, but most will want to participate and appreciate the greater access.
NEKST: What’s ahead?
Adam Bloom: We feel like we’ve created the best applecart available in this space to display your apples. But heading into the future there’s more to do. We’d like to add distribution, royalties and get into every corner of a music holder’s needs. Why can’t this product also apply to assets besides music, like videos or photography? So in the grand scheme of things we’re committed to connecting all these fragmented businesses into one friendly ecosystem.