Back to all News

Month 6 – The Song Is Played On Sky Sports Over The Football (UK TV Blanket License Sync).


Sports TV

We find Pure-Horse sat in their local pub on a Sunday afternoon. Spirits are high after nut roasts have been consumed, pale ales quaffed and they sit, eagerly awaiting the big 4 o’clock kick off. A small stack of pound coins can be found in the middle of the table, each one representing a name of the punters’ best guess at who the first goalscorer is going to be. Wildly, the guitarist has picked the relegation stricken, away team’s left back; a player who hasn’t scored in 128 appearances, but who “looks up for it” in the warmup according to their absolute zero knowledge of the game whatsoever. As the pre-game montage kicks in, the unmistakable opening lyric to The Song accompanies the visuals of last minute tackles, crossfield pinged passes and overhead kicks finding bottom corners. 

“Well. That means I can retire happy now,” states the bass player, a die hard lifelong fan of the home team they’re about to watch.

“Blimey, I hope my dad is watching this. He might finally forgive me for buying my Jazzmaster instead of investing in a transit van,” the guitarist chirps whilst simultaneously holding aloft their phone, trying to record the TV screen that is situated at the far side of the snug with an inordinate amount of background noise overpowering that what they’re trying to capture.

“Our first sync! And over the big match! I bet Kasabian are spinning in their graves right now”, the drummer holds up their glass of malibu and coke, encouraging the others to join them in a toast. “Move over lads, there’s a new band in town.”

The match begins. The left back scores an own goal within 90 seconds. Everyone is so happy they let the guitarist take the kitty.

So when do they get paid? – approximately 9 months.

In order to get your music synced on UK TV, you need to get your music correctly registered with the PRS and MCPS which cover your publishing copyrights AND ALSO with the PPL which covers your master copyrights. To refresh your memory on what the PPL is, check out the WTF is Neighbouring Rights post back from when Pure-Horse recorded The Song.

I stress the word correctly because signing up with these societies is one thing, but registering and administering your copyright properly with them is another thing entirely (thus,, yeah?). For example, if there are four writers of a song and one of them isn’t published or hasn’t registered their share of the copyright properly with the PRS/MCPS then it goes into intellectual property limbo known as ‘Copyright Control’. Whilst in ‘Copyright Control’ no TV programme or broadcaster will ever use that song. Even if it’s just 1% of the song in ‘CC’, it’ll be avoided like a musical plague.

The PPL, PRS and MCPS are paid hundreds of millions of £££ a year by TV stations and broadcasters in order to be able to use the music they represent and by registering your copyright with those societies you are effectively giving them permission to license your music to the broadcasters in exchange for a royalty. You’ll often hear these referred to as ‘blanket licenses’.

By now you’ll be more than aware of the rule of thumb when it comes to performance royalties; the more people who hear it the more money you get. You’ll get a PRS royalty every time a TV show with your track in is broadcasted so therefore it also includes repeats. For example, each episode of Hollyoaks is aired seven times (nuts, eh?) and you’ll receive a royalty for all seven of those broadcasts. That royalty will fluctuate depending on the channel and amount of viewers; so you’ll get more money for when it’s on Channel 4 primetime than you will for the E4 Sunday morning omnibus slot.

The MCPS royalty you receive however is a one-off payment which is for the ‘commitment of the music to the picture’, I.E the reproduction of your copyright. Depending on the broadcaster or production company using the music will result in the amount of MCPS you get, sticking with the Hollyoaks example; as I write this it’s currently approx £150 per thirty seconds of music they use.

The amount of PPL income you’ll receive is tougher to estimate as their figures aren’t public like they are with the PRS & MCPS, but it’s similar to what you’d get from the MCPS.

As the TV stations and broadcasters of the UK have access to millions of songs they can use for the same price, it is essential to really concentrate on approaching the right people in order to best help your chances of landing a sync within this area of the market. It’s pointless trying to get your track on a show which only focuses on using music which is riding high in the charts if you’re an emerging artist, so you’re best off pitching to shows who actively promote new music. Made In Chelsea is a great example of that; regardless of what you think of the quality of the show itself, there is no denying the soundtrack is genuinely brilliant. This is proven by the fact it’s the most Shazzamed programme in the UK, so getting your music on that will always bring in new fans who won’t have heard your tunes before. Here at Sentric, we’ve averaged about two of our artists per episode on Made In Chelsea for the past seven seasons, and yet me and Binky are still no closer to being mates. Criminal.

There are a few types of usages which aren’t covered by these ‘blanket licenses’ between broadcasters and the collection societies. These include…

  • Opening Titles Music. If they want to use your track over the opening credits of the show then they must pay an upfront fee.
  • Closing Titles Music. If they want to use your music over the end credits then they need to cough up more cash.
  • ‘Contentious’ usage. If the scene they want to use your music on features sex, drugs, violence (all the fun stuff) etc. then they need to get permission first as to not upset the songwriter of the track in question.

NEXT: Month 7 – The Song Is Playlisted On BBC Radio 1.