Sync is big business – and it’s getting bigger.
Globally, according to recorded music body IFPI, Sync accounted for 2.4% of the world’s entire recorded music market in 2022, with revenues from the use of recorded music in advertising, film, games and TV growing 22.3% YoY to $640.4 million.
France-based Sync business veteran Rémi Agostini, Partner and CEO of Mewo.io, suggests, however, that the “sync business, while evolving, remains fragmented in many ways”.
He adds: “If there’s one change we’d advocate for, it’s the creation of a more unified, transparent, and streamlined music sourcing process, making it easier for both rightsholders and music supervisors to find the perfect match without hurdles.”
Mewo is a catalog management platform with an AI-assisted search engine that describes itself as the “Spotify for industry professionals”.
Founded in Paris in 2017, the company aims to allow “music supervisors and media entities to sift through renowned catalogs and identify the perfect tracks” for their film, TV, video game or advertising projects.
In doing so, Mewo says that it is “committed to transforming the music sourcing landscape”.
The company has two distinct sides to its userbase: music rightsholders and music supervisors.
On the rightsholder side, Mewo counts over 300 record labels, publishers, and libraries amongst its users, including major music companies like Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, as well as prominent independents such as Kitsuné Music, Domino Recordings, and Believe Music Group.
As Agostini outlines in our interview below, Mewo claims that some of its music rightsholder clients “have witnessed significant passive income growth” via its platform.
He adds that the company also offers an API so that rightsholders can integrate Mewo’s technology into their current systems “without disrupting existing workflows”.
On the music supervisor side, the company says that “most” France-based supervisors are currently using the Mewo platform to source their music for sync buyers including advertising giants Publicis Groupe, HAVAS and TBWA.
“Early on, rightsholders like Domino Recordings, Velvetica Music, and Warner Music Group joined us, with Publicis Groupe leading among the supervisors,” Agostini tells MBW.
“Since then, our userbase has grown, attracting diverse labels, publishers, and music supervisors working with brands, movies, TV series or video games. Today, the Mewo ecosystem is composed of hundreds of labels and publishers and over 50 music supervision entities.”
In addition to its foothold in France, Agostini says that Mewo is eyeing up global expansion.
He says that the platform has been gaining traction in countries like the UK, US, and Canada, and that its aim over the next year “is to solidify our presence in these regions and explore the potential in markets like Australia, Germany, and Japan”.
Agostini’s own experience in the sync business was gained in Paris as a music supervisor at top ad agency TBWA, and then as a sync manager for Universal Music Group. He also served as the MD of a production music library, Tele Music, which was later acquired by BMG.
According to Agostini, the technology and user interface underpinning the Mewo platform are its key distinguishing characteristics in the global sync tech sector.
Amongst those features is a market insights dashboard that lets users filter music based on criteria ranging from target audience age groups to geographical location, gender, and brand preferences.
Agostini claims that this filtering system means that, “for the first time ever, music supervisors can rely on real-time market data to justify musical propositions they make to their clients”.
Mewo also features proprietary recommendation AI based on track similarity. All tracks on Mewo have been tagged using the company’s auto-tagging AI, comprised of over 1,500 music tags.
A separate use of AI on the platform is for an automatic music editing tool, which can edit any track in the Mewo ecosystem to match a selected video. Agostini tells us that the purpose of this tool is to let music supervisors “immediately view the potential of a track on a selected video/project”.
“It’s also a great feature to automate the time-consuming editing most music supervisors go through when presenting to partners and clients,” he adds.
Looking to the future, Agostini tells MBW that Mewo “aspires to be the definitive platform for music sourcing globally”.
He adds: “By 2024, we aim to have a stronghold in major markets and continually adapt and introduce features that align with the evolving needs of the sync industry.”
Here, Agostini discusses challenges in the global sync business, his predictions for the future of the sector, and his ambitions for Mewo’s positioning in the market…
What are the biggest challenges in the sync business today?
In the fast-paced world of sync licensing, music supervisors and rightsholders, like labels and publishers, face intersecting challenges around three key issues: the influx of new music releases, cumbersome clearance processes, and the rise of AI-generated music.
Supervisors have the daunting task of quickly identifying the ideal track from a sea of daily releases, all while operating under tight client deadlines. They must not only find the perfect musical fit but also navigate logistical hurdles like track availability and metadata verification.
Conversely, labels and publishers struggle to make their extensive catalogs stand out in an oversaturated market. The growing number of small-fee license requests and an outdated clearance process add to the complexity, sometimes making rapid responses economically unviable.
Lastly, while AI-generated music offers a potential shortcut for supervisors, it also threatens traditional music producers and libraries, intensifying the competition in an already challenging landscape.
In summary, supervisors must sift through a glut of options under time constraints, while rightsholders fight for visibility and grapple with operational inefficiencies.
How is Mewo addressing those challenges?
Mewo bridges the gap between music supervisors and rights-holders like labels and publishers by offering an AI-assisted music search engine. This allows supervisors to effortlessly sift through both back catalogs and new releases, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of available music. In doing so, Mewo alleviates key challenges for both supervisors and rights-holders.
Since rights-holders maintain their own catalogs and Mewo automatically enhances the metadata, supervisors can expedite the clearance process by directly contacting the appropriate parties for licensing. Additionally, supervisors have the option to brief rights-holders on specific requirements, such as deadlines and budget constraints, enabling a more targeted selection of tracks that meet their needs.
To counter the allure of AI-generated music, specifically its convenience in matching track lengths to video durations, Mewo offers an AI-powered auto-editing tool. This allows supervisors to swiftly adapt existing tracks to fit their videos, negating the perceived advantage of AI-generated music.
In essence, Mewo’s platform addresses the industry’s key challenges by streamlining music discovery and clearance, enhancing communication between supervisors and rights-holders, and offering a viable alternative to AI-generated music.
How is Mewo positioned in the global sync business, especially versus other platforms?
Most platforms in the sync business are built around rightholders sharing their curated playlists or catalog to music supervisors.
With Mewo we took a different approach, we built a “professional Spotify” on which music supervisors can autonomously browse catalogs from hundreds of the World’s most renowned labels and publishers.
Most of our features revolve around making our music search engine more powerful and providing a completely streamlined music-sourcing experience.
For instance, through Mewo’s search engine, it’s possible to find all hip-hop tracks with clean lyrics that have been released between 2007 and 2015 and are popular in Canada amongst Nike’s customers aged 25-35.
Could you outline the technology that underpins your platform?
Mewo’s platform is built on a blend of cutting-edge technologies. At its core, our proprietary recommendation AI facilitates and enhances music discovery based on track similarity. Beyond that, our platform harnesses the power of data enrichment, providing valuable market insights and charts to guide music sourcing.
Our automatic music tagging ensures tracks are categorized cohesively for a seamless search experience. Additionally, our video-editing AI tailors tracks to sync perfectly with selected videos, a tool that has revolutionized the way supervisors view track potential.
Mewo’s platform uses proprietary recommendation AI, as well as automatic music editing AI that can edit tracks to match videos. What’s your forecast for the impact that AI will have on the sync business in years to come?
AI will undeniably revolutionize the sync business.
For production music, it’ll be a tussle between AI-generated tracks and AI-assisted human compositions.
In the realm of commercial music, AI will largely assist human-made music, especially when it comes to edits, covers, and similar productions.
We tailored our AIs to serve the music supervisors’ creative process (recommendation, clearance, productivity), empowering them to face all the challenges mentioned above.
What are your predictions for the global sync business in the coming years?
As the sync business undergoes transformation, technological shifts are at the forefront. Digital advances, fueled by the surge in online content, and the dual role of AI — both in automated track selection and the rise of AI-generated music—are reshaping the way music is sourced and utilized.
Meanwhile, globalization not only diversifies the available musical options but also introduces the challenge of using content from unfamiliar cultures.
Given these complexities, platforms like ours, which offer convenience and transparency, are becoming increasingly indispensable. The industry’s future hinges on navigating technology, embracing global diversity, and ensuring data accuracy.
Would it be possible to share a case study or two highlighting your work with music rights holders?
Absolutely. One of our esteemed partners, Sony Music Entertainment France, has experienced transformative results since its integration with Mewo. Enabling supervisors to autonomously browse their catalog has resulted in a significant increase in inbound licensing requests.
While Mewo caters to industry titans, it’s also a boon for independent labels. Many that have partnered with us have reported impressive ROIs, witnessing a notable uptick in their tracks sourced for diverse projects within a mere year. These testimonials underscore Mewo’s commitment to democratize the industry, ensuring both visibility and profitability for all.
Mewo doesn’t just revolutionize the technical side of music sourcing; it enhances the human aspect as well. While our platform provides unparalleled convenience and accessibility, many committed music supervisors using Mewo have found themselves reaching out to a broader range of providers than ever before.
This uptick in brief-sharing surprisingly fosters and strengthens human contact. It’s a testament to Mewo’s design philosophy: even in a digital world, genuine relationships remain paramount. Far from artificializing connections, our platform encourages richer and more meaningful collaborations between supervisors and rights holders.Music Business Worldwide