Ministry of Sound

Andrew Howell, Ministry Of Sound

Ministry of Sound’s Andrew Howell tell us why the world of sync is in rude health following the BPI and MPA LA Sync Mission…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 11 Sep 2015
  • min read
Ministry of Sound (MoS) started life as a London nightclub in the early nineties but has grown into a sprawling multi-media empire.

The many facets of its business include its label (with London Grammar and DJ Fresh being recent success stories), radio as well as huge electronic events across the world.

Unsurprisingly sync is also an important revenue stream for the business and Andrew Howell, the company’s sync licensing manager, took part in the recent BPI and MPA-organised Sync Mission to Los Angeles.

Here he tells us why there’s no such thing as ‘selling out’ for artists in 2015 and how sync's future looks dazzling…

Why did you choose to embark on the recent sync mission? What were your aims when you joined the initiative?

This was a fantastic opportunity for myself and the team at MoS to meet, in person, some of the supervisors who we regularly deal with. We had the chance to strengthen those relationships as-well-as build new ones, in what is a key market for us.

How did you find your recent experiences?

It was a great experience! Overall the mission was extremely well organised with a high calibre of panellists whom really took the time to share their knowledge and expertise. It was very interesting and certainly beneficial to hear about the differences between the UK and US sync industries and how they go about their business.

What were the biggest benefits of taking part?

Highlights: Consulate Party, meeting my fellow delegates, site visits, LA Galaxy, the panels, face-to-face time with clients (old and new), the pub quiz! Negatives: Hangovers, my hotel, traffic, coming last in pub quiz, the end of the trip.

Which areas offer the most opportunities?

So long as you’re organised and pro-active, most territories offer good opportunities. The UK is always growing and is becoming increasingly creative. Also the market in Europe is presenting some great projects! The difficulty is that it is a very competitive industry. Everyone wants sync, everyone pitches for the same projects and unless you really get your company’s name out there (especially as a smaller label) your music will get side-lined.

Which artists are you currently looking to place?

All of them. All of the time. For everything. If I had to name a few, RHODES, Louis Berry and Mura Masa are exceptionally exciting new artists that I’m extremely happy to be working with. It’s a very interesting time at MoS right now.

What notable syncs have you recently worked on/helped place?

Most recently it would be London Grammar’s Wasting My Young Years for Jeep Cherokee, Rebel by Louis Berry for Netflix and Turning Back Around by RHODES for Pretty Little Liars.

Which types of media are currently offering the most lucrative opportunities?

Commercials have always been the most lucrative media to license to and I don’t see that changing at any point soon. However, building up a good network amongst US supervisors has meant we get some really good usages on TV and that can really add up.

What skills/attributes do artists and publishers need to get into sync and make the most of this area?

Answer the phone, reply to emails, be approachable and know your catalogue. Also, not just creatively but if you’re the master owner, know who the publishers are, what the potential problems could be, generally know what you're working with. It is important to only send relevant tracks for briefs otherwise you’re wasting the client’s time. And just get things done as efficiently and quickly as possible.

How does the future of sync look like?

Sync will only continue to grow. Evolving technologies mean new ways that agencies advertise, new ways that people listen to music and new ways of structuring deals. Over the last few years that stigma of ‘selling out’ just doesn’t exist anymore. Labels and artists see sync as another revenue stream, another way of promoting the music and also actively take part in the process. All in all, the future of sync looks good!

Check out our previous interviews with the BPI's Chris Tams, Harriet Moss from Manners McDade, Cooking Vinyl's Verity Griffiths and Amazing Artists' Ysanne Spevack on the sync mission.