Lionel Lodge, Co-Founder and CEO of SyncLodge, embarked on a remarkable journey that led him to establish the most powerful B2B2B ecosystem for music supervisors, visual production companies and copyright holders/administrators, to conclude all the licensing tasks needed to professionally license music for film, TV, video games and advertising.
From his early age, Lionel’s core focus was music, arts, and theater but he also found math, business management, and book-keeping highly enjoyable. He loved to rock but also loved to chart the stock markets. He studied business management but also piano, saxophone, guitar, and even singing, from an early age.
Lionel started his first business at 10 years old, manufacturing a simple product and wholesaling to local stores. This balance of music/business interest continued through his professional life. For decades he has worked as a musician, performer, songwriter. But, along the way he has also founded and managed a number of successful companies, all inspired by seeing distinct needs in the industry and setting out to answer those needs.
SyncLodge: The Game-Changer in Sync Licensing
SyncLodge was launched in April 2022 but the SyncLodge journey started 5 years before in 2017. It all came from experiencing, first-hand, a need in the industry.
“In the mid 2000s physical recording sales were dropping quickly. I was advised to look into sync licensing, licensing my recordings for use in film and TV productions. I attended conventions, studied the industry, networked, made a lot of good friends and started placing my music.”
This work grew into a boutique sync licensing agency representing a few dozen artists and a few small record companies. The company was doing well but Lionel started seeing many problems with the mechanics of industry, on both sides, the licensees and the licensors.
Lionel brainstormed on how the industry could be improved, made a lot simpler to manage and shift the focus more to the creative elements through a major digital transformation. For the first 3 years of building SyncLodge he met with and gained feedback from hundreds of industry stakeholders from all sectors of the industry. He put the SyncLodge team together and started building the tools the industry asked for. Each time a section of the system was built he went back to his many industry contacts asking for critical evaluations and then adjusting accordingly.
Lionel recalls, “It was a tough number of years but well worth it. Now with it finally launched, when people start using it, the feedback we get the most is that it is amazing!”
Innovative Solutions for the Music Sync Licensing Industry
SyncLodge, headquartered in the United Kingdom is a 360 service platform which incorporates all the tools all the stakeholders involved in placing music for film, TV, games or advertising need: from global music search and project shortlisting, to legal formalities, automating all tedious tasks for maximum efficiency.
SyncLodge does not curate, it is not a marketplace, it is not an agency. It lets the licensees and licensors deal directly with each other. It accesses all the world’s released music and its metadata through APIs. The system auto-populates the data in relation to the song, making the whole process very easy.
But that is only a small part of the many award winning tools that SyncLodge offers. It really covers all aspects of this very complicated business.
What makes Synclodge special?
” It’s completely free for music supervisors and visual production companies and totally fair to artists – charging a symbolic 2% of the license fee when their music is placed.”
It is designed to have no barrier for use. It levels the playing field. SyncLodge believes the independents should have access to the same level of professional tools as the large companies. It’s a win- win- win solution for the music sync licensing industry.
Approaching an industry in which so much is managed manually, the opportunities are extensive. The SyncLodge roadmap includes continuing to improve tools for administrative automation, incorporating the benefits of AI, and the innovations of the latest technologies.
SyncLodge does have some very exciting new tools in the works but is keeping quiet about them until they can be launched. So, watch out for some very cool announcements in the near future.
Empowering Independent Artists and Simplifying Access to the Global Market
SyncLodge’s vision is to end “paperwork” and move the sync licensing industry into the digital world. The company is leading the industry’s digital transformation with the aim to facilitate creative potential in this accelerated time of innovation.
“At SyncLodge, we uphold an unwavering commitment to excellence. Our dedication extends not only to the exceptional quality of our services but also to the way we collaborate as a team. While each of us possesses distinct areas of expertise and responsibilities within the company, we foster a culture of open communication, radical transparency, and unwavering honesty. We firmly believe in the power of sharing information openly, discussing decisions, and valuing the diverse perspectives of our team members. Every individual’s opinion is valued, and we actively engage in constructive dialogues to address any concerns. By embracing a collective approach, we recognize the significance of every team member in shaping SyncLodge’s endeavors, shaping our future, and creating a profound impact on the global creative industry.”
Over the next five years, Lionel’s primary objective is to establish SyncLodge as the global system for managing music sync licensing in every visual production center of the world. During this expansion, SyncLodge will remain focused on helping independents and new generation music and visual production creators/administrators to have clarity on the industry mechanics and bring ease to their access to the market. With the SyncLodge team of industry experts they will continue to educate and mentor/advise creatives on how to navigate the many barriers to entry and to best monetize their creations.
“We will continue to engage with those who are developing new media-sharing technologies to assure we remain leaders in facilitating the licensing of the world’s music intellectual properties,” says Lionel.
Embracing Change: Navigating the Ever-Evolving Landscape of the Industry
Every business, regardless of its size or industry, faces its own set of challenges. These challenges can vary depending on numerous factors, including the nature of the business, market conditions, competition, economic factors, and internal operations. Here are some common challenges that Lionel thinks this industry is facing right now or might face in upcoming years:
Lionel explains this point, stating:
Change: Change is difficult. Change is scary. But change is the only real constant in the universe. The biggest challenges SyncLodge faces are the same challenges the industry faces, the changes that are quickly coming towards us and how to stay ahead of the curve, how to surf that wave and not get pulled under.
The biggest challenge the industry is facing is actually what we have identified as the main problem we are solving: people wasting time and energy on tedious tasks instead of focusing on creativity and productivity. And with the advancement of AI this challenge will become bigger and bigger. SyncLodge is offering clear solutions.
Web3, NFTs and blockchain are bringing new challenges of change. Some established elements of the industry will become obsolete, no longer workable. These will be replaced. We are guiding SyncLodge to be a positive part of the changes that are on us and will come. Empowering the creatives is our focus regardless of the industry landscape. How to continue to do that is our challenge.
A common obstacle to innovation is apprehension to changes in work-flow tools. For the large, established companies this can leave them lagging behind the more agile smaller companies. But the newer business entities (licensees and licensors) are impaired by a lack of clarity as to the legal procedures needed to secure and monetize all their rights. For both sectors, the main obstacle for SyncLodge is in establishing clarity as to why the services SyncLodge offers are essential to a company’s financially healthy future.
Internally, the main obstacle for SyncLodge is to overcome our own perceptions. We can never think we are more important than those we serve. Our priorities are to listen to the needs of the industry and answer those needs.
Lessons Learned, Paths Paved
SyncLodge boasts a remarkable array of strengths within its industry, propelled by an extensive network of advisors and an expanding list of friends. This ever-growing network provides SyncLodge with invaluable insights, connections, and opportunities, allowing the company to stay at the forefront of its sector. A key advantage lies in the team’s extensive experience, with each member possessing decades of knowledge and expertise in their respective areas of focus. This wealth of experience has endowed the team with valuable instincts and an acute awareness developed through the lessons they have learned over time.
“We have built what is recognized as a very unique, industry transforming system with a revenue model that is based on inclusion,” says Lionel.
The Key to Building High Motivation and Productivity
“In the realm of leadership, disagreement and criticism play pivotal roles in shaping effective decision-making, fostering growth, and ensuring accountability. While leaders are often seen as authoritative figures who guide and inspire their teams, they must also recognize the value of diverse perspectives and dissenting opinions. Rather than discouraging disagreement and criticism, astute leaders understand their importance in driving innovation, mitigating risks, and enhancing organizational performance.”
Mr. Lodge emphasizes this point, stating:
Transparency and inclusion, I think, are key to keeping motivation high and productivity on course. We are a team, every successful step forward we make is because of the whole team, not one member is more important than another. So, we share all we are doing and ask for honest, no holding back feedback, thoughts, and justified criticism. Regardless of one’s title or place in the company, sharing of perspectives is crucial and always welcome. Sometimes the outside view has more clarity than the inside view. But criticism can never be on the personal side. It has to be based on the topic, not on the person.
You cannot avoid disagreements, and we do not want to. Disagreements are very healthy. If someone tells me what they think I want to hear, that is useless, boring, and a waste of time. I want to know what they really think and if it opposes my view then we need to discuss it and unearth the collective truth. I am never the smartest person in the room and I like to keep it that way. I work with people I can learn from; this keeps me and the company growing.
Evolves to Meet User Needs
SyncLodge has been conceived and built on feedback and continues to do so. If a user has a need or an idea of how to make the system work better for them, we really want to hear about this and then implement it, show it to the user and gain their feedback again. Over the first three years of building SyncLodge we were fortunate to have direct input from hundreds of industry stakeholders. There was criticism, suggestions, and an education of their work-flows. The strategy of the company does not change that much due to industry feedback but it shows us how to realistically hit the targets. There have been times when needs or pain points in work-flow have been shared with us and we worked hard at eliminating those obstacles for them.
Unleashing Team Potential through Support and Understanding
Leadership is a complex and multifaceted concept that encompasses various skills, traits, and qualities. In recent years, the traditional perception of leadership has evolved, emphasizing the importance of vulnerability and empathy in effective leadership. While vulnerability and empathy might appear as unconventional traits in the context of leadership, they play a crucial role in building trust, fostering collaboration, and driving organizational success.
Lionel believes, “We are all vulnerable, recognizing this keeps us from being blind-sided. It is not something to dwell on but to keep on the checklist. One thing I like to ask myself is “am I being stupid?”. Driving without a seatbelt is stupid and leaves you vulnerable to devastating circumstances. I wear my seatbelt, drive without fear but keep my wits about me knowing I am vulnerable.
Empathy is one of the greatest human abilities, to feel what others are feeling. We need to keep business on a human level. The greatest way to build a great team is to recognize that the feeling of being understood and belonging is far greater a lift for all than the company’s mandates. It is partially what you do, but more so how you do it. Who you are is determined by your actions and how you deal with people, especially when they are struggling. You get the most out of a team when they are enjoying the climb and a big part of that comes from team support.”
Key Advice for Ambitious Young Minds
For SyncLodge’s success it took making the conclusive decision, and taking the big risk, of diving in deep. Lionel and his partners commit themselves to keep climbing, finding the best route up the mountain, no matter the barriers or slow-downs ahead. It is the same core commitment that every start-up needs to succeed.
His final remarks for aspiring young people were, “If you have an idea, test it, throw it against a brick wall and see if it bounces or breaks. Ask for industry insiders to weigh in and take any cynicism very seriously. Really see what the market landscape is, not what you would like it to be. We used to believe in Santa Claus. That turned out to be an illusion supported by our desire to believe it to be true.”