10 Artists who found success through sync licensing deals

Reine Cramer - Content Producer, Bridge.audio

Reine Cramer

Content Producer, Bridge.audio

Kate bush performing in a red chair

Gaining exposure and growing your fanbase can be a challenging endeavor, both for emerging artists as well as established artists hoping to reach newer generations. While traditional music marketing, social media promotion and label support can go a long way, artists are sometimes only one sync licensing contract away from mainstream success in music.

What is Sync Licensing ?

Sync licensing refers to the placement of songs in various forms of media such as TV shows, movies, video games and commercials. In this article, we’re going to take a look at 10 artists who were propelled into mainstream success in music after a successful sync licensing deal.

“Breathe Me” by Sia

“Breathe Me” is a single by Australian singer Sia, featured on the album “Colour the Small One” released in 2004. The song gained significant popularity after it was featured in the series finale of the HBO TV series “Six Feet Under” in 2005. This was the first time Sia got significant exposure to an American audience. The single has since sold over 1.2 million copies in the United States, demonstrating the impact a successful sync licensing deal can have in helping artists grow their fanbase.

“Colours of You” by Baby Queen

“Colours of You” by Baby Queen is yet another testament to the power of sync placements in catapulting emerging artists into the limelight. The song was originally made for the soundtrack of the Netflix series “Heartstopper”, to be featured at a pivotal point in the show’s plotline. Collaborating with a popular series proved to be a significant boost to Baby Queen’s visibility and popularity. Indeed, according to Spotify for Artists, the emerging artist saw a 1134% increase in discoveries in the week after her song was featured on the show, compared to the week before it aired. This resulted in her gaining 1.5 million new listeners in only 28 days. The song was so well-received that it was included in the deluxe edition of Baby Queen’s full-length debut studio album, “Quarter Life Crisis” released in 2023, and a limited edition vinyl of the song was even made for Record Store Day 2023 in the United Kingdom.

“New Soul” by Yael Naim

“New Soul” by Yael Naim is a prime example of how a song’s sync placement can propel an emerging artist into mainstream success in music. The French-Israeli singer was relatively unknown until her song was handpicked by Apple for the MacBook Air’s debut commercial. This exposure catapulted Naim into the international music scene and made “New Soul” a hit. The song debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at number 9, giving Naim her first single ever to enter any US chart. In her birth country of France, the single hit number 1 on the French Singles Chart. The success of “New Soul” illustrates how a sync placement can introduce new artists to a global audience and launch their careers.

“Spaceman” by Babylon Zoo

In 1996, Babylon Zoo signed a sync licensing agreement allowing Levi’s jeans to feature their song “Spaceman” in an ad campaign. As a result of this sync placement, the song experienced a meteoric rise to success and quickly gained widespread recognition, topping the UK singles chart and achieving chart success in numerous other countries. Not only did this sync placement propel Babylon Zoo into the limelight but it also solidified the track as an iconic anthem of the 1990s, leaving an indelible mark on popular culture.

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by the Australian rock band Jet is a stellar example of how sync licensing deals can skyrocket up-and-coming artists to fame. Indeed, the song was used in a highly successful Apple iPod commercial in the early 2000s, propelling the band into the mainstream. The song peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Jet’s highest charting single. This sync placement not only introduced Jet’s music to a global audience but also solidified “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” as one of the most recognizable rock songs of the early 2000s.

“Bad Things” by Jace Everett

“Bad Things” is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Jace Everett. It was originally released as a single in 2005 but did not chart on the Hot Country Songs charts that year. However, the song’s fortunes changed dramatically when it was selected as the theme song for the HBO series “True Blood” in 2008. This placement brought significant attention to the song and the artist, thus revitalizing his career. This sync licensing deal led the song to chart in the United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden in 2009, years after its initial release. Everett’s career was in a rough spot after his eponymous album failed to take off, and by 2006 he had lost his record deal. However, the success of “Bad Things” and its association with “True Blood” brought him newfound notoriety, underscoring the power of sync placements in giving songs and artists a second chance at success in music.

“Days Go By” by Dirty Vegas

“Days Go By” by Dirty Vegas is a classic example of how getting a song licensed can lead to mainstream success. The song was released in the United Kingdom on May 7, 2001 as the band’s debut single. It initially peaked at number 27 on the UK Singles Chart, but after being used in a TV advertisement for the 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse, it became a US radio hit, eventually peaking at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. It even won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2003. Though the band didn’t stay together very long, the success of “Days Go By” demonstrates the transformative power of sync placements in propelling emerging artists to new heights.

“Bohemian Like You” by The Dandy Warhols

“Bohemian Like You” is a song by the American alternative rock band The Dandy Warhols, released as the second single from their third studio album, “Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia,” on July 11, 2000. Despite a yearlong tour, the song initially failed to reach the top 40 on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No 42. However, the song experienced a rise in popularity after being featured in a Vodafone advertisement. Following the ad’s success, the song was re-released on October 9, 2001, and ultimately peaked at No 5 on the UK Singles Chart.

“Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush

Kate Bush’s iconic song “Running Up That Hill” was originally released in 1985, where it peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, after being prominently featured in the fourth season of the popular Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things, the song experienced a remarkable resurgence. It re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at an impressive No. 8 in 2022. This revival marked a significant achievement for the track, surpassing its original chart position and solidifying its status as a timeless classic. This remarkable example demonstrates the power sync licensing deals can have in revitalizing the careers of more established artists and introducing their catalog to new generations. Indeed, according to Spotify for Artists, Kate Bush experienced a 6000% increase in listeners streaming her music for the first time on Spotify, following her song’s sync placement on the hit TV series.

The Black Keys: over 300 sync placements!

The Black Keys, an American rock duo formed in 2001, are known to have licensed over 300 of their songs to TV Shows, commercials, movies and video games throughout their career. Their broad licensing approach began in the mid-2000s after the release of their EP “The Moan”. Indeed, in this early stage of their career, the band was struggling to get radio airplay and had recently lost $3,000 from their European tour. These disappointments led them to explore new revenue streams, eventually deciding to start licensing their music. Their first sync placement was with their song “Set You Free” which was used in a Nissan commercial. This marked the beginning of the 300 sync licensing deals that greatly contributed to their current notoriety.

Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of rock band The Black Keys playing on stage
The Black Keys - Photo credit : Kara Murphy

How sync placements can boost exposure and revenue for artists

These success stories from sync placements show that getting a song synced can greatly increase exposure, enabling artists to propel themselves even further into successful mainstream music careers. Exposure aside, it’s just as crucial to note that sync placements are also incredibly lucrative for artists in-and-of themselves. Many sync licensing deals can go from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars for one single sync placement. This is something to keep in mind, particularly if you’re an artist looking for new ways to monetize your music.

How to get a sync license for TV shows, movies, and commercials

Securing sync placements can often be incredibly competitive and without having a strong personal network of music supervisors and sync agents, it can be hard to get a shoe in the door. However, the Sync Hub powered by Bridge.audio connects labels and publishers to music supervisors in an instant using the power of AI.

Bridge AI music analyzer has an auto-tagging feature that analyzes entire catalogs with incredible precision, categorizing tracks from genre to tempo, mood, instrumentation, vocal performance and effects, thus enabling music supervisors to find tracks with greater ease, and reach out to the rights-holders more effortlessly. To find out more about what our Sync Hub can do for your music catalog, book a call with our team here.

Labels and publishers can also use Bridge.audio’s workspaces to create interactive Electronic Press Kits for their artists, perfect for sending to music supervisors and tracking when songs have been played. Check out this article on how to build an electronic press kit (EPK) for your music project using Bridge.audio.


Sync placements have proven to be a game-changer for artists, allowing them to achieve mainstream success in music and reach a wider audience. By understanding the power of sync licensing, creating exceptional music and building a network of music supervisors and sync agents, artists can unlock the power of sync placements and pave their way to lucrative careers.

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