The partner spotlight is a weekly series where we go behind the scenes with some of the companies that make VendorDB great. Next up is SYNC or SWIM!
Name: Chip Herter / SYNC or SWIM
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Year Founded: 2014
Specialties: Music Supervision, Licensing, Synchronization, Advertising, Commercials, TV, Film, New Media, Post Production, Post Audio, Sound Design, Music Publishing, Original Score
What inspired you to start your company?
After my tenure as Music Producer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, I desired the freedom to work with more brands and the flexibility to work across more forms of media (video games, film, advertising, etc.). I wanted to create an environment where the only priority is to find the perfect soundtrack for each project. No hidden agenda to sell you music you don’t want. No objective outside of creating awesomely memorable work.
Los Angeles is a natural home to a burgeoning music supervision agency like SYNC or SWIM. I settled in Los Angeles years ago in an effort to be as close to the pulse of the music industry as I could be. Also you can’t beat the weather.
What was the first job someone hired you for?
My first job as SYNC or SWIM was a magnificent opportunity. It was with Weiden + Kennedy, supervising music for the 2015 Coca-Cola Super Bowl campaign “#MAKEITHAPPY”. The opportunity was as special as the creative concept of the campaign, and it awarded me the chance to work with an amazing band, Hundred Waters.
What was the most technically challenging work you’ve created?
I’m currently in production on an idie film, Creedmoria, that is both challenging and exciting. Putting together an entire soundtrack of exciting and emerging artists is a dream come true, but it’s also a lot of work. I’m really excited to see the outcome.
Which work or brand are you best known for?
I cut my teeth working with Microsoft and a couple of their sub-products, Windows Phone and XBOX. The campaign to launch Windows 8 was one of the first major projects I worked on, and it was a great experience.
Which project is your most underrated?
Considering its message, I think the Coca-Cola “#MAKEITHAPPY” campaign was really underrated. It had a powerful concept that I wish more people would have stopped to think about. If you look at the creative—which was largely about putting an end to internet bullying—and listen to the lyrics of the Hundred Waters song “Show Me Love” that I synced to the picture, the lyrics compliment the creative incredibly well.
Don’t let me show cruelty,
Though I may make mistakes,
Don’t let me show ugliness,
Though I know I can hate,
And don’t let me show evil,
Though it might be all I take,
Show me love,
Show me love,
Show me love.
After finding the song, when the band’s singer Nicole Miglis came into the edit and shared these lyrics with us, their impact was undeniable. The room was silent, the hairs on my arm stood on end, and I knew this would be one of the most special productions I have worked on to date.
What is the smartest work you’ve seen in the past year that didn’t come from your shop?
I’m a big fan of the work that Duotone Audio is accomplishing lately. They first moved me with their work on Chipotle’s ad “The Scarecrow” and their work with Tullamore Dew on “The Other Wall” was also captivating. But “The Scarecrow” set a bar for the quality work I would like to achieve. I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with Duotone since discovering them, and I can attest that they are pros.
How has the business changed since you started?
I’ve only seen the licensing and synchronization game improve and gain notoriety since I started. Artists have truly come around to the idea that a good license can mean an invaluable amount of exposure for their music. On the agency side, I’ve seen growth in the creative’s interest to take chances on emerging artists. They see the value in the notoriety it offers their brand if they contribute to “breaking” an artist; and brands no longer have to sacrifice monumental budgets in order to achieve good music in their productions. Thanks to the age of the Internet, good music is ever-accessible and waiting to be heard at any price.
What emerging tech trend will have the biggest impact on your business?
Streaming and subscription music services, such as Spotify and Beats Music, have hands-down had an impact on how artists are heard, and the value that they can bring to a licensing opportunity. One question that is at the forefront of most conversations with creatives today is, “how many Spotify plays do they have?”
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
As a relatively new startup, and coming from Crispin Porter + Bogusky where I achieved the bulk of my experience to date, the biggest challenge for me is gaining exposure with new producers and different agencies. There are a lot of music supervision services out there vying for the same work I am, and cutting through that noise (pun!) to show a new agency why my particular service is superior to others is a big challenge.
What advice do you have for agency producers or creatives?
Never be afraid to try new things. Never be afraid to fail. And call me!
What do you make of the trend where brands are skipping their agency of record to work directly with production partners?
This only makes sense to me. In today’s market, there are so many resources for brands to use, each with skills as good as the next. It would be reckless and uncreative of a brand NOT to play the field. That keeps their work fresh and inventive, and it keeps their vendors on their toes and always inspired to improve, or they’ll lose the work to someone with more drive and passion.
What is the best thing about working at SYNC or SWIM?
Being the founder of SYNC or SWIM, the best thing is being able to work with new and exciting brands all the time. I love client interaction, and taking the lead in those conversations is really gratifying. I love our location in Downtown LA. It makes me feel like I am close to the fringe of the most exciting developments in the music and media industries. Plus, there’s no one to curb my sometimes deliriously positive attitude when it comes to this work, which I am told is one of my best traits.