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Decoding Brand Partnerships and Commercial Sync with Carly Mindel

Decoding Brand Partnerships and Commercial Sync with Carly Mindel
Carly Mindel

The music industry can feel complex, especially when it comes to balancing and fully understanding the different facets for artists growing their brand within the industry. In a recent conversation with Carly Mindel, she sheds light on her dual role in brand partnerships and commercial sync in the music business, and helps demystify the process for artists working with brands and how artists get music and works placed with brands in a commercial capacity.

Carly explained that her team spearheads brand partnerships and commercial sync, with a whole other internal department handling film, TV, gaming, and trailers. Carly’s primary focus is brand partnerships, contributing to about 75% of her work. However, she also has a keen interest in the commercial sync sector, covering the remaining 25% of her workload. These are estimates, of course, as every week is different for Carly. She added that brand partnerships and commercial sync often overlap, too.

Brand Partnerships

Carly's approach to brand partnerships starts with an extensive questionnaire for the artists. It covers all aspects of their life, from what's in their bag to the apps they use daily, helping her team understand what brands the artists organically align with. The aim is to connect the artist with a brand they genuinely love, as it often leads to more successful partnerships. These partnerships are a fluid process that needs to adapt to an artist's evolving tastes and lifestyle changes. Carly stressed the importance of open, honest conversations with artists and their management teams.

"This is where social media plays a critical role; it's a 'receipt' of the artist's genuine love for a brand, making it a great tool in persuading brands of the authenticity of the partnership."

The journey to creating successful partnerships involves a mix of proactive and reactive strategies. Carly's team explores opportunities with brands they feel align with the artist's likes and dislikes while also being receptive to pitches from brands themselves. Once a partnership is agreed upon, the team gets into the negotiation and creative phase, finding ways to amplify the campaign through different departments within the label.

How to Score a Brand Partnership

For smaller artists wondering how to approach brand partnerships, Carly suggests starting with brands they organically relate to and that can also link back to their music. Even small-scale partnerships, such as a product giveaway, can help to build a relationship that may lead to more substantial collaborations in the future. Cold outreach can also work, but it's essential to write a respectful, well-crafted email that offers value to the brand rather than just asking for freebies or money.


Brand partnerships are most holistic, focusing on the artist's brand and that of a consumer product or service. These collaborations can take many forms, such as product endorsements, sponsored tours, or featuring products in music videos. The goal is to create a win-win scenario where the brand gains visibility and authenticity from the artist's fan base, while the artist receives additional exposure, marketing support, and often financial compensation from the brand.

Commercial sync is a bit more focused, referring to the process of licensing songs to be used in various forms of media such as advertisements, campaigns, and it provides artists with the opportunity to showcase their music to a wider audience. By strategically placing their songs in the context of visual content, musicians can enhance the emotional impact of a scene or evoke specific moods, while also benefiting from increased exposure and potential fan engagement.

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Breaking into Commercial Sync

When discussing how an artist can break into the commercial sync space, Carly underscored the importance of building relationships with independent music supervisors as they may be able to submit unsolicited material to ad agencies or brands which is a great start for unsigned artists.

She emphasized the significance of understanding what brands typically seek in music for their campaigns: upbeat and dynamic songs with generic, relatable lyrics. However, she cautioned artists against assuming all their songs are "sync-able". Often, while a song might have potential for sync, there might still be room for improvement. Carly adds,

“If a song's lyrics fit perfectly but the instrumental isn't quite right, the brand or agency might suggest alterations to make it more suitable for the campaign.” 

Carly Mindel (L) and Nessa Barrett (R)

What Makes a Strong Pitch?

According to Carly, a strong pitch typically requires a clear understanding of what the brand wants. Brands usually specify the desired genres, moods, and tempo of the music, and may also provide an outline of the campaign's visual concept. Making sure to meet their goals is key.

Carly also cited a successful campaign she was involved in with artist Shawn Wasabi and Glade (hear the full track below). In this unique deal, Wasabi created all the sounds for Glade's new campaign, perfectly illustrating the exciting and diverse opportunities available in the world of music brand partnerships and commercial sync.

The Future of Parterships and Sync

Looking ahead, Carly sees a shift towards experiential brand partnerships as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. She envisions more in-person activations, coupled with a digital element, as the way forward for artist-brand collaborations. In this evolving landscape, artists who understand and leverage brand partnerships will undoubtedly have a leg up.

Ask Carly Mindel your questions on Xposure Music and follow her at @carlymindel  


Carly Mindel
Carly is currently at Warner Records, working to bridge artists & brands for win-win deals. Former-CAA and has worked with Charlie Puth, Becky G, Saweetie & more


Sydney Hubbard
Ex-CAA artist development team member with management expertise. Contact me for advice on engaging booking agencies, hiring a manager, and establishing a personal brand.

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