Super Bowl

Super Bowl Synch Report 2016: Classic Rock, Hip-Hop Score Big In Another Record Year

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Bruno Mars performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. 

Beyonce may have been the runaway winner of the Pepsi Halftime Show, with her surprise announcement of The World Formation Tour, but what about the ads? The top four music publishers reported another banner year in commercial “synch” licenses during the game itself, with nine for Sony/ATV, nine for Universal Music Publishing Group, seven for Warner/Chappell, six for BMG and at least three for Kobalt Music Group, marking another record year for the publishing industry in both volume and revenue.

(UPDATE 11/9: An earlier version of this article included two pre-game ads and one post-game ad in the sync total for Sony/ATV. Narrowed down to spots during the game, Sony/ATV had nine, not 12 ads.)

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"It was exciting to see brands look deep into the catalog, as well as have things written around newer songs from Drake and Jeff,” says Sony/ATV’s exec VP of commercial music Brian Monaco.

Jeep’s “4x4ever” was a surprise highlight: It was by far the most Shazam'ed song of the game thanks to its original lyrics from Morgan Dorr, bass player of pop-punk act Boys Like Girls and lead singer of Best Of Friends. This wasn’t Dorr’s first shot at the Super Bowl: he was one of the few Sony/ATV songwriters who participated in a songwriting and recording camp for Jeep’s 2015 spot, which ultimately went to singer-songwriter Marc Scibilia’s cover of “This Land Is Your Land." For this year’s Jeep ad, Monaco paired Dorr with copywriters from Chicago ad agency DDB. “We spent two weeks in the studio getting it right,” he says. 

Ad time for this year’s Super Bowl, which aired on CBS, soared to a reported record of $5 million for 30-second spots (up from $4.5 million in 2015), and synch rates stayed healthy for writers and artists, too. Sony/ATV’s Monaco confirms that several synch licenses cross the $1 million mark this year. “There were a lot of one-year deals, and budgets that coincided with that. It’s nice to see the brands go back to longer-term deals — you get to have that longer-lasting effect of people hearing that song a lot,” he says.

Andrew Hampp is a vice president at music experiential and sponsorship agency MAC Presents. 

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