Season 2 – Episode 12: Kristina Benson – The Four Word Secret To The Music Industry


This week I am talking with my friend Kristina Benson of the sync licensing agency Sweet On Top who I have the privilege of writing for. We are talking about what she does as a sync agent, what it takes to start your own sync agency and making sure you understand how the business works before you reach out to get an agent.

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at

In this episode we talk about:

*The Four word secret to the music industry.
*Right place, right time.
*Recommending not going into music journalism.  Go into PR and do similar work.
*How and why she started her own company.
*Seeking out and negotiating opportunities for artists to license their music for placement in audio/visual media and the details of doing that.
*Keeping in contact with your agent every 3-4 months to see how things are going and ask if there is anything they need specifically.
*DO NOT ask your agent if there is any feedback from music supervisors. They don’t give it.
*How pay rates work on Netflix and Facebook shows.
*Sweet On Top is looking for any music that is produced well and easily cleared.
*Sweet On Top needs happy songs about “home” or “time passing.”
*What you need to know to start your own sync licensing agency.
*Signing with an agent as an artist and making sure you educate yourself about sync music and how the business works.

Sweet on Top was founded by Kristina Benson, a lifelong music professional who began her career with a degree in opera from UCI and piano lessons in her spare time under Miles Davis sideman Kei Akagi. After stints as a promoter and DJ, she segued into a role as a branding specialist for DoStuffMedia, where she spearheaded engagement initiatives for brands such as Goose Island, Grey Goose and Pabst Blue Ribbon, working closely with local influencers produce interactive brand experiences. She went from there to acting as Music Director for Lip Sync, where she managed all day to day operations, including creative pitches, clearance, and custom music, working closely with top flight talent such as the Violent Femmes, Charles Bradley, Lindsey Stirling, Hanni el Khatib, and Steve Aoki.
Custom music she has produced (and written!) in her role as Director were successfully integrated in national campaigns for brands including Coach and Bridgestone Tires, and placed on primetime shows such as Pitch, Orphan Black, and Bones.  She also was directly involved in placing music in national campaigns with brands like Bulova, Michael Kors, Acura, and on shows that include  Vampire Diaries, Sneaky Pete, the Blacklist, Riverdale, Cameron Crowe’s Roadies, and more. After many successful placements and two wonderful years at Lip Sync, she decided the time had come to start her own agency, and she uses her years of experience in the industry to find the perfect song for any project.