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Lionel Lodge

Lionel Lodge: Empowering Creatives by Bringing a Positive Change in the Music Industry

Lionel Lodge, the Founder and CEO of SyncLodge, is a leader who is passionate about the music industry and helping creatives. With a background steeped in the world of music, he has a unique perspective on the challenges those in the creative fields face.

Lionel’s journey is mesmerizing. Before founding SyncLodge, he worked across various aspects of the music industry, both creatively and in management. He even founded and managed a live music venue in his early twenties!

Identifying a need for change in the mid-2000s, with the decline of CD sales, Lionel saw an opportunity in sync licensing to support musicians. However, he was struck by how outdated the industry’s workflow tools were.

Fueled by his experience and vision for a more efficient working method, Lionel founded SyncLodge. SyncLodge is an award-winning platform streamlining the music synchronization licensing process for creatives in the music and visual production industries.

Lionel’s leadership is driven by a desire to empower creatives and positively change the industry. His understanding of the challenges and innovative approach make him an influential figure.

In this exclusive interview, Lionel discussed his achievements and plans to continue the transformation in the future.

Lionel, please share your journey to your current role. What inspired you to take on these leadership roles? 

SyncLodge was an idea that came to me in the autumn of 2017 after I witnessed the struggles and frictions in the music sync licensing sector of the entertainment industry. I searched for partners, found those I thought were the best at what they do, and registered SyncLodge as a corporation in January 2019.

The road that brought me to the inspiration was: In the mid-2000s, I was living off my music, enjoying my life and the world I lived in, but CD sales were dying, so I needed to find a new revenue stream to replace or at least supplement the decline in my income—a friend of my father’s suggested sync licensing my music for TV shows and films. I checked into it, attended many industry conferences, networked, and started licensing my recordings. Some independent artists and small record labels asked if I would represent them for sync placements. The next thing I knew, I had a sync licensing agency.

Through building the agency and meeting and talking at length with many industry professionals, I saw an obvious need for a digital transformation. Many were drowning in paperwork, email ping-pongs, and phone calls and needed “digital salvation”. I could see many points in the work processes that would benefit from innovative technology. At first, I looked for a system, a set of tools that would solve the problems I saw. I didn’t find one that answered the full set of workflow needs. So, together with my co-founders, we set out to build it. Now SyncLodge is empowering creatives, winning innovation awards, and growing into a globally recognized service for the industry.

How do you define leadership, and what qualities do you believe are essential for effective leadership in today’s corporate landscape? 

One of the company’s mantras is “Pulling together so we all move forward.” Another is “The power of clarity.” It is said that respect is earned. There are many levels of respect; one great aspect of gaining respect is giving it. It shows respect by listening and being patient with another’s understanding or lack thereof. We are a startup with very large long-term goals. The only way to continue advancing toward those goals is for us all to pull together. The best way, I find, to get the most out of team members is first to recognize their strengths and understand that we all have our weaknesses. That is why we work as a team.

We don’t shoot down ideas but want them to withstand scrutiny. It is a matter of acting and working with integrity for the company’s long-term health. But that is not to say we soft-glove our team members. At SyncLodge, it is an energized atmosphere where personal egos are left at the door, ideas are thrown on the table, and sometimes, they are taken back off just as quickly. The ones that stick are agreed on by the team and worked on with a clear focus as to why it is important. You can’t have an orchestra without a violin, as a violin is not an orchestra.

How do you balance the responsibilities of your various leadership roles while focusing on your personal and professional growth? 

I think they are the same. Working through my leadership responsibilities fuels my personal and professional growth. Personal growth comes from experience and understanding that there is still much more to understand. I am a very curious person and always have been. I like to explore the unknown and talk with people about their perspectives. I read a lot and enjoy many long-form podcast conversations between intelligent people. Life is all about growth through experience.

What challenges have you encountered in your leadership journey, and how have you overcome them? 

All challenges are significant, and none are. It is a matter of perspective. At first, the big challenge was to have honest clarity about the needs of the sync sector of the industry, not just my views of what was needed. So, we talked to hundreds of industry stakeholders in many countries who gave their opinions on what was required. Then, the problem was that there was a large, diverse spectrum of needs and perspectives. This told us that the system needed to be intrinsically versatile and cover all the ways the users preferred to work and address all their needs. It also showed us how big the need for a digital transformation of the industry workflow was. We spent over three years building the system with direct input from these hundreds of industry professionals, some on a weekly, some on a monthly, and some every quarter. Building, showing, feedback, building, showing, feedback… That was a tough and frustrating few years but well worth it and certainly needed. But then I believe if you will climb a mountain, why climb a small one?

Another challenge was and is finding investment partners. Finding individuals and/or companies that want to have a positive impact on the music and visual production industries, who see the need to ensure a healthy creative future, and who understand our focused sector of the industry.

Can you discuss the importance of networking and collaboration in driving corporate evolution and how you foster connections within the business community? 

The entertainment industry is all about building connections. But most people are extremely busy. So, it is about offering value. I believe in helping others whenever I can. If I can benefit others, then this will help the business community. What helps the business community helps us. I talk to many people each week. I build friendships and see the human being first. I have made long-term friendships with people I have never done business with. I go to many conferences, round-table meetings, and industry-based gatherings. I enjoy meeting and talking with people. Sharing personal experiences and industry insights.

How do you stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the business world, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into your leadership approach? 

I get invited to speak at many industry conferences, and one thing I do when I am at a conference is attend the other panels. I listen to the discussions, I learn, and I ask questions. I also read a lot of reports and projections. If I am not sure about something, there is usually someone I can reach out to for clarity. I am very fortunate that way.

What advice would you give aspiring leaders looking to make a positive impact in the business community? 

If you want to make a positive impact, remember there is a jing to every jang, a down to every up. Be agile, learn and don’t hold on to your original assumptions. It has to be a passion for which you are willing to work hard. One of the hardest things is to change the status quo. The entrenched views are hard to change but never impossible. There are some great leaders in the entertainment industry, like Sandy Climan. Sandy has some great quotes that I think you should keep in mind. “Leave yourself available for the unexpected.” And, “If it does not grab you, you move on.” And the big one, “Be of service to others. The minute you think you are more important than others, you have failed as a human being.”.

What are your goals and aspirations for the future, both personally and professionally? 

SyncLodge is focused on empowering creatives through tech and knowledge. We will continue to strive for this goal. We listen to what the people and the industry say is holding them back and aim to fix it. We can’t do it alone, so we keep building bridges and communities. I want to look back over the past five years and know that I have positively impacted the industry and society.