The Internet has proven to be where music can be discovered, reviewed, discussed, shared, and purchased. Musicians know this and get online to upload their music and become a part of the world wide music machine process. They come on the Web at every age, at every experience level – musically and computer savvy. From youngsters starting out to seasoned musicians just learning where the computer on switch is, the workings of being on a computer can be overwhelming with everything else they have going on in their lives.
The Web also allows musicians access to music knowledge. Artists will come across difficult terminology and phrases that they do not understand. Compiled in the following mini glossary are music business, digital, organizations, record biz lingo, computer terms and basic need-to-know info. Hopefully, something listed here will help you navigate music online a bit easier, and so you know, this glossary is an excerpt of an extensive list found on Artistopia.
A&R – Artist and Repertoire, aka talent scouts: a record company liaison whose duties may include to find, select and develop the music artist, band and/or songwriter.
Affiliate Program – a way to earn income by linking your Web site to another site, depending on the action taken by the visitor.
ASCAP – American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers which licenses and distributes royalties to it’s members’ copyrighted works.
Bandwidth – has nothing to do with the size of a band but is a measure of the amount of information (data) that can be sent over a network connection in a given period of time. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits per second.
Bitrate – The number of kilobits per second of data in your audio file. The bitrate you choose when creating an MP3 file determines the size and quality of the resulting MP3. The highest commonly available bitrate is 320 kbps and the higher the bitrate, the closer the encoding is to the original source of music.
Blanket License – allows the user to perform any or all, in part or all, of the songs in the ASCAP repertory. What a warm and cozy license.
Business Manager – an artist or band manager that specializes in the financial matters, including planning, investing, income, taxes, decisions and contracts.
Buzz – to get people talking about a new artist, band, song or album, creating intense excitement and/or rumors.
Clause – a chubby fellow in a red suit is Claus: in a record contract, there might be certain limitations, specifications, or modifications that stipulate the final outcome of that contract.
Concert Promoter – with duties including ticketing, PR, marketing, and booking, this agency or agent responsibilities are for concert event promotion.
Content – to make the Search Engines happy and have pages rank well in a search result, a good quantity of well written text aligning with the site’s keywords and theme updated regularly is a Webmaster’s steak and potatoes.
Cookie – no, not chocolate chip, but a piece of software that records info about your visit to a Web site, then holds the info until the server requests it.
Copyright – a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information, in our case artistic properties, the songs and sound recordings.
Derivative Work – a new work based on or resulting from one or more preceding works.
Digital Licensing – the use of copyrighted music compositions including downloads, on demand streaming, limited use downloads and CD burning.
Distributor – the agency or agent that handles the sales and shipment of the music (records, CDs) to the marketplace or basically, gets the product to the consumers.
Domain Name – a sign post on the Internet, it is a unique name that identifies an Internet site.
DRM – Digital Rights Management is a technology that protects a piece of intellectual digital property such as a music, video, or text file.
Encoding – the process of converting audio to or from a compressed format like MP3 or WMA.
Exclusive Rights – under copyright law, the privileges that only a copyright owner has with respect to the copyrighted work.
Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) – a file format for audio data compression that does not remove information from the audio stream, as MP3, AAC, and Vorbis do.
Grammy Awards – an award ceremony for all genres presented by the Recording Academy for outstanding achievements in the recording industry: a gold megaphone for your mantel.
Groupie – what’s the point of being an act without groupies? Overly enthusiastic fans with much love to offer.
HTML – HyperText Markup Language, programming language for the world wide web. A web browser interprets the code written and displays it for a web page and web sites. Some very basic knowledge of HTML may help on some sites.
Hook – a pirate: a music phrase, a passage, an idea – something (catchy and/or repetitive) that makes the song stand out and be more appealing and remembered.
Hype – sensational and extreme promotion of a person, idea or product.
Indie – an independent artist or band that desires to do-it-all-themselves and/or not affiliated with a larger record label.
Intern – usually a college student job at a record label in a no or low paying position, more of an apprenticeship learning the ropes and gaining business experience.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) – how and who connects your computer or network to the Internet, whether dialup, DSL, Cable, T1 or T3.
Master Recording License – pertains to the recording of a performance itself, which are usually controlled by the record label.
Mastering – the final stage and preparation in a recording before weapons of mass duplication, includes the consistency of audio levels and quality perfecting.
Mechanical License – the use of copyrighted musical compositions for use on CDs, cassettes, record albums.
Music Contracts – all the various bits of paperwork used in the music business, always read the “fine print” to the many contracts – recording, management, finders fee, general release contracts. When the contracts come in – time to get an Entertainment Attorney.
Music Industry – all things pertaining and related to the business of music, dominated by the Big Four major labels: Sony BMG, Warner, Universal and EMI.
Music Publisher – provides services such as marketing, pitching and promoting works written by songwriters. Deals with the commercial exploitation of music catalogs and songs.
Press Kit – aka media kit, a prepackaged set of promotional materials for a music artist or band for distribution including song samples, bio, historical info, photos and contact information.
Producer – duties include: controlling the recording session, guidance of the artist(s), coaching, organizing, scheduling of production resources and budgets, as well as supervising the process of recording, mixing and mastering.
Publishing Royalties – income paid to the writer of a song.
RIAA – Recording Industry Association of America, the organization that represents the interests of record labels and producers in the USA.
Ripping – means to take an audio CD and record it to a computer in an uncompressed file format (wav). Digital audio extraction from one media form to a hard disk.
Roadie – the road crew that travels with a band on tour. These hard working individuals do everything but the performance, are technicians, do the set up and take down, security, bodyguards, pyrotechnics, and lighting.
Sampling Rate – the number of samples taken per second when digitizing sound. The higher the number, the better the quality of the digital reproduction.
SoundExchange – an independent, nonprofit performance rights organization that collects and distributes digital performance royalties for recording artists and record labels when their sound recordings are performed on digital cable, satellite TV music, internet and satellite radio.
Sound Recording – the copyright of the recording itself (what you hear, the entire production) as distinguished from the copyright of the song (words and music owned by the songwriter or publisher).
Synchronization License – aka “synch” license, allows the user to reproduce a musical composition “in connection with” or “in timed relation with” a visual image, motion picture, video, advertising commercial – from the copyright owner of the music.
Talent Agent – or booking agent, the representative of the music artist(s) that sets up the live performances.
Vanity Label – a celebrity recording artist is given a label within a label and runs under the umbrella of the parent label.