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Music Online Glossary – When Music, Music Careers and PCs Collide

The internet has proven to be the place to discover, review, discuss, share and buy music. Musicians know this and are uploading their music online and becoming part of the worldwide jukebox process. They appear online at all ages and experience levels – musically and computer savvy. From young beginners to seasoned musicians just learning where the computer is on the switch, how computerization works can be overwhelming with everything else going on in their lives.

The web also allows musicians to access music knowledge. Artists encounter difficult terminology and expressions that they do not understand. The following mini glossary covers music business, digital, organizations, record business lingo, computer terms and basics. Hopefully what’s listed here will make navigating music on the web a little easier, and just so you know, this glossary is an excerpt from the extensive list on Artistopia.

A&R – Artist and Repertoire, also known as talent scouts: a record company liaison whose duties may include finding, selecting, and developing a music artist, band, and/or songwriter.

Affiliate Program – a way of making money by linking your site to another site, depending on the actions taken by the visitor.

ASCAP – American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which licenses and distributes royalties for the copyrighted works of its members.

Bandwidth – has nothing to do with the size of the band, but rather the amount of information (data) that can be sent over the network connection within a given period of time. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits per second.

Bitrate – The number of kilobits per second of data in an audio file. The bitrate you choose when creating an MP3 file determines the size and quality of the resulting MP3. The highest bitrate commonly available is 320kbps, and the higher the bitrate, the closer the encoding is to the original music source.

Blanket License – allows the user to perform any or all of the songs in the ASCAP repertoire, in whole or in part. What a warm and cozy permission.

Business Manager – a performer or band manager who specializes in financial matters, including planning, investment, revenue, taxes, decisions and contracts.

Buzz – getting people talking about a new artist, band, song or album, creating intense excitement and/or rumours.

Clause – a chubby guy in a red suit Claus: a record deal may contain certain restrictions, stipulations or modifications that determine the final outcome of the contract.

Concert promoter – this agency or agent’s responsibilities include ticketing, PR, marketing and booking.

Content – in order to keep search engines happy and pages to rank well in search results, a good amount of well-written text relevant to the website’s keywords and topic is regularly updated Webmaster’s steak and potatoes.

Cookie – no, not a chocolate chip, but a piece of software that records information about your visit to a website and then stores the information until the server requests it.

Copyright – a set of exclusive rights that regulate the use of a specific expression of an idea or information, in our case artistic property, songs and sound recordings.

Derivative work – a new work based on or derived from one or more earlier works.

Digital licensing – use of copyrighted musical compositions, including downloads, on-demand streaming, limited-use downloads and CD burning.

Distributor – the agency or agent that sells and markets music (records, CDs) or basically delivers the product to consumers.

Domain name – a signpost on the Internet, it is a unique name that identifies a website.

DRM – Digital Rights Management is a technology that protects an intellectual digital property such as a music, video or text file.

Encoding – converting audio to a compressed format such as MP3 or WMA.

Exclusive Rights – the privileges under copyright law that only the copyright owner has in respect of the copyrighted work.

Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) – a file format for compressing audio data that does not remove information from the audio stream, as MP3, AAC and Vorbis do.

Grammy Awards – an awards ceremony for all genres by the Recording Academy for outstanding achievements in the recording industry: golden megaphone for the fireplace.

Groupie – what’s the point of being an actor without groupies? Too enthusiastic fans to recommend with much love.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language, programming language for the World Wide Web. A web browser interprets the code you write and displays it for a web page and websites. A basic understanding of HTML can help with some websites.

Hook – hack: a musical phrase, a lyric, an idea – something (catchy and/or repetitive) that makes the song stand out, catchy and memorable.

Hype – sensational and extreme advertising of a person, idea or product.

Indie – an independent artist or band that wants to do it all and/or is not affiliated with a major record label.

Intern – usually a college student job at a record label, not a low paying position, more of an internship learning the ropes and gaining business experience.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) – how and who connects your computer or network to the Internet, whether dial-up, DSL, cable, T1 or T3.

Master Recording License – refers to the recording of the performance itself, which is usually overseen by the record label.

Mastering – the final stage and preparation of a recording before mass reproduction, including consistency of sound levels and perfecting of quality.

Mechanical license – use of copyrighted musical compositions on CDs, cassettes, and record albums.

Music contracts – the various paperwork used in the music business, always read the “fine print” of many contracts – recording, management, finder’s fees, general publishing contracts. When the contracts arrive, it’s time to get an entertainment lawyer.

Music industry – everything related to the music business and dominated by the big four labels: Sony BMG, Warner, Universal and EMI.

Music Publisher – provides services such as marketing, presentation and promotion of works written by songwriters. It deals with the commercial exploitation of music catalogs and songs.

Press Kit – also known as a media kit, prepackaged promotional materials for distribution to a music artist or band, including song samples, biography, historical information, photos, and contact information.

Producer responsibilities include: monitoring the recording session, managing the artist(s), coaching, organizing, scheduling production resources and budgets, and overseeing the recording, mixing and mastering process.

Publishing royalty – 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 United States.

Ripping – means taking an audio CD and recording it on a computer in an uncompressed file format (wav). Extracting digital audio from a storage medium to a hard drive.

Roadie – the road crew who travels with a band on tour. These hard-working individuals do everything except the performance, technicians, set-up and tear-down, security, bodyguards, pyrotechnics and lighting.

Sampling Rate – the number of samples taken per second during audio digitization. The higher the number, the better the quality of the digital reproduction.

SoundExchange – an independent, nonprofit performing rights organization that collects and distributes digital performance royalties to digital artists and record labels when their recordings are played on digital cable, satellite TV, the 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 (the words and music owned by the songwriter or label).

A synchronization license – also known as a “synchronization” license – allows a user to reproduce a musical composition in “connection” or “timed relationship” with a visual image, film, video, commercial from the copyright owner of the music.

Talent agent – or booking agent, representative of the music artist(s) who organizes the live performances.

Vanity Label – the celebrity recording artist is given a label within the label and operates under the umbrella of the parent label.

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