Glossary: Music

Record Company:

Refers to a party who owns or controls a sound recording. This is often a well-known label like Warner Bros. or MCA, but could really be anyone who holds rights to an important recording

Glossary: Film Term

180 degree rule:

A screen direction rule that camera operators must follow – an imaginary line on one side of the axis of action is made (e.g., between two principal actors in a scene), and the camera must not cross over that line – otherwise, there is a distressing visual discontinuity and disorientation; similar to the axis of action (an imaginary line that separates the camera from the action before it) that should not be crossed

Glossary: Music

Music Clearance for Visual Media:

The US copyright act distinguishes between recording music in audio media (i.e. records, tapes, CDs, etc.) and visual media (such as motion pictures and video), because of the potentially powerful effects of pairing music with images. (Consider: What picture comes to mind when you hear “As Time Goes By” or “Singing in the Rain?” And who doesn’t sing the Jaws theme while playing with their kids’ toys in the bathtub?)

Consequently, Congress gave copyright owners the absolute and exclusive authority to permit, set fees for, or prohibit visual uses of music, because they can and do transform the meanings of songs.

The type of license required for using music in visual media is called a synchronization license, because it permits recording music in “synchronization or timed relation” with a moving image.

Glossary: Music

Musical Arrangements:

Simply put, are an original way to play a song or other musical work. The music publisher almost always owns all the arrangement of their song. Some common types include marching band arrangements of current hit songs, intermediate piano arrangements, or a updated versions of older songs (“HARD TO SAY I’M SORRY” by ???, which updates a 1977 Chicago song, is a good example).

While anyone is free to create a new arrangement of an existing song, trying to exploit that arrangement without a license (i.e. on records, sheet music, or as part of a broadcast or commercial could draw an infringement claim from the publisher.

Publishers will usually include the right to make arrangements in a mechanical license or synchronization license, provided the publisher receives full ownership of any arrangement created.

Some types of sampling also qualify as arrangements.

Glossary: Music

Music Publisher:

Is an entity that owns or controls the copyright to a song or musical work and represents its business interests. Publishers often represent songwriters and hold exclusive rights to their works. Finally, many elite songwriters hold their songs in their own music publishing companies (this is a long and diverse list, including Irving Berlin, Bob Dylan, Rogers and Hammerstein, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Dianne Warren).

Glossary: Internet


Earnings Per Click. This number is given by dividing your revenue earned by the number of clicks you sent to the offer. For example, if you send an offer 100 clicks and earn $5.00 then your EPC would be $0.05

Glossary: Music

Tray Card:

The part of the album artwork that sits behind the tray and is seen when you look at the back of the CD case.

Glossary: Internet

Click-Through Rate:

Percentage of times a user responded to an advertisement by clicking on the ad button/banner. At one time the granddaddy of Web-marketing measurements, click-through is based on the idea that online promotions that do what they’re intended to do will elicit a click. CTR is one metric Internet marketers use to measure the performance of an ad campaign.

Glossary: Music

Radio Plugger:

Also sometimes simply known as a plugger, radio pluggers promote releases to radio. Pluggers usually work with specific singles and go around to radio station playlist meetings, playing the singles they are representing and trying to get them placed on a playlist. In some cases, pluggers may work with full albums, letting the stations themselves decide what the single is.

Glossary: Internet

Campaign Optimization:

A feature that automatically manages campaigns for you to help maximize the effectiveness of your spending, based on guidelines you provide. Campaign optimization saves you time while helping you achieve your business objectives.

Glossary: Music

Promo Package:

A package used to promote music, including a promo CD and any appropriate press releases, one sheets, photos and other information. Also known as press kit or press pack.

Glossary: Music

Mechanical Rights:

The permission to make a audio-only, sound recording of song or musical work. Mechanical rights applies to audio media only, and excludes film, TV or multimedia. A Compulsory Mechanical License allows you to make a sound recording without having to contact the copyright owner, provided you do not change the words or fundamental character of the music, and you pay the statutory mechanical rate. To learn more about obtaining mechanical licenses, contact EMG or The Harry Fox Agency.

Glossary: Film

Blacklisting (and blacklist):

Refers to late 40s and early 50s McCarthyism and the HUAC’s (House UnAmerican Activities Committee) formal and informal discrimination and ‘blacklisting’ (effectively banning from employment) of various actors, artists and film-makers based upon their personal, political, social, or religious beliefs (i.e., “Communist sympathizers”); the blacklist was a roster of illegal artists who were not to be hired during the years 1947-1951.

Glossary: Film

Bio-pic (or biographic):

A biographical film of the life of a famous personality or historical figure, particularly popularized by Warner Bros. in the 1930s; a sub-genre of drama and epic films.

GLossary: Music

Master Rights:

The permission needed to use sound recordings in other media. in films or other visual media. Usually held by a record company; Master rights are worthless unless you also have synchronization rights to the underlying song.

Glossary: Music

Copyright Law:

Refers to a body of national and state laws, provisions of international treaties (such as the Berne Convention and the Global Agreement on Tarriffs and Trade), as well as customary business practices surrounding use of intellectual property.
In the US, music is protected under the Copyright Act of 1976. This law provides protection for songs and other musical works, as well as sound recordings of those works.

The law grants copyright owners the exclusive right to do and authorize any of the following:

Reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords (see Recording Rights);

Prepare derivative works based on upon the copyrighted work (see Adaptation Rights);

Distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease or lending (see Reproduction Rights);

In the case of music (as well as other protected intellectual property), perform the copyrighted work publicly (see Public Performance Rights);

Song copyrights are held by music publishers, while sound recordings are controlled by record companies.

Glossary: Music

P.D. – Per Diem:

A per diem, or P.D. for short, literally means “per day” and it is basically expense money for a touring band. P.D.s are paid out to each band member and usually members of the crew so that they can afford to cover basic personal expenses while on tour. P.D.s can vary dramatically depending on how much money the tour has behind it – for instance, a small tour for an indie band that is losing money probably won’t have any P.D.s at all, while a tour that has plenty of tour support from a record label might have very generous P.D.s that give everyone plenty of money for food and maybe even a little left over.

Glossary: Music


Buy-on refers to the practice of a musician paying a fee in exchange for being the opening band on a tour. Buy-ons are often used to give an up and coming act a chance to play in front of a large audience.

Buy-ons are most common for large, arena/stadium kinds of tours and are very rarely used in indie music. It is important not to confuse the idea of a buy-on with being charged a fee for playing a show. With a buy-on, you’re essentially buying an audience – you’re not paying for promotion. Being asked to pay a promoter a fee for them to put on a show for you in a club is a different practice and is frowned up. Further, a buy-on should always involve a contract.

Glossary: Music

Key man clause (contract):

A key man clause names a person in a contract between organisations or partnerships (e.g. between record labels and groups). A band member or writer might be specified by a record label or an A&R man might be specified by a band. The contract normally depends on the key man or key men remaining in place.

Glossary: Music


The is a combined license from MCPS and PRS to cover the performance and duplication of tracks online. It is intended for commercial sites like iTunes, not artist sites.

Glossary: Music


identify recordings (tracks or masters).

Glossary: Music

Google Content ID:

Content ID is a licensing library used by YouTube to identify infringing uploaded content. It is supposed to use audio fingerprinting technology but uploaders still receive warning emails from YouTube when legitimate cover versions merely have the same title words.

Glossary: Music


A Microsoft compatible with CD players.

Glossary: Music

Fingerprint (digital):

is a way of recognising digital files by patterns in their data. The fingerprint is a short code, which can be read by special software to reliably identify the title and other details of a particular track. Shazam uses fingerprinting algorithms to identify music on a cellphone. Fingerprinting is sometimes (erroneously) called watermarking.


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