Home Independent Music The A-Z Music Glossary For Impartial Musicians In 2023

The A-Z Music Glossary For Impartial Musicians In 2023

The A-Z Music Glossary For Impartial Musicians In 2023


A-Z Glossary of music terms for independent musicians in 2023

Learn our final A-Z music glossary for impartial artists in 2023.


A&R stands for Artists and Repertoire, it’s the division at a document label or music writer chargeable for discovering new expertise and signing them to the corporate. A&R additionally works to information the artist’s profession as soon as they’re signed.


A digital aggregator (or digital distributor) is an organization that helps to distribute your music to streaming platforms like YouTube and YouTube Music.


AAC is a music file format. It’s Apple’s different to MP3 and stands for ‘Superior Audio Coding’, Used for Apple Music streaming.


AIM is the not-for-profit commerce physique solely representing the UK’s impartial music sector, which makes up round 1 / 4 of the recorded music market.

A-B Testing

Often known as cut up testing, refers to an experimentation course of the place two or extra variations of a variable eg advert inventive or viewers are run on the similar time to find out which model performs greatest.


Analysis exhibits one of the best ways for a model or band to develop is by specializing in acquisition over retention. It’s simpler to get new folks to hear as soon as than present listeners to hear twice. So whilst you shouldn’t ignore retaining followers, your focus needs to be on broad-reaching acquisition.

Blanket License

A blanket settlement is a regular music rights licence which the BBC and different broadcasters have in place which permits them to make use of any tune from their music catalogues, in trade for an annual price. They’re much less time-consuming than buying the licence for each tune they want to use individually.


A weblog is a frequently up to date web site or internet web page. The first worth of a music weblog is credible, third-party endorsement. A superb weblog like this one, ought to present up in Google when folks seek for your band or artist title. 

Weblog Aggregator

Weblog aggregators enable musicians to submit their music as soon as in trade for the chance to choose up assist from a number of blogs or music promoters. See our very personal Proper Chord Music’s Indie Collective, Musosoup or Submit Hub.

The RCM Indie Collective gets more new music heard
The RCM Indie Collective will get extra new music heard


BPM stands for beats per minute. The BPM of a chunk of music can also be known as the tempo. A bit of music’s tempo can fluctuate from extraordinarily sluggish (20 bpm) to very quick (200+ bpm).

Huge Three

The music trade’s three largest document labels: Sony Music Leisure, Common Music Group and Warner Music Group.


Once you play a gig drummers may share the bones of a equipment, however they’ll hardly ever share the entire equipment. Breakables are the dear elements of a drum equipment together with the snare, cymbals, and kick pedal, for instance, that every drummer brings themselves.


Copyright is a authorized proper by which creators declare possession of their unique materials. There isn’t a official technique to copyright work within the UK. You may mail (publish or electronic mail) or save a duplicate of the work in any method that may assist to determine when it was created with a time stamp. Because the proprietor you will have the only authority to: copy the music, challenge, lend or hire copies to the general public carry out, present or play the music in public or talk the music to the general public (i.e. broadcasting it by way of TV, radio, web and so forth.)


Model consistency is ensuring that your picture, type and messaging is constant throughout all channels. This makes it simpler for followers, blogs and music trade folks to confidently know they’ve discovered the appropriate artist once they search.

Cowl Variations

A canopy tune appeals to our minds on a primary psychological degree. “Our brains like each the acquainted and the novel.” (Jason King) Cowl variations present a confirmed technique to assist artists develop their fanbase by leveraging the prevailing fairness of a well known and liked tune.

Conversion Advertisements

A conversion happens when an advert click on leads on to a behaviour that’s useful to you, equivalent to a stream, buy or mailing listing sign-up. You may set them up on the Meta Advert Supervisor to trace conversions on a touchdown web page set as much as promote your newest launch. Learn extra.

Customized Viewers

A Customized Viewers is an advert focusing on choice in Meta that allows you to discover and retarget audiences which have beforehand engaged together with your content material. You may construct customized audiences from sources together with Video viewers, Web page followers, web site guests, or advert interactions.


Stands for Digital Service Supplier a DSP is a streaming platform like Spotify or a web-based service that distributes digital audio to shoppers.


Musicians can study quite a bit from Disney. Disney understands {that a} good story is at all times a very good story. In addition they perceive that when they’ve a very good story, they’ve limitless new audiences for that story. Disney ensures every new era is uncovered to the story within the newest consumption format. How are you going to be extra like Disney? Learn extra

Door Deal Break up

A door-split deal is a monetary association between a venue and the performer, wherein the musician doesn’t receives a commission a hard and fast price to carry out, however receives a share of the revenue generated from ticket gross sales.


A demo is a primary recording designed to showcase the standard and elegance of a musician’s work. Demos are sometimes despatched to A&R representatives, reserving brokers or administration firms who is perhaps inquisitive about working with the artist.

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos removes the bounds of inventive expression for artists to create a spatial sound expertise that places you within the centre of your leisure.


Quick for “digital press equipment,” an EPK is a digital promotional package deal of belongings that an artist can ship to journalists, radio DJs, document labels, and reserving brokers. The EPK ought to present a abstract of the artist’s profession and newest work. The belongings sometimes embrace a biography, promotional pictures, present singles and movies, social media hyperlinks, and highlights of the artist’s streaming, gross sales, and radio statistics. If you need one designed get in contact!

Eyes Earlier than Ears

When creating social content material keep in mind that on most social platforms (excluding TikTok) content material is consumed with the hold forth because the default. Which means it’s important to interact the eyes in an effort to interact the ears. In case your content material appears to be like boring, no one will click on to hear.


Engagement can take many kinds, however not all engagement is identical, so at all times consider it as a spectrum and deal with driving the best types of engagement EG Shopping for, listening, and becoming a member of the mailing listing quite than the bottom: A like or 5-second view. Learn extra

Match For Format

When creating social media content material guarantee it’s accurately formatted to suit the total display screen, it’s far more impactful. Keep away from widescreen YouTube movies in vertical Tales or Reels.


They’re greater than listeners. Followers take heed to every part, they purchase your merch, be a part of your mailing listing, come to your exhibits and inform their mates about you. Take time to get to know them and do every part you possibly can to get extra followers at each flip.

Pretend It To Make It

‘Pretend it to make it’ means to consciously domesticate an perspective, feeling, or notion of competence or success that you simply don’t presently have by pretending you do till it turns into true. When you look and sound skilled, folks will imagine you might be. Learn extra


FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) information are one other instance of lossless audio, however there’s restricted assist for them. You may play an MP3, AAC, or WAV file on nearly any machine, however not FLACs.

Pretend Followers

Keep away from the temptation to spice up your social media follower base by shopping for followers. It’s counter-intuitive, pretend followers or bots gained’t interact, and it prevents you from creating significant lookalike audiences as the bottom viewers is pretend.


Genres are a easy, if considerably lazy strategy to categorise your music. In actuality, most individuals select music to soundtrack a temper or second. For instance, you may by no means select to take heed to Nation music, however you may take pleasure in love songs which occur to be Nation in type. Contemplate this when writing your subsequent press launch.


How are you aware if you’re rising if you happen to don’t monitor development? File benchmarks earlier than the discharge of each single to know the influence on Followers, Engagement, Listeners and Followers. Set targets and perceive what success appears to be like like.

Assist Musicians

Assist Musicians is a charity for skilled musicians of all genres, each in work and in retirement. They assist at occasions of disaster, but additionally at occasions of alternative, giving folks the assist they want on the essential phases that might make or break their profession. They love music and desire a world the place musicians thrive.


A hashtag refers back to the hashtag image (#) used earlier than a related key phrase. Hashtags present a strategy to hyperlink your content material to a wider dialog or theme. 99% of the worth of hashtags comes from linking to an present dialog. Creating your individual hashtag is simply efficient if numerous different folks use it.


In a drum equipment, a Hello-Hat is the double cymbal on a stand, often positioned subsequent to the snare, which might be performed with a foot pedal and/or by the highest cymbal being hit with a stick.


A current examine of impartial artists performed by Main Labl, found solely 18% of musicians are assured they receives a commission what’s owed to them. To resolve this challenge, they’re launching a brand new service. You might be the primary to strive it by registering right here.

Revenue Per Stream

Spotify pays artists between $0.003 – $0.005 per stream on common. That works out as an approx income cut up of 70/30. 70% to the artist/rights holders and 30% to Spotify. If you wish to calculate your approximate earnings from Spotify streams make use of our free calculator Proper Chord Music.


An ISRC (Worldwide Commonplace Recording Code) is a string of 12 distinctive alphanumeric characters that’s used to establish any sound recording or music video. ISRCs are like ISBNs for books. ISRCs make recordings routinely identifiable, which helps be certain that royalties are correctly distributed.

Jack Your Physique

Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley hit the UK primary in 1987 with the monitor ‘Jack Your Physique’ and helped launch dance music within the UK. It arrived with no promotion, a video reduce from black-and-white movies and barely any lyrics. 1987’s dance hits additionally included Pump UpThe Quantity by M/A/R/S Frankie Knuckles’s Your Love and Coldcut’s Say Children What Time is It.


Q: What do name a guitar participant with no girlfriend? A: Homeless.

Q: What do you name a drummer in a three-piece go well with? A: The defendant.

Key Man Clause

A clause inside a contract that names a person, the place the contract relies upon upon the named particular person remaining of their function. For instance, you possibly can’t think about Radiohead with out Thom Yorke.


KPI stands for Key Efficiency Indicator. Initially of yearly or earlier than a brand new launch, it’s best to set some to assist decide whether or not your goals have been reached. KPIs might embrace month-to-month listeners, follower development, press protection, or the variety of headline exhibits you carry out this yr.


The time delay skilled between a sound or management sign being generated and it being auditioned or taking impact, measured in seconds.

Load In / Load Out

Once you play dwell the Load in time is when you’ll want to get your devices and kit from the van into the venue and on stage. Load-out is the precise reverse.


Layering is a manufacturing approach which refers back to the mixing of comparable, a number of musical elements or vocals without delay, typically mixed on one channel or assigned to at least one controller. The goal is to create a fuller, richer sound than the vocal/instrument by itself.

Music Advertising and marketing

If music promotion is the output, music advertising and marketing is the enter, it’s the thought and plan behind the motion. The what, the why and the the place. Music advertising and marketing considers the larger image and one of the best resolution quite than racing to the quickest or most cost-effective resolution. Music advertising and marketing is about constructing a plan for fulfillment not simply anticipating it. Learn extra


Metadata is the info about your audio information, which is embedded in them. It contains, amongst different issues, artist title, tune title, album title, yr of launch, songwriter credit, and style. With out correct and full metadata, your information aren’t searchable, gained’t show accurately, and royalty distribution can’t occur.


The ‘Supervisor’ is the enterprise supervisor for a band. Their duties fluctuate drastically from one supervisor to the subsequent. Usually, band managers are paid within the area of 15%–25% of whole earnings. It’s arduous to draw a supervisor as an impartial artist as a result of 15% of nothing doesn’t pay the payments! Main Labl presents a pay-as-you-go resolution for impartial artists who need assistance and assist. Uncover extra.

Significant Distinction

Analysis from the model advertising and marketing world performed by Kantar highlights the significance of 1) significant and a pair of) distinction. When you can construct a enterprise that mixes these two behaviours it’s confirmed that you simply develop at a quicker price. Suppose AirB&B. Contemplate how as a musician you possibly can stand out by being each significant and completely different.


Spotify Marquee is Spotify’s personal in-platform promoting and suggestion service. It allows musicians to activate their fanbase by recommending new releases to their present and former listeners. To make use of the platform musicians must have a minimal of 5,000 streams within the final 28 days and have greater than 1,000 followers, so sadly it’s not for everybody.


NFT is a (Non-fungible Token) Okay consider this analogy… As a child I collected soccer stickers, think about in the event that they solely printed one Lionel Messi sticker and also you owned it, had proof you owned it and there was no method you might lose it. That’s principally the precept behind an NFT. An NFT is also a novel piece of artwork, music, video, invite to an unique occasion and even an merchandise of clothes. Uncover extra

Harry Coronary heart offered the tracks from his newest album Cambistry as NTS earlier than releasing it on Spotify.


Natural attain is the quantity of people that have seen your social media publish by unpaid distribution. We advocate you at all times begin by posting content material organically to check which content material resonates probably the most together with your viewers. Paid promotion can be utilized to spice up content material that’s confirmed to have interaction. Uncover extra

One Sheet

One Sheets are utilized by File Labels, Distributors, and Impartial Artists as PR summaries to promote a brand new launch. As their title suggests they need to be one web page lengthy. They usually embrace: Quick Bio, Press Pictures, Upcoming Launch Particulars, Tour/Exhibits and key promoting factors or achievements.

PRS for Music

PRS for Music pay royalties to their members when their music is: broadcast on TV or radio, carried out or performed in public, whether or not dwell or by a recording or streamed or downloaded. The MCPS have an settlement with the PRS, they pay royalties to their members when their music is: copied as bodily merchandise, equivalent to CDs and DVDs, streamed or downloaded or utilized in TV, movie or radio.


There are three main kinds of playlists on Spotify: Spotify editorial playlists, Spotify algorithmic playlists, and listener playlists. The important thing algorithmic playlists are: are Uncover Weekly, Launch Radar, Day by day Combine, Repeat or Rewind and Radio. You may enhance your possibilities of Spotify playlist assist by pitching new music to them, rising streams, followers and saves.

Push Advertising and marketing

Push advertising and marketing is because the title sounds about pushing content material at their viewers and hoping a few of it sticks. EG. ‘We’ve one thing to let you know and you’ll hear’. The issue is 90% of the content material on social media has change into about passive push, and consequently, 99% of it turns into bland wallpaper that’s ignored or skipped. Your problem is to create content material that pulls folks in Learn extra.


The pre-save was designed as a strategy to enhance engagement with music forward of launch. Nevertheless, for impartial artists, it hardly ever works because the fan base is just too small to drive any pre-saves past the core followers that have been going to hear anyway. It’s typically simpler simply to ask folks to hear and save on launch day. Learn extra.

Pay to Play

By no means pay to play. If a promoter asks you to pay your method onto a dwell invoice in return for publicity don’t do it. It hardly ever if ever pays again, know your value and make sure you at all times receives a commission to your artwork and your time!


Public Relations generally is a key a part of the music advertising and marketing effort. However for impartial artists, it’s hardly ever well worth the outlay. Keep in mind anybody can set themselves up a PR, sending emails to a mailing listing just isn’t PR. A evaluation printed on a weblog that may’t be discovered on Google isn’t useful. Construct your individual relationships with blogs and do it your self. Learn extra.


Do you know… Brian Could’s father truly made his guitar for him by hand. Affectionately often called “Purple Particular”, Could even helped work on the guitar himself. The wooden used to make it was over 200 years outdated. They took the wooden from an vintage mantle.

Radio Pluggers

Daytime radio playlists are managed by main document labels. Your greatest guess is a one-off spot play. Don’t waste your cash on radio pluggers. Begin with free performs by way of BBC Introducing and Superb Radio, construct relationships with native radio, pupil radio and Podcasters and construct buzz till the radio stations have to return to you. Learn extra.


Every time somebody makes use of your mental property, they need to pay for the appropriate to take action and people funds are often within the type of royalties. Be sure to are registered together with your native PRO to make sure you are receiving the royalties owed to you. See PRS for Music.


​​A rider is part of your contract that stipulates what extras the promoter should present. That is most frequently within the type of meals and drinks within the inexperienced room earlier than and after a dwell present. Keep in mind: the rider comes out of your cash on the finish of the day.


The largest mistake made by impartial artists is to spend months writing and recording their music after which releasing it, saying the discharge with one social media publish and anticipating everybody to flock to hear. Main Labl have produced a free webinar to assist musicians plan to launch music extra successfully. Watch it right here

Save Charge

Don’t be obsessive about Spotify streams. Your save price (whole monitor saves divided by whole monitor listeners x 100) is a superb proxy for engagement and exhibits which of your tracks followers love and wish to hear once more. Use this information to resolve which monitor to launch or promote. We sometimes see a lot increased save charges for tracks promoted with Meta promoting than utilizing playlist promo. Something above 10% is sweet, something above 20% is outstanding.

Story Telling

Keep in mind there is no such thing as a story in unknown band releases an unknown tune’. Improve your possibilities of press assist and a focus by creating a fascinating story round your launch. Learn extra 

Stage Plot

A stage plot is a visible illustration of what your set-up appears to be like like. It signifies the place amps, drums, keys, microphones, DIs, and anything you’ve bought in your arsenal goes. It’s often only a easy drawing of the place issues go on stage, most frequently a digital picture file, and is supplied to the venue’s stage supervisor so that they know methods to put together to your set.


Current analysis by Main Labl exhibits solely 18% of impartial musicians are assured they receives a commission what’s owed to them. This miserable statistic is brought on by handbook processes. In any case, if you’re relying in your drummer to recollect your splits and acquire and distribute your cash, you is perhaps ready a very long time! Main Labl are constructing a brand new service with automated splits, so that you at all times receives a commission. Enroll to be the primary to strive it.

Sync License

Music sync or publishing placement is when your music is utilized in TV adverts, programmes, movies, movies and video games it may be a useful income stream for impartial artists. 

Tech Spec

A venue or promoter is more likely to ask for a tech spec to allow them to arrange the stage correctly for a band and guarantee all the bands’ technical wants might be met. Additionally see Stage Plot.

Tour Supervisor

Tour managers take cost of the main points of a tour, making a tour deliberate by a Reserving Agent, truly occur.

Goal Viewers

Initially of your musical undertaking, your target market can be your family and friends however as you develop you’ll hopefully entice a wider viewers. Use stats supplied by social channels to know which audiences are participating probably the most. Once you begin paid promotion begin with broad focusing on to a large viewers and slowly slender down based mostly on who’s constantly participating probably the most.

Speak Again

A microphone within the management room of a recording studio that’s carried on a separate circuit from the recorded channels, which permits the recording engineer to speak with the musicians within the dwell room or sound cubicles by the monitoring system.


A Common Product Code is important to establish your product inside a digital or bodily retailer. Much like an ISRC, it’s a 12-14 digit alphanumeric code; Nevertheless, UPCs denote the album degree and never the tune degree of your product.


USP sounds for ‘distinctive promoting level’ and it’s the profit or function that makes you stand out out of your opponents. The USP should spotlight the advantages in a method that’s significant to its target market. See Significant Distinction.


Vinyl recorded a fifteenth yr of development in 2022 and overtook CD when it comes to income for the primary time in 35 years. Based on ERA, 2022 vinyl album gross sales income grew 11% to £150.5m, whereas CD album gross sales fell 17.4% to £124m – the primary time vinyl outsold CD by worth since 1987. That enhance is essentially because of the format’s rising costs – £30 is now widespread for an LP. Uncover a intelligent strategy to promote vinyl.


A clean and repeated altering of the pitch up and down from the common musical pitch, typically finished by singers or carried out by string and wind gamers.


When a chunk of social media content material which has been shared organically (with out paid promotion) shortly reaches an viewers bigger than your regular following or benchmarks by receiving an uncommon quantity of shares and engagement.


A wah-wah pedal, or just wah pedal, is a sort of electrical guitar results pedal that alters the tone and frequencies of the guitar sign to create a particular sound, mimicking the human voice saying the onomatopoeic title “wah-wah”.


A visible illustration or graphic of a sound wave, audio sign or different kinds of wave, displaying the wave’s oscillations above and beneath the zero line.

WAV File

A format for storing uncompressed audio information.

XY Miking

A microphone placement approach wherein two cardioid microphones are positioned with their heads towards one another at a 90-degree angle, and as shut collectively as attainable. Stereo miking strategies can be utilized to create the notion of width, house, and site.

A microphone placement approach wherein two cardioid microphones are positioned with their heads towards one another at a 90-degree angle, and as shut collectively as attainable. Stereo miking strategies can be utilized to create the notion of width, house, and site.


A percussion instrument arrange within the type of a keyboard whose bars are fabricated from wooden and performed utilizing mallets.


Launched in 2005, YouTube is the most important video-sharing platform and the second-biggest social media platform on this planet, with over 2.68 billion customers. Regardless of the dimensions, it stays arduous for impartial artists to monetise their channels. To qualify for monetisation an artist wants 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours (inside 12 months). 


A musical instrument composed of strings mounted upon a resonating body, strings might be plucked with fingers or struck utilizing small mallets.

Phrases Mark Knight



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