Decoding the Jargon: A Comprehensive Glossary of Music Industry Terms

The music industry is complex and vast, with a plethora of jargon that can be confusing for newcomers and veterans alike. It can be challenging to navigate the music industry and understand its terminology, which is why we have created a comprehensive glossary of the most common music industry terms.


Copyrights are legal protections that grant an individual or entity exclusive rights to use and distribute creative works. In the music industry, a copyright is granted to the creator of a song or composition, giving them the exclusive right to perform, distribute, and license their work.


Royalties are payments made to a copyright owner for the use of their creative work. In the music industry, this can include payments made to artists, songwriters, and publishers. Royalties can come from various sources, including music streaming services, radio stations, and live performances.


Publishing refers to the process of exploiting the copyrights of a creative work. In the music industry, this can include licensing a song for use in a film or TV show or releasing a recording of a song.

Mechanical Royalties

Mechanical royalties are paid to the copyright owner for the use of a song in a physical or digital form, such as CDs, downloads, or streams. These royalties are typically paid to the songwriter or publisher, and the amount is determined by the number of copies or streams of the song.

Performance Royalties

Performance royalties are paid to the copyright owner for the use of a song in a public performance, such as a concert or radio broadcast. These royalties are typically paid to the songwriter or publisher, and the amount is determined by the number of times the song is played.

Sync Licenses

Sync licenses are granted to allow a song to be used in a film or TV show. This can be a lucrative source of income for songwriters and publishers, and the amount paid for a sync license can vary greatly depending on the popularity of the song and the size of the production.

Master Recording

A master recording is the original recording of a song, typically owned by the record label or artist. The master recording is used to create copies of the song for distribution and licensing.

Record Labels

Record labels are companies that produce and distribute music recordings. They typically provide financing and support to artists, as well as handle the distribution and marketing of their music.

360 Deals

360 deals are contracts between artists and record labels that give the label a percentage of all of the artist’s income, including merchandise, touring, and endorsements. These deals can be controversial, as they can limit an artist’s ability to earn money outside of their music.


Touring refers to an artist’s live performances, typically in support of their latest release. Touring can be a significant source of income for musicians, as well as an opportunity to connect with fans and build their fanbase.


A manager is a professional who provides guidance and support to an artist, often handling their business affairs, negotiating contracts, and helping to shape their career.

Booking Agent

A booking agent is a professional who helps artists book live performances, negotiating deals with venues and promoters to secure the best possible opportunities for the artist.


A publicist is a professional who helps to promote an artist or their music, often through media outreach, interviews, and social media campaigns.

Music Promotion

Music promotion refers to the process of promoting an artist or their music to fans and potential listeners. This can include social media campaigns, radio plays, and live performances.


Streaming refers to the process of playing music or other media through the internet. Streaming has become an increasingly important part of the music industry, with services like Spotify and Apple Music dominating the market.


The music industry is a complex and constantly evolving landscape, with a vast array of terminology that can be difficult to navigate. This comprehensive glossary should help newcomers and veterans alike to better understand the jargon of the music industry.

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