The Glossary of Music Terms is an ongoing series where we define its terminology by zooming into a corner of the music industry. See our previous installments Delivery, Recording, And Direct delivery.
There are many musical words that have been understood for decades, but in the streaming era, many new ones have emerged, and others have taken on new meanings instead of ways to experience and enjoy music. For this glossary, we have put together a number of definitions of these terms focusing on their importance in the digital audio streaming world.
Bitrate: Bitrate refers to the speed at which data is transferred from one place to another; It is measured in kilobits per second (kbps). Audio files are compressed at different bitrates. The two more common are 192 kbps and 256 kbps. A MP3 compressed at a higher bitrate will usually be more clear and will have a larger range of sound than compressed at a lower bitrate.
Distributor: A distributor is an entity that takes your music from you or from a record label and makes it available in a store or streaming service. They also help ensure that royalties – the money you or other rights holders owe for the use of your work – are paid to the right parties. Distributors can help get your music into the hands of people around the world by sending it through the right channels.
End users: An end user is a person who actually uses a particular product. In digital streaming, the end-user is an audience – which can be about a fan, researcher, booking agent and anyone else. It is a good practice to keep the end user in mind when preparing something for digital distribution.
ISRC: An ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is a string of 12 alphanumeric characters used to identify a sound recording or music video. ISRC’s ISBN for books or VIN for vehicles are not identical. The ISRC automatically identifies the recordings, which helps ensure that royalties are properly distributed.
File format: Audio files come in a variety of formats, including different sizes and sound quality. Here is a list of some popular ones.
MP3: MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3) files are usually what everyone thinks of when they think of an audio file. It is the most popular audio format on the planet. MP3s use malicious data compression – “damaged” literally means losing data – because the large original audio file is compressed in MP3 format.
AAC: AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) is a popular format, but it has not reached the level of universality of MP3s. AAC files use more advanced compression algorithms – but are still as harmful as MP3s – so that at the same bitrate, it’s normal to hear AAC files better than MP3s.
WAV: WAV is a raw audio format, and it usually contains lossless (or incomplete) audio, which means it can store all the data in the original audio file. For many reasons, it is recommended to have WAVs and MP3s, especially for maximum sound quality.
FLAC: FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files are another example of lossless audio, but they do not have much technical support – for example, you can play MP3, AAC or WAV files on almost any device, but not FLAC.
Metadata: Let’s be clear – metadata is so important that we already have it A completely separate article It is dedicated to explaining and why it is essential. In short, metadata is the data in your audio files, embedded in them. Other topics include artist name, song title, album title, year of release, lyricist credit, and genre. Without accurate and complete metadata, your files will not be searchable, will not be displayed correctly and royalty distribution may not occur.
Playlist: A playlist is a collection of songs by one or more artists that are combined by some concept, which can be almost Something– It could be some common thread between the mood they created or the artists who created the song or even the theme of a particular song. They are a great way to get your tunes to the ears of fans and potential fans; They are the equivalent of the Digital-World Mixtape. Playlists can be curated (a fancy word for choosing songs for any playlist) and mostly by casual users of streaming music services, or by internal experts in streaming services, or by DJs or artists who like to share their inspirations and ideas – basically Anyone can create and share a playlist. (And “playlisting” itself has become a verb to describe the process of creating them.) Finding placements in a playlist can give your streaming numbers a big boost; This can happen when a curator or fan finds your music following their own discovery, but pitching your music for playlist consideration through Spotify for Artists is another way to get your song to the ears of our in-house curators (Here’s how).
Pre-save: Pre-saving in the streaming world is just like pre-ordering an album in physical; This is how a fan hints that they want information and digital access at the moment the new music becomes available. When a Spotify user pre-saves your upcoming release, they make sure it appears on the day they land in their Spotify library. Encouraging your fans to save the tracks before they come to you can help as a call to action during your rollout and will put your songs in the hands of more people on the day of release.
RIAA Certification Requirements: Now that we are in the streaming era, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has various certifications for what kind of release gold, platinum, multi-platinum and diamond. An album or song has to hit a certain number of units to get any of those certificates. Gold, for example, 500,000 units. But a current is not equal to one unit. According to the RIAA website In the case of album awards, sales of each permanent digital or physical album are counted as one unit, ten standing track downloads from the album are counted as one unit, and 1,500 on-demand audio and / or video streams from the album are counted as one unit. For the digital single prize, each standing digital download is counted as one unit, and 150 on-demand audio or video streams are counted as a single.
Royalty: Whenever someone uses your intellectual property, they usually have to pay for the right to do so and those payments are usually in the form of royalties. Royalties come in many shapes and sizes depending on what rights are being exercised. Some types of royalty only relate to musical compositions as opposed to recordings, and they relate to reproductive rights (a so-called “mechanical monarchy”) or performance rights. Other royalties only relate to the reproduction and performance of a track or sound recording. So every time your music is played on Spotify, and depending on which country is being played, different types of royalties may be paid to different teams such as record labels, music publishers or collection associations.
Area: Territory is a geographical division that is used to determine where different rules apply to your music; Most music-licensing agreements will have specifications around the territories, indicating whether your music can be used inside (or outside) those territories. Simply put: your music cannot be streamed in an area where it is not licensed. (For this reason, some YouTube videos you can watch in the United States, for example, are not available in Canada – which is not licensed to distribute intellectual property in Canada.) Set it up on streaming services to make it available worldwide.
Proof: Verifying on Spotify means we’ve confirmed who you’re talking to, and we’ve noticed that there’s a checkmark in a little blue circle on your page so everyone can find out. We made it very easy to verify Through the Spotify for Artists app on Spotify.
– Matt Williams