Jargon of the Music Industry

Learning the Jargon of the Music Industry is essential for success in it
Photo by CC user AlexanderStein on Pixabay

Jargon is a problem that exists in every industry. It is something that you never get to learn until you actually immerse yourself in the business itself. Luckily, if you study towards a music business degree, you will instantly be introduced to the jargon of the music industry as well. To give you a helping hand, however, here are some of the terms you are likely to come across.

Music Business Jargon

  1. Bundling and unbundling. If tracks can be downloaded only as part of a full album, they are known as being bundled. This means that you have to buy all or nothing. Unbundling happens when the songs are available individually for purchase.

  2. Bundle. You would think the bundle is related to bundling and unbundling, but that isn’t quite true. A bundle means that there is a link between music and various other services. For instance, Universal Music Group had an agreement with a French bank enabling young people who obtained a new credit card to also access a music services. This means the financial business and the music business have created a “bundle”.

  3. Re-bundle. You would think that is at least linked to number 2, but you would be wrong again. A re-bundle is the result of an artist putting lots of different things together, like concert tickets, DVDs, t-shirts, and a CD, and selling them as one. If an artist has a large fan base, these re-bundles are usually very popular.

  4. A la Carte. This has nothing to do with dining from a menu. Rather, it is about letting people to choose the things they want. For instance, on iTunes, you can pick many different things – including unbundled products, and create their own personalized order.

  5. Streaming. This means that the way the provider delivers the music is how it gets listened to. It isn’t a download, because this means the track is actually transferred to a device. With streaming, the content never becomes yours.

  6. Subscription. This is a pretty easy one and just means that a user can stream a pre-agreed amount of music per month, for a certain price. This is something that is offered by providers like Spotify and Amazon Prime, for instance.

  7. Ad-funded model. This is a new type of service whereby content providers get to share revenue. Spotify is an example of an ad-funded model. Here, advertisers will give Spotify money in order to highlight an ad, and Spotify then shares the money they make with the owners of the music who list on their platform.

  8. Music on Demand. Last but not least, there is music on demand, whereby people can watch, play back, and listen to content as soon as they press play. This is a new technological development that has been made available thanks to the fact that people now have high bandwidth levels.

There you have it. Now, when you enroll in your music business degree, you won’t have to ask what certain words mean anymore, nor will you have to pretend that you actually already know them!