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Film Music Magazine Dictionary of Film Music and Music Licensing Terms

Important Notes for Readers:

• This guide contains terms commonly used in the production and licensing of music for film and
television. The definitions are intended to be brief and concise, however you may want to consult
industry reference books for more in-depth discussion and definition of these terms and subjects.

• Where appropriate, the area of the industry where a term is commonly used is included with the
definition. These areas include composing, music editing, music supervision and music licensing. The
same term may have different meanings in different parts of the industry, so the context, area or subject
that a term is being used in may be key to understanding the most appropriate definition and usage for a

• This guide is not intended to provide any sort of legal reference, opinion or advice, and is no substitute
for the services of an experienced music attorney.

• The publisher’s best efforts have been made to compile complete and accurate information for this
guide as of September, 2010. Even though these efforts were undertaken to ensure its accuracy, neither
the publisher, nor its members or employees, will be responsible for errors or omissions in this guide.

• We welcome any suggestions for additions or changes to this guide. Our support department can be
reached online via email and live chat at or by telephone at
1-888-910-7888 ext. 1

We hope this guide is helpful and beneficial to you and your projects.

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© 2010 Global Media Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved. –
Film Music Magazine
Dictionary of Common Film Music and Music Licensing Terms

2-Pop - a click, blip, or other very short and sudden audio tone recorded exactly 2 seconds before the
intended start of a musical work on a DAT tape or other format where timecode is not able to be
recorded. The start of the musical work is exactly 2 seconds after the 2-pop appears, and the recording
beginning at that location, even if silent at that moment, can be positioned with reasonable accuracy at
the proper timecode location using a nonlinear recording technology such as Pro-Tools

A Capella - Stand-alone vocals from an individual singer or a choir that are not accompanied by any
instruments or background recording

Address Track - refers to a track on magnetic recording tape where SMPTE timecode or other indexing
information is recorded

Administrative Publishing - an arrangement where a separate music publisher is contractually
responsible for the publishing duties and rights, which can include promotion, registration, royalty
collection and payment, and other publishing tasks, however the ownership of the music remains with
the original publisher.

ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) - re-recording of dialogue spoken by actors or others after
their initial performance. These replacement dialogue recordings are used in circumstances where the
original dialogue recording (also known as “production sound”) was of insufficient

Advance - money paid in advance of it actually being earned. Advances generally are one of two types:
Recoupable, meaning that the advance is essentially a loan to be paid by from a future flow of income
and where the recipient is ultimately responsible for repayment of the advance, and Non-Recoupable,
meaning that while the advance may be repaid from a future flow of income, the recipient is not
responsible for repayment of the total amount of the advance. Advances are most often used in
circumstances where a writer, artist, composer, publisher, or other party will earn future royalties but is
paid an up-front payment in advance of those royalties being earned.

AFM (American Federation of Musicians) (also known as the Musicians Union) —
In the United States, this is the national Musicians Union. They have contract agreements with
film and television production companies which cover the performance of their musician,
orchestrator, conductor, and copyist members on recording sessions for film and television scores. The
AFM also oversees contracts for musicians working in live performances, album recording, demo
recording, and radio and television jingles and commercials.

Agent - a professional representative who represents another person for the purposes of seeking work,
negotiating contracts, and handling other financial and logistical tasks

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AIFF (or AIF) - an uncompressed, professional high-quality digital audio format, often used as the
default pro digital audio format by some Macintosh software programs

All-In - in music licensing, a term that is used to include all possible media. Typically specified as all
current media and any new or media developed in the future. The term can also include a clause for the
life of copyright, also known as “in perpetuity”.

All Media (Broad Rights)- this term is used in music licensing to indicate all media including All
Television (see below), festival and theatrical rights, and other types of media. Generally does not
include soundtrack album rights or out-of-context advertising.

All Television - all forms of television including Pay/Subscription TV, Free TV, Basic Cable TV, Pay-
Per-View TV, Video On Demand and other video services delivered through televisions or similar

A&R (Artists & Repertoire) - a department, usually in a publishing company or record label, that
seeks out new artists or songwriters and negotiates deals with them on behalf of their publishing or
record label employer.

ASCAP — ASCAP stands for the American Society of Composers, Arrangers, and Publishers, and is a
performing rights organization headquartered in the United States which administers the performing
rights of its publisher, songwriter and composer members. ASCAP collects performance royalties from
various sources including radio and television stations and networks, nightclubs, and live performances
such as concerts. These royalties are distributed to its members based on where and how often their
compositions are performed. Performing rights royalties are made up of two equal amounts called Writer
Royalties and Publishing Royalties.

Arranger — An arranger works with existing musical material and creates a custom version
for a specific kind or size of musical group. For example, an arranger might be asked to take a
piece of film music originally written for a large orchestra and create a version for a smaller
musical group. Arrangers can also create versions of music in different styles, like arranging
traditional music for a contemporary music group such as a big band or rock group.

Assignment - term used when ownership of copyright is transferred from one party to another for a
specified period of time. This “temporary” ownership is often subject to limitations specified in a written
agreement that governs the transfer and subsequent return of copyright to the original owner.

Assumption Agreement (U.S.) — An agreement that a production company must sign with
the AFM (Musicians Union) in order to use the services of union members on a film or
television music recording session. The agreement covers various issues including who is
responsible for paying potential future payments to the musicians based on any new uses of
the music. The agreement also specifies any special payments to the musicians that may be
required in the future based on the commercial success of the film.

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At-Source - A term used in the payment of music royalties and other international income from music to
indicate the amount paid by the original source of the income, before any intermediaries subtract fees or
commissions from the amount.

Back-End - generally used in reference to income generated or received after a production has been
released. Performance royalties generated from broadcasts of a production are sometimes referred to as
“back-end royalties” and additional “back end” payments can be included in various contracts for
services with those payments becoming based on or triggered by events such as receipt of income from a
distribution deal or achieving specified box office receipts figures.

Baby Band - term for a new or developing band, does not necessarily indicate that the band is made up
of younger musicians.

Basic Cable - television channels that are available in the basic “package” from a cable or satellite
television company. This typically includes all channels except for channels requiring an additional fee
to be paid by the customer for the specific channel, such as premium movie channels, premium sports
channels, and other channels that charge a specific fee for reception.

Bed - a basic music track designed to be non-distracting and without overt dramatic content. (Example:
a radio is playing in a scene)

Billing Block - the section of an advertisement for a film or television show where the credits for the
director, producer, key actors and others are included. The credits are often run together into a block of
text located in the center or bottom of the advertisement.

Blanket License (performing rights) - an annual license negotiated between a music user, typically a
broadcaster or someone who publicly performs music, and a public performance collective. A blanket
license typically allows unlimited use of all music in the society’s catalog in exchange for a fixed annual

Blanket License (music library) - a license negotiated between a music user and a music library
allowing use of any of the music in the library’s catalog in exchange for a fixed fee.

BMI — BMI stands for Broadcast Music Incorporated and is a performing rights organization
headquartered in the United States which administers the performing rights of its publisher, songwriter
and composer members. BMI collects performance royalties from various sources including radio and
television stations and networks, nightclubs, and live performances. These royalties are distributed to its
members based on how often their compositions are performed. As with other performing rights
organizations, BMI performing rights royalties are made up of two equal amounts called Writer
Royalties and Publishing Royalties.

Box Office (Box Office Gross) - total ticket sales for a production

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Bumper – a short music cue usually used at the beginning and ending of a segment of a program, or
used as a musical transition between segments of a program

Buyout - refers to a type of deal or agreement where a single lump sum is paid at the time of the
agreement in lieu of some or all future residual payments or royalties for a specific music right. A
buyout is typically done for a specific right, such as a performer’s right covering a musician at a
recording session, but can also be used more generically to refer to the purchase of a right, such “a
buyout of the copyright.”

Cartage - term used in American Federation of Musicians contracts and scales to refer to additional fees
payable to certain musicians for the transportation of larger instruments such as keyboards, large
percussion instruments such as timpani, and other large instruments.

Certificate of Authorship (C of A) - A legal declaration by a composer or songwriter that the music he
has written is wholly original and not based on any other work. The certificate of authorship can be
included in a composer or songwriter agreement or exist as a separate independent document, and
optionally may include language confirming that the composer or songwriter has written the music
under “work for hire” terms where the copyright in the music is owned by the employer.

Clearance - the process of obtaining permission and licenses from all applicable license holder(s) in a
musical work in order to incorporate that musical work in another medium, such as in a television
production, film or video game.

Click (Click Track) - Click is an audible metronome signal that the conductor and musicians hear
through their headphones during recording. Click helps the conductor and musicians perform music at
exactly the right tempo so that it will synchronize with the picture as the composer intended. Composers
will either indicate a constant or varying click speed for each piece of music that is written. If the
microphones inadvertently pick up this sound coming from the headphones during recording, the
problem is called click bleed. Clicks that are played for musicians before the cue starts in order to
establish the tempo of the cue are called free clicks.

Composer (Score Composer) - the author of an original musical work, generally an instrumental work.

Compulsory Mechanical Rule - after a musical work has been recorded and distributed, the music
copyright owner cannot deny the right to others to re-record or “cover” the musical work. The party
recording the new version must pay a license fee to the original copyright owner, and these fees are
generally administered on behalf of music copyright owners (publishers) by the Harry Fox Agency.

Conductor — The person who directs the musicians (usually from a podium) as they perform
a piece of music. The conductor is often the person who composed or orchestrated the music.
The conductor is often the only person in the recording room who can hear the comments of
the people in the booth (control room) at a recording session. The Conductor listens to the
comments and requests of the people in the control room and translates them into musical
directions for the musicians.
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Contractor — A contractor works with the composer for a film or television project to hire the
musicians who will play on the recording sessions. The contractor also interfaces with the AFM
(Musicians Union) when appropriate to ensure that the proper paperwork and forms are completed and
filed for union recording sessions. A good contractor also knows how to hire skilled, professional
musicians, how to work with the musicians to ensure that the composer’s needs are met, and knows how
to hire musicians who work well together.

Copyist (or Music Preparation) — A copyist performs services known as Music Preparation.
These services include taking the printed scores prepared by the composer or orchestrator,
which have separate lines for each instrument in the group to be recorded, and preparing
individual parts (printed music sheets) for each musician. The copyist is responsible for making
sure that the parts for the musicians are readable and contain exactly what is indicated in the
printed score. Copyists often attend the recording sessions to make sure the parts are
correctly distributed to the musicians and to make any last-minute changes to the score and
parts that may be necessary before or during the recording session.

Copyright – the legal framework that establishes the owner of a piece of music or a sound recording.
Includes exclusive rights specified by federal law for a limited time period.

Co-Publishing - an arrangement between 2 or more companies or individuals that involves sharing the
publishing rights and, and often the ownership (copyright), of a musical work

Cover (Cover Song) - a re-recording of an existing musical work without any major changes in the
melody or lyrics. Allowed for by the Compulsory Mechanical Rule with the payment of appropriate
mechanical license fees to the publisher/copyright owner of the original work.

Cross-Collateralize - to associate income from multiple musical works, albums, contracts or projects
together to enable profits or income from the successful elements of the group to be used to offset any
losses incurred from other elements of the group. For example, if a recording artist recorded 3 albums
for a label that were cross-collateralized, if Album A makes a profit but Album B or Album C loses
money, the label can use the profits from Album B (instead of paying them to the artist) to compensate
itself for losses incurred by Albums B or C.

Crossfade - used in mixing audio to construct a transition between 2 songs or musical works, where as
the first musical work is fading out (decreasing in volume), the next musical work is also audible as its
volume increases from zero to normal volume (fade-in). During the crossfade, both works are heard.

Cue — A piece of music written for a film or television project. Cues can be of any length and
are written for a particular scene or scenes in a film. Cues can be score cues (background or
theme music) or source cues (music that is heard by the actors in the scene, such as music in
a nightclub or music coming out of a radio). Source cues are often music that already exists
(such as songs from an album) that are licensed for use in a film. The music supervisor
typically handles the licensing of source cues.
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Cue Sheet (or Performing Rights Cue Sheet) — The document prepared after a film or
television project is completed that specifies information about each cue and how it was used.
The cue sheet indicates the composer, publishing company, performing rights affiliations of
composer(s) and publisher(s), title, length as actually used, and usage (background
instrumental, visual vocal, etc.) for each cue. This document is filed with the performing rights
organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) that the composer(s) and publisher(s) are affiliated with,
and is the basis for payment of performing rights royalties. The Cue Sheet is usually prepared
by the Music Editor. Payment of performing rights royalties is only possible if a cue sheet is
filed for a production.

DA-88 - a type of multitrack digital tape recorder made by TASCAM that included SMPTE timecode
chase/lock and was popular in the 1990s as a primary recording device but was later replaced in most
film and television recording situations by hard disk recording using Pro-Tools and other direct-to-disk
nonlinear recording technology. DA-88 tapes are still used in smaller studios and as a multitrack backup
device during hard disk recording in certain situations.

Daily - used in film production to indicate a batch of rough, unedited footage in either analog or digital
format from a day’s shooting. Prior to digital film and video recording, dailies were typically provided
on the next day, but with the advent of digital recording dailies are now provided later in the same day
they are recorded.

DAT (Digital Audio Tape) - a popular form of 2-track digital tape in a small cartridge commonly used
to record 2-track masters and mixdowns in the late 1980s and 1990s. Still used as a 2-track recording
backup in recording studios. Since DAT recorders generally did not provide for recording of SMPTE
timecode, recordings on DAT tape were “wild” (without timecode recorded) and a 2-pop (see “2-pop”)
was often inserted 2 seconds before the beginning of the actual recording so that the beginning of the
recording could be accurately determined.

Deferred Deal - a contract or agreement element where a series of 1 or more future payments is paid
based on a series of future dates, or more commonly a series of future events, such as a film achieving a
distribution deal, or a film achieving certain box office or revenue plateaus or targets.

Demo – a basic mock-up or demonstration version of music that is still in development. Also can refer
to a finished cue submitted to demonstrate a composer’s ability to write music of a particular style or

Derivative Work - a copyright term referring to a new copyright that is based in part or in whole on
another copyrighted work. Generally a derivative work may only be created with the permission of the
original copyright owners of all the copyrights contained in the new derivative work. A film can be
considered a derivative work if it contains other copyrighted works, such as songs or score.

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Distribution Deal - an agreement with a distribution company for the distribution of a film, television
show or other production to various venues including movie theaters, television and cable networks,
retail (CD and DVD sales), online viewing, and other venues.

Doubles — Instruments that a musician plays in addition to the their primary instrument. For
example, a woodwind player may be hired to play flute, but also may double on clarinet
and piccolo. When a musician plays doubles, he/she is often compensated with additional
pay. If recording under a union contract, the union has specified additional payment rates for

Download - refers to music or an audiovisual product transferred as a file over the Internet where the
music or audiovisual product is not visible or audible as it is transmitted to the user. The file is stored on
the user’s computer or other playback device and is available for future viewing or listening.

Droit Moral (Moral Rights) - a legal term commonly used in Europe referring to certain rights that are
automatically vested (owned by) the author of a musical work, regardless of who owns the copyright to
the work. In the United States, this term is typically used for works of visual art and refers to the right of
an author to prevent revision or alteration of the work, regardless of the ownership of the work.

Dry — Refers to a track of music on tape that is recorded or played back without any
electronic reverb, delay, or echo of any kind.

Dubbing Session – the final audio mix of a feature film or other program; where the relative audio
levels of dialogue, foley, sound effects, and music are finalized. Also known as “the dub.”

Editorial - a general term that refers to the work or process by which a music editor works on a film, or
the period or process during which the film is being edited by the film editor.

Emerging Technologies - music licensing term referring to technologies of distribution and broadcast
that have not yet been widely accepted by the industry as “standard” and are currently in experimental or
limited use.

End Crawl (End Credits) - the sequence after the end of a picture or television show where the credits
“roll by.” Typically includes all major and minor credits for the production.

E&O (Errors and Omissions) - a legal term referring to a type of coverage that protects a company or
individual against unintentional errors or omissions. The coverage, typically provided by an insurance
company, may provide compensation to a damaged third party in the case of an error or omission that is
covered by the policy.

Ephemeral Copy (Ephemeral recording) - a temporary copy of a musical work created for the purpose
of delivering a licensed digital transmission of the work

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Ephemeral Use - a copyright exemption that allows the one-time use of a copyrighted work in a “live”
or tape delayed production, such as a talk show or variety show without the need to obtain clearance
from the copyright owner. The broadcaster must have a performing rights license that covers the musical
work, and any rebroadcasts of the show or production require that clearance be obtained from the
copyright owner(s), as the ephemeral use exemption from copyright law pertains only to the original

Featured Use (Feature Performance) - music licensing term referring to usage of music in a scene
where the music is the primary focus of audience attention. Performing rights royalty rates for feature
performances are substantially higher than rates for non-featured, aka “background” performances of
music in film and television.

Festival Rights - a term used in music licensing to describe usage of music in copies of a film shown at
film festivals, but not shown in broader settings such as television broadcast, theatrical exhibition, etc.
Music publishers often grant low-cost or gratis festival licenses that must be replaced by negotiated
music licenses if after showing(s) at film festivals, the film is signed to a distribution deal or achieves
other form(s) of distribution or broadcast.

Foley - sounds related to activities onscreen, such as footsteps, doors closing and opening, etc that are
recorded after production and are used to replace the original sounds recorded during production.

First Position - used in contracts with film and television production companies to indicate the first
people or organizations paid after production costs are recouped for a film or television production.

Free TV - exhibition over television broadcast stations that do not charge a fee to the viewer in order to
be received

Free-time — Used to describe the process of recording music synchronized to picture played by live
musicians without using a click track. The conductor references some other source such as a clock or
events in the picture, and may use streamers and punches added to the picture image to establish the
correct timing of the music.

FSO (F/S/O) - abbreviation for “for services of” - typically used when a artist or other individual’s
contract for a film or television production is made between the artist’s corporation and the production
company. The contract may be between the artist’s corporation and the production company, but usually
the phrase “for services of [artist name]” is included to bind the artist personally to the contract so that
the artist is legally obligated to perform the services called for in the contract.

Full Card - a screen credit that is not shared with anyone else on the “card” or screen.

Ghostwriter — A person who composes music for another composer but is not credited on
the cue sheet or in the final product in any way. In a ghostwriting situation, the person hiring
the ghostwriter takes credit for writing the music and the ghostwriter is usually not allowed to
reveal to anyone that he/she wrote the music or worked on the project in any way.
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Grand Right – the exclusive right of a copyright owner to license a composition for use in a live
performance, generally on stage, such as a musical, ballet, or opera.

Half Card - a screen credit that is shared positionally with one other person on the “card” or screen. The
card contains 2 credits - one for each of the people who has half card credit.

Hit Point (Dead Cue) – a specific event to be hit, avoided, emphasized, or otherwise treated in a special
manner by a composer. A hit point is identified as a specific frame or “address” in running time code.

Home Video - DVDs or CDs exhibited in a private, home environment such as on a DVD or Blu-Ray
player played through a home theater or home television device.

In Context - refers to music used in a promo or trailer for a production in a scene or with the part of the
picture that the music was originally licensed for.

Indemnification - a term used in music contracts when one party wishes to assume the liability for any
damages or penalties suffered by the other party as a result of negligence or other wrongful acts by the
original party. For instance, a composer under a work for hire agreement is often required to indemnify
the production company (making the composer liable for all financial damages suffered by the
production company) if the production company is sued because the composer’s music is not original.

Industrial - a type of film or audiovisual production used by companies to promote their products,
typically at trade shows, conventions, stores, kiosks at malls, and other locations

Infringement - used in reference to copyright to indicate when a copyright owner’s exclusive rights
have been improperly used, performed, or otherwise interfered with by another party.

In-Flight - exhibition of music or an audiovisual product by an airline during flights

Joint Work – a composition created by two or more authors whose contributions to the work are to be
inseparable and interdependent.

Layback – adding the final audio mix to picture.

Licensee - the person or organization who is seeking to use music for a production and desires a license
to do so from the copyright owner or a representative of the copyright owner.

Licensor - a copyright owner or a person or organization representing the copyright owner who can
grant a license for the particular rights or usage(s) being requested by a proposed licensee.

Librarian (Music Librarian) — The person at a recording session who distributes and
collects the printed music parts and conductor’s score. This is often a function of the copyist or
music preparation company.
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Library Music (Production Music) — A collection of music, usually available on CD, hard drive, or
for download, that can be licensed for use in a film or television project. Library music is typically
licensed for usage in film, TV or videogames under a “needledrop” license which authorizes a specific
music track for a specific usage, or a “blanket license” which allows use of any music from a portion or
all of a library by a music user.

Locked Picture – a production’s final edit, after which no timing changes in terms of frames of video
will occur. Since the advent of nonlinear hard disk editing of film and television show productions, this
term is used less frequently as this editing technology allows editors to make edits and changes to the
picture much more easily.

Master Recording license – a license, typically between a record label and a music user or production
company, that grants permission to incorporate a specific sound recording of a musical work in
synchronization or timed relation to a picture or other audiovisual work. Also known as a “master

Mechanical License - a license that allows the reproduction and sale of music in physical formats such
as a CDs, DVDs, videotapes, cassettes and vinyl albums, as well as reproduction and sale by digital

Montage - used to describe a scene or section of audio where a series of smaller scenes or audio
segments are melded together, usually representing a sequence of time, history, or other series of events
based on time.

MOS - music editing term meaning “without sound” (silent)

Most Favored Nations (MFN) – a contractual clause and status granting a uniformly applied and
favorable set of rules to those invoking and receiving the status. Under MFN, all entities within the
scope of the MFN clause typically must be paid the same for similar usages of music, with no member
of the group able to be paid more or less than the other members of the defined group.

MP3 - a compressed, consumer-grade digital audio format available in different resolutions

Multi-Tracking - refers to recording multiple versions of the same piece of music that are timed so that
more than one version can be mixed together (“on top of each other”) to create a bigger or “fatter”
sound, or can simulate the sound of a larger group of musicians playing the music.

Music Clearance (or Rights Licensing) — Music Clearance refers to the negotiation of rights
to use an existing song or piece of music in a film, television or other production or product. Usually the
Music Supervisor or Music Clearance person for a production handles the music clearance or rights
licensing and works to secure licenses from the companies or individuals who have publishing rights
(ownership of the music) and master rights (ownership of a sound recording of the music).

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Music Editor — The Music Editor works with the composer, music supervisor and production company
to organize, document, and time the music cues for a project. The Music Editor works very closely with
the composer during the early phases of a production to document the decisions of the director and
composer about the placement, timing, length, and type of music to be used throughout a project. The
Music Editor is usually present during the recording sessions to document each cue as it is recorded, and
may be responsible for generating the click track that is often used to keep the timings of the
performance precise (see click). The Music Editor is also present at the prelay and dubbing sessions
where the recorded music is inserted into the film at the correct time code locations.

Music Supervisor — An executive who manages the licensing of music for a film or television
production. The Music Supervisor handles or supervises music clearance and rights licensing of existing
music, and also may be involved with supervising and selecting the score composer. Choosing
appropriate music, especially source cues and songs is usually the responsibility of the music supervisor.

Music Units — A term is used during dubbing sessions to refer to the source tapes, CDs or hard drives
containing final music to be included and mixed into the production.

MX - music editing abbreviation for music of any kind

Needle Drop – a carryover term from the days of vinyl records, a needle drop refers to the licensing of a
specified musical work, often provided by a production music library or publisher, for a specified usage
within a production.

Non Package Deal – a type of contractual agreement between a producer and composer that provides a
separate creative fee for the composer which serves as compensation for the composer’s work in
composing the music under contract - unlike a package deal, production and recording expenses are not
required to be paid by the composer from his fee. Under a non-package deal, the production company
typically provides a separate recording budget that the composer must follow, with any changes in that
recording budget requiring the approval of the production company.

One Sheet - a single page advertisement for a film or television project. Usually has high quality
graphic content and often contains a billing block with selected credits listed.

Out of Context - refers to music used in a promo or trailer for a production in a scene or with picture
other than the part of the picture or scene the music was originally licensed for.

Over the Top – a generally negative comment referring to score music that overstates or otherwise calls
attention to itself, detracting from the picture and viewing experience.

Packaging Deduction - an element of many record label contracts where artists are charged, from
proceeds that fund the artist’s compensation, an amount intended to cover a percentage of the cost to the
label of creating the packaging (case, labels, cards, etc) of physical CD or DVD products. The advent of
digital distribution has created contention between artists and labels whose contracts still allow for these
deductions, even when music has no physical packaging.
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Pari Passu - legal contract term that refers to an instance where two events, acts or other refernces are
or may be happening simultaneously.

Pay Cable (Subscription Cable) - television channels that require an additional fee or subscription to
be paid by cable or satellite television customers over and above the basic rate paid for the base package
of channels. This can also include video on demand provided by a cable or satellite company.

Pay Per View - exhibition, typically over cable or satellite television services, of a television or film
production where the customer is charged a fee for a specific pre-scheduled transmission of the
production. Pay Per View transactions typically involve the customer choosing from of a pre-scheduled
list of transmissions, where Video On Demand services typically allow the customer to choose to receive
the transmission at any time.

Package Deal (All-In Deal) – a type of contractual agreement between a producer and composer that
requires the composer to pay for all costs involved in the writing, production, recording and delivery of
all elements of a score, typically for a film or television production. When working under a package
deal, the composer’s profit is generally what is left over after all expenses are paid by the composer from
the package price.

Per Diem - a daily amount paid to actors, musicians and others intended to compensate for routine daily
expenses, especially when traveling.

Performance License - a license issued by a performing rights society or a music copyright owner that
allows public performance or broadcast of a musical work.This is necessary due to the public
performance exclusive right of copyright owners, and is typically issued in the United States by one of
the three public performance collectives ASCAP, BMI or SESAC.

Performing Rights Organization (PRO) - a collective or other organization that represents copyright
owners (usually publishers) and authors of musical works for the purposes of negotiating, collecting and
paying performing rights license fees and royalties. In the United States, the three PROs are ASCAP,

Perpetuity (In Perpetuity) - a legal term referring to a time period with no end, essentially forever. In
music licensing, the term “life of copyright” and “in perpetuity” are often used together, since once the
copyright no longer exists, a work falls into public domain status, and any licenses or other contracts
that are issued based on copyright ownership are no longer in effect.

Points - a music agreement term commonly used in record label contracts that refer to a percentage of a
given number. For example, 2 points on the suggested retail price would be equal to 2 percent of the
suggested retail price.

Prelap - a music editing term referring to a placement and usage of music where the music for a scene
starts before the scene actually begins, over the closing moments of the previous scene.
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Prelay (or Prelay Session, Layback Session) — Refers to the process of laying in or
recording music and other sound elements of a film or television project at the correct timecode
locations on a master format without regard to final audio levels and mixing. Once the prelay session is
complete, the relative levels of the music, dialogue, ambiences and sound effects can be determined
during the dubbing session. Today, the entire prelay and dub process is
often done in a digital environment and is only finalized after the entire project is mixed
and completed.

Pre-Production – refers to the period of time during the creation of a film or television production
before shooting (filming) starts. This phase includes script creation, editing and development, casting,
production and set design, and hiring the crew that will be used to shoot the film.

Production – refers to the period of time during the creation of a film or television production where the
production is filmed (shot).

Production Sound (Source Audio) - dialogue, background sounds, or other audio recorded during the
actual shooting of a film or television show. In the case of dialogue, dialogue recorded during production
that is of insufficient quality to use in the finished production is re-recorded using ADR (Automated
Dialogue Replacement) techniques.

Post Production – refers to the period of time during the creation of a film or television production after
the production is filmed (shot). This phase includes editing, creation of special effects and computer
generated (CG) content, creation of sound effects, foley and music, and the various sound and music
mixing sessions used to generate the final audio content of the production.

Pre-Score (Pre-Record) – music scored and produced prior to production and shooting, such as music
used and heard by the actors in a dance sequence, or songs the principal actors will sing on-camera.

Pro-Rata - Indicates that something is calculated based on the portion of a larger total that it represents.
For example, if there were 8 songs on a soundtrack album and each song was to share additional
licensing income on a pro-rata basis, each song would receive 1/8th of the additional licensing income.
Also sometimes referred to as “pro-ratedly.”

Post Score – music created for a film or television production that is created after the production is shot
and edited.

PRO - Performing rights organization. An organization that represents the interests of music publishers
and writers and licenses musical works from those publishers and writers to music users including
broadcasters and other entities that publicly perform music.

Public Performance - broadcasting or otherwise playing music in a public setting, including music
heard on radio and television, music heard in live event venues such as concert halls and arenas, and
music heard in establishments such as bars and restaurants.
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Public Domain (PD) – a musical work or a sound recording of musical work that is no longer protected
by copyright law due to the expiration of its copyright. Such works or recordings may be freely used
without permission.

Publisher — A Music Publisher owns the copyright and publishing rights to music. These rights usually
entitle the Publisher to decide how a piece of music can be distributed or used in various
forms, including use as a source cue in a film or television project. A publisher can be a company or an
individual, collects Publisher Royalties from the performing rights organizations based on public
performances of the music and licenses music to others for use in film and television productions,
products, and other usages including. Publishers also attempt to get their music recorded by recording
artists and their labels.

Publisher’s Share - the portion of performing rights royalties paid to the publisher (copyright owner,
generally) of a musical work. This portion is generally 50% of the total performing rights royalty, with
the writer receiving the remaining 50%.

Quote Request - a detailed request by a prospective licensee such as a film company for rates for
licensing a musical work or a recording of a musical work. The quote request is commonly sent to
copyright owner(s) or their representatives by a music supervisor or music licensing professional and
contains details on the proposed usage of the music and a description of the film and the scene the music
would be used in. The quote request also details the specific media and time periods the licensee wishes
to get quote information on, and is the basis for negotiations that conclude with the issuance of a
synchronization and/or master license for usage of a musical work or a recording of that work in a film
or television project.

Rear Window - refers to the title of a film involved in a 1990 Supreme Court case that held that for
songs created before 1978, licenses issued for these works that are intended to cover the renewal term do
so only if the original author of the work was alive at the beginning of the renewal term. In some cases
the heirs to the author could renew the copyright and nullify any agreement with a music publisher.
Songs created or published after January 1, 1978 are not affected. There are several complex aspects of
the Rear Window case and the resulting effect on music licensing. Consult an experienced music
attorney if there is any concern that a license may cover a musical work that is subject to the Rear
Window decision.

Recoup - a term used in music contracts where one party who has advanced or paid moneys to a second
party for expenses or other costs is able to be repaid that money from proceeds that otherwise would be
due the second party. For example, a label or publisher is often able to make deductions from funds or
royalties otherwise payable to a writer or artist to recoup (pay themselves back for) earlier advances paid
to the writer or artist. During the period where recoupment is occurring the writer or artist will usually
receive reduced or no income until the recoupment is complete. An agreement where all advanced sums
have been paid back is said to be “recouped.”

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Re-Record - to make a new recording of a musical work. Also referred to as a “cover song” or
“covering” the original work.

Ring Tone - the music or sound played by a mobile or cell phone through its speaker or headphone jack
that alerts the owner to an incoming call.

Ringback Tone - the music or sound heard by a telephone caller after dialing, but prior to the recipient
answering the call.

Rough Cut – a preliminary edit of a production in-progress, which may be helpful in developing ideas
for demonstration purposes.

Royalties — Future payments to the rights holders of a musical work or performance based on the use,
public performance, reproduction, or other use or exhibition of the musical work or performance. Rights
holders in music achieve these rights either as a result of copyright law or through a union or other
contract that provides for royalty payments. Music rights holders who can receive royalties can include
writers (composers and songwriters), lyricists, publishers, recording artists and vocalists, musicians,
producers, arrangers and orchestrators, conductors, copyists and music preparation personnel, music
supervisors and record labels.

Sample - in music licensing, a section of a copyrighted work that is included (“sampled”) in another
work. Sampling usually requires a license from the original copyright owner.

Sampler — An electronic device which plays back digital recordings of musical instruments
and other sounds. Samplers are often used as a substitute for live musicians in lower budget
productions. Often confused with synthesizers, which create electronic sounds.

Score (Underscore) - supporting music, usually instrumental, that the audience of a production hears
but the actors or people in the production do not.

Score Supervisor — A person who assists the composer at recording sessions by watching
the printed score and listening to the performances of the musicians to aid the composer. The
score supervisor often communicates with the composer or orchestra conductor through a
private headphone mix that only the composer/conductor can hear. The composer/conductor
then makes comments to the musicians as necessary. The score supervisor may occasionally make
comments to the scoring engineer about the volume levels of different instruments and other technical
aspects of the recording process.

Scoring Engineer (Scoring Mixer) — The person who records, mixes (adjusts levels,
effects, and EQ), and has overall responsibility for microphone placement and recording the
musicians at a recording session for music to be used in a film or television production. Also known as a
Recording Engineer.

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Scoring Stage – a recording studio, often with a large performance area to record an orchestra as the
film or television production is projected on a back wall screen.

Scratch Track – a music track that is precisely cut to time, but does not yet contain all its production
elements. Example: a piano/vocal track without the additional orchestral elements (such as strings) that
will be added in the final production of the track.

Sequencer — A software program used by a composer or songwriter to record the notes to be played by
musicians or to be electronically played on samplers or synthesizers. Sequencers can play back complex
musical compositions at virtually any speed, allow quick changing of notes and instruments, and in
many cases can print the music out as a score and parts for musicians to play. A sequencer program
combined with a digital audio recording program is commonly called a DAW (Digital Audio

Sidelining — A term used to describe musicians appearing on-screen in a film or television
production. The musicians usually appear with their musical instruments, and may or may not
actually play the instruments. Sidelining is often done under the auspices of an AFM musicians union

Signatory — A signatory is a business or individual who is authorized by the American
Federation of Musicians to act as an employer of musicians. In certain AFM contracts and
agreements such as the Assumption Agreement, the signatory becomes legally responsible for
possible future re-use and new use payments to the musicians.

Small Rights – refers to music public performance rights administered by performing rights
organizations (PROs).

Song - an original musical work containing music and lyrics (words). May be written by a single person
(songwriter) or a songwriter and lyricist together.

Sound Design - the creation or selection of non-musical sounds, including sound effects, for a

Sound-Alike - used to describe music that reminds the listener of another musical work, but is not
“close enough” in construction, especially regarding the melody and lyrics, to represent an infringement
of copyright of the other musical work. This type of work often ends up in a “gray area” where an
experienced music attorney should be consulted if there is any concern that the sound-alike is “too
close” to the other, copyrighted work. Sound-alike liability can also evolve when a musical performance,
especially a vocal performance, is “too close” to the unique performance style of another performer. This
is of special concern when a copyrighted work is being re-recorded using another performer whose style
is very close to that of the original performer.

Source Music – music that comes from an on-screen source, such as a radio or a band at a nightclub.

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Spec (on spec) - work that is done for no initial financial compensation, usually with the anticipation of
future compensation for that work or work resulting from the original spec work.

Spotting Session — The spotting session usually takes place after the filming and most or all of the
editing phases of a production have been completed. At the spotting session, the director and
composer agree on what types of music will be used in a project and on where in the production
(usually timecode locations) specific music will occur. The music editor documents these decisions and
provides spotting notes to the composer and director for reference.

Statutory Rate - a rate specified by a court or governmental authority that applies to a specific type of
activity. The “statutory mechanical rate” (also known as the “penny rate”) is a rate that is set by a
governmental body that specifies the minimum rate that must be paid to the writer of a composition for
each copy of a CD or other “mechanical” reproduction that is sold.

Stems - subsets of a music mix that includes only certain instruments or sounds. These subsets or
“stems” can then be treated differently when the music is mixed into the film, including using different
equalization, effects or gain levels on the different stems. Stems are also very helpful to separate
particular musical elements such as high-pitched instruments or percussions that may interfere with
dialogue or other sound elements of a film. If the problematic musical element is on a separate stem, the
stem can be lowered in volume (“ducked”) without having to lower the volume of the entire musical

Step Deal – a negotiated schedule to pay music and master owners in a series of payments (steps) that
are only due and payable if triggered by a series of future events related to a production. These events
typically refer to levels of gross box office revenue of a project, but can refer to any definable future
event such as the sales of a specified number of video games or DVDs, or the completion of a
distribution deal for the production.

Stinger (Sounder) - music played under the identification of a radio or television station’s name or call

Streamer — A thin line which moves from left to right across an image of the film seen by the
orchestra conductor at recording sessions. Streamers are used to provide the orchestra
conductor with timing information as he/she conducts the musicians. At the end of a streamer,
a punch — a large dot that flashes in the film image — is added to signify a hit or specific point
in the film that the music may be synchronized with. When conducting free-time (without click
in the musicians’ or conductor’s headphones), the conductor can synchronize the music to the
film during recording with the aid of streamers and punches.

Streaming - refers to music or an audiovisual product transmitted over the Internet where the music or
audiovisual product is visible or audible as it is transmitted to the user but is generally not available for
viewing or listening from the user’s computer or device at a future date. This specifically does not
include downloads, where content is transferred as a file and is not audible or viewable during
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Subpublisher - a publishing company in a country other than that of the original publisher who
represents the business interests of the original publisher in that foreign country. These activities include
registering copyrights and collecting royalties from local royalty collecting societies and other licensing
entities, exploiting the copyrights of the publisher with labels and other music users, and remitting this
income back to the original publisher after deducting a portion of that revenue as commission.

Sweetening - a term used in recording to describe the addition of other recorded sounds such as
sampler-generated tracks or instruments, or additional layered recorded performances to existing audio
to improve the sound.

Swimming — A term used to describe music or sound that has too much reverb or echo.

Synchronization license – a license, typically between a music publisher and a music user or
production company, that grants permission to incorporate music in synchronization or timed relation to
a picture or other audiovisual work. Also known as a “sync license.”

Synthesizer — An electronic device that generates or creates a sound. Often confused with
samplers, which play back a digital recording of an actual real-world sound, such as a violin
being played or a drum being hit. Synthesizers were very popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s and
were used to imitate and substitute for live instruments. With the advent of digital samplers,
synthesizers are now used primarily for special effects and electronic sounds.

Taft-Harley - for the entertainment business, a legal concept based on the Taft-Hartley Act passed in
1941 that allows an actor, such as a sidelining musician who appears onscreen in a union film to appear
once without having to join the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), as long as the actor has not previously used
the Taft-Hartley exemption.

Tethered Download - a downloaded audio or audiovisual file that is dependent on being able to
communicate to the original server that downloaded it in order to be played, and can only be played on
the device that downloaded the file. The tethering technology and the license terms of the download
typically prohibit the files from being transferred to another device or burned to physical media like a
CD. These are typically used by subscription services that allow a high volume of downloads or
unlimited downloads in exchange for a monthly or quarterly subscription fee. The ability to play back
downloaded media typically expires within a given time after the customer’s subscription is canceled.

Temp Love - refers to a situation where the director, producer, or other people involved in a film or
television production “fall in love” with the temp music used in the production before the actual final
music is determined, licensed, or composed. Temp love can be create problems when music with
unrealistic aspects (such as a large live orchestra or popular songs with very high licensing fee
requirements) is used as temp music and the director of a film expects a composer or music supervisor to
create or license similar music without the necessary budget or time to do so. Temp love can also result
in problematic demands that a composer copy or come “close” to the temp music when creating new
original music, creating potential copyright infringement issues.
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Temp Track (Temp Score) - Existing music that is temporarily edited into a film or television
production in order to demonstrate or approximate the musical direction and wishes of the director or
producer of the production. Also used for test screenings of a production that occur before the actual
music is licensed or composed.

Tempo - term indicating the speed (slow, medium, fast, etc) of the underlying “beat” of a musical work.

Territory - a geographical or other area covered by a music license or other musical agreement. A
territory can be anything from a specific country to “the world” or “the universe.”

Theatrical - exhibition of a film in movie theaters, outdoor theaters, or similar venues.

Theme - used in the generic sense, a musical term that refers to a recognizable melody that can be used
in different ways, and played on different instruments or sung within a film or television production.

Theme Song (Main Title Theme) - a piece of music used at the beginning or ending of a film or
television show that is intended to be the musical signature or theme for the production.

Timecode (SMPTE code) - a system involving a special audio signal that represents a constant stream
of time representations that is used to synchronize 2 or more devices or computers together.

Timed Relation - a term used in music agreements and contracts referring to music that is precisely
synchronized with video or picture.

Timing Notes (Breakdown Notes, Spotting Notes) – usually constructed by a music editor and
furnished to the composer and music supervisor. Includes detailed scene breakdowns and descriptions
with notes about where music is planned and what musical direction(s) have been given to the composer
and music supervisor.

Track Sheet - used primarily in tape recording to indicate the various instrument(s) and sounds on each
track of the tape.

Trailer - a video advertisement for a film or television production. Trailers are often shown before films
in theaters, and are also seen on television advertising an upcoming film or television production.

Underscore - instrumental score music used in a film or television production to enhance the storyline,
message, emotions, action, or other aspects of the production. Score music is not heard by the actors in
the film.

Video On Demand - exhibition, typically over cable or satellite television services, of a television or
film production where the customer is charged a fee for a transmission of the production but may order
and receive the transmission at any time and is not required to choose from a list of pre-scheduled
transmissions of the production.
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WAV - an uncompressed, professional high-quality digital audio format, often used as the default pro
digital audio format by some PC software programs

Work Made for Hire – a legal concept where the company or person who hires someone to create a
musical work becomes, for copyright purposes, the author of that musical work and therefore owns all
rights to that musical work unless any of those rights are granted back by contract to the composer or
songwriter who actually creates the work.

Writer’s Share - the portion of performing rights royalties paid to the writer of a musical work. This
portion is generally 50% of the total performing rights royalty, with the publisher receiving the
remaining 50%.

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