Understanding the Music Industries

Books

Chris Anderton, Andrew Dubber & Martin James

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

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    Boxes and Figures

    List of Boxes
    • 1.1 Björk's Biophilia (2011) 15
    • 2.1 The major transnational recording companies 24
    • 2.2 Mute Records 34
    • 2.3 Crowdfunding 43
    • 3.1 Profile: Cathy Dennis 53
    • 3.2 The major transnational music publishers 56
    • 4.1 Mark Tavern on contemporary studio practice 70
    • 4.2 Ian Wallman on mastering and the Loudness Wars 74
    • 4.3 Profile: Nigel Godrich 77
    • 5.1 Fora do Eixo (Off-Axis) 86
    • 5.2 Types of music recommender system 95
    • 6.1 The extended marketing mix 102
    • 6.2 Katie Melua – ‘environmental brand ambassador’ for Vauxhall Motors 120
    • 6.3 Viral marketing successes 121
    • 7.1 Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Live 128
    • 7.2 House concerts 131
    • 7.3 U2's 360° Tour and Kylie Minogue's Aphrodite: Les Folies133
    • 7.4 Ticketing at Glastonbury Festival 142
    • 8.1 Music in video games 153
    • 8.2 Dave Grohl and audio-cassette culture 156
    • 8.3 ‘Official’ bootlegs 158
    • 9.1 Authors’ rights 166
    • 9.2 Moral rights 167
    • 9.3 Performers’ property rights 169
    • 10.1 Robbie Williams vs Nigel Martin-Smith 189
    • 10.2 Digital royalties 201
    List of Figures
    • 2.1 Global recorded music industry market shares 2010 25
    • 3.1 Global music publishing market shares 2010 55
    • 4.1 Phases in the production process 67
    • 7.1 Key roles in live music 137

    Notes on Authors and Contributors

    Chris Anderton

    Chris Anderton is a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music Studies at Southampton Solent University and is the Course Leader for BA (Hons) Music Promotion. He has published scholarly articles and book chapters examining not-for-profit bootlegging, progressive rock, and the history, geography, cultural economy and marketing of British music festivals. His other research interests include the future of the music industries, creative audiences, artist-fan interactions, and alternative distribution and copyright regimes.

    Andrew Dubber

    Andrew Dubber is Reader in Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University and is Award Leader for the MA in Music Industries and the MA in Music Radio. He is a member of the Centre for Media and Cultural Research, an advisor to Bandcamp and Planzai, and the founder of New Music Strategies – a pan-European music think-tank and strategy group. His research interests include digital media cultures, online music enterprise, radio in the digital age, music as a tool for social change, and music as culture.

    Martin James

    Martin James is a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music Studies at Southampton Solent University and is the Course Leader for BA (Hons) Popular Music Journalism. He worked as a music journalist on the editorial teams of a variety of market-leading titles, and contributed to almost every major music and lifestyle magazine in the UK and US. He has written several critically acclaimed books and biographies, including State of Bass – Jungle: the Story so Far and French Connections: from Discotheque to Discovery.

    Holly Tessler

    Chapter 3: Songwriting and Publishing (co-author)

    Chapter 10: Contractual Agreements and Relationships (co-author)

    Holly Tessler is a Senior Lecturer in Commercial Music in the School of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of the West of Scotland. Areas of research include the music industries as creative industries, the relationship between music, culture and technology, music and branding, the mediation of popular music, and the role of narrative in popular music/music industries practices.

    Andy West

    Chapter 3: Songwriting and Publishing (co-author)

    Andy West is a Principal Lecturer at Leeds College of Music. He was previously a Teaching Fellow of Bath Spa University where he designed and directed the world's first MA in Songwriting from 2007–11. Andy has taught at songwriting festivals and his songs have been used in numerous television shows including Heroes, Lost and In Cold Blood. His PhD examines the teaching and learning of songwriting in higher education.

  • Conclusion

    The purpose of this book has been to provide a framework for achieving a deeper understanding of how the music industries operate in the twenty-first century; of how they connect with culture, technology, politics, and international and local economies; and how they shape the ways we encounter and experience music. Embarking on a study of the music industries at a time of significant change and upheaval is a challenging and rewarding activity. While there are several seminal and influential works that provide a strong theoretical basis for further research, the complexity and fluidity of the field mean that it is wide open for analysis and interpretation. The possibilities for the creation and discovery of new knowledge in the field make it a rich area for research and a fascinating subject for theorists and practitioners alike.

    Complexity and Symbiosis

    This book has provided some structural and intellectual frameworks within which such an investigation can take place, and has examined what are generally considered to be the key components of the music industry ecosystem. It should be noted that while these components have been separated out for our study here, all of the parts are actually interconnected and to some extent symbiotic. Nevertheless, by tackling each of them individually it is possible to step back and understand how these parts integrate into a coherent though complex form.

    To that end, we have outlined some of the key research approaches through which the music industries have been studied and understood by scholars, and investigated the operations of the dominant sectors of the music industries (the publishing, recording and live music businesses). We have also explored the relationships between the composition, production, distribution, promotion and consumption of music, and the ways that these complicated and discursive practices are inscribed by the economic, political, technological and cultural contexts within which they are situated. We have discussed the current legal framework that guides the ownership, remuneration and use of musical intellectual property and pointed to the philosophical, political and historical bases on which those legal frameworks are legitimized. Throughout, we have underscored the fact that all of these things have been, and continue to be, subject to change.

    Be Wary of Metanarratives

    And while we have discussed the profound effect that the past 20 years of digitalization has had on the music industries, what we have resisted throughout is the temptation to predict the future. There is no shortage of commentary online and in contemporary books that claims to describe ‘the future of music’ (Kusek and Leonhard, 2005) or confidently predict a world of ‘music in the cloud’ (Wikström, 2009), yet a more reflective analysis of the music industries shies away from such grand unified theories (metanarratives – see Chapter 1) and sweeping prognostication. The music industries encompass such a wide range of practices, discourses, activities, genres, professions, motivations and gratifications that the future of music is undoubtedly as complex and interesting as its present and past.

    The profound impacts of the many music industry innovations that have been seen over the past 100 years and more have been not only unforeseen, but also unforeseeable. This brings to mind Marshall McLuhan's (1964) work in which he talks about the unanticipated consequences of new technologies: that they may be not be used in the ways that their designers had intended, or that when viewed in retrospect their effects were more far-reaching than first imagined.

    For instance, the introduction of audio recording and radio broadcasting in what we might call the electric age (see Chapter 1) radically changed almost every aspect of the music industries in ways that the dominant industry of the time could not have anticipated. The printing of sheet music became a marginal activity when it had formerly been the principal way to make money from music. This did not mean the ‘death of’ sheet music as an industry, since it is still possible to walk into a store and buy a printed score; however, this is no longer the main route through which music industry revenues are generated. In the early twenty-first century, live music and music synchronization together exceed the annual revenues generated from selling recordings of music, while printed sheet music barely registers on the chart. Nevertheless, most predictions of the future of music involve an assumption that recordings will remain economically dominant; that it is only how those recordings are distributed and consumed that will change.

    Essentialism and totalizing theories abound when it comes to discourses on the future of the music industries. Not only are we supposedly witnessing ‘the death of’ all manner of things, but ‘in the future, we will all behave and use music in certain ways, such as streaming from subscriber services, sharing music via social networks or doing everything on our mobile phones. However, while fairly common behaviours today, they are neither universal nor unproblematic. They tend not to account for differences in demographics, genre tastes, or the legislative frameworks of different countries. These developments are not insignificant, of course, but they are neither ‘the future of music’, nor likely to be completely true.

    Diversity and Reorganization

    What is perhaps more interesting than inventing ultimate destinies for the music industries, based on contemporary trends, is to contemplate and examine how the diversity and complexity of those music industries are altering, and then to reflect upon the meanings and implications of those changes. We are not migrating from one simple system to another, but expanding and rearranging a set of complex business and consumer practices.

    Meanwhile, it is important to consider that the most profound future developments in the music industries may well be innovations that we have not, as yet, encountered or imagined. While many of the most important developments for the music industries might seem retrospectively obvious and part of an ongoing continuum of progress (or decline, depending on your perspective), the significant thing is that these developments were invented. The many and varied technologies that are changing the business and consumer practices of the music industries are creative, socially negotiated and innovative responses to the potential of digital technology and the interconnectivity of the internet. These range from YouTube, Bandcamp, Spotify, and podcasts, to BitTorrent, Guitar Hero, ringtones, and online ticketing, and from Pay What You Want album sales, mash-ups, and crowdfunding to mobile apps, music blogs and print-on-demand merchandise (amongst many others).

    Likewise, it is a fair assumption that any future developments for the music industries will neither be universally adopted, nor a simple case of consumers doing more of something they were already doing. There will almost certainly be no ‘death of’ any currently existing behaviours (though the marginalization of current practices and products is statistically likely – as with printed sheet music in the twentieth century), and neither will a single model emerge which ‘solves’ the music industry for any particular party.

    Finally, it is worth noting that the economic weight of the music industries has fundamentally shifted. Technology companies such as Apple and Amazon, and super-retailers like Walmart and Tesco, are significantly larger in economic terms than any of the major record labels or traditional music retail outlets. At the same time, small and innovative independent companies and entrepreneurial organizations are making the most of the upheavals, uncertainties and new opportunities that digital technologies have contributed to. Whether the legal and political frameworks within which these innovative practices must establish themselves will be conducive to this kind of creative response or overtly conservative and restrictive is a moot point. It is of course to the benefit of major music industry organizations to retain the status quo, which is why we have seen legal action and lobbying for legislation with regards to music copyright and control of the online environment.

    Where Next?

    Scholars of the music industries have the luxury of stepping back, of taking in the broader picture. They can examine what is going on; ask why it is going on, and why in this particular time, at this particular place and in this particular way. Through thoughtful reflection, they can understand how things came to be the way that they are (and in whose interests). They can adopt a questioning approach that can imagine other ways in which the music industries might be configured. They can become invaluable thinking practitioners and managers within the sector, and use their critical position to contribute to the unexpected, innovative and creative future of the business of music. We offer this book as a starting point on this journey.

    Glossary

    • 360-degree deal. A recording contract in which the label gains a share of an artist's broad revenue streams (such as from recording, touring and merchandising).
    • A&R (Artist & Repertoire). Record company department which seeks, signs and develops new artists.
    • A2IM (American Association of Independent Music). A non-profit corporation representing the American independent recording industry.
    • Advance. Monies paid under a publishing or recording contract to a songwriter or recording artist which are to be recouped from any royalties earned from the songs or recordings delivered under that contract (and other income sources if a 360 deal is in place).
    • AIF (Association of Independent Festivals). A non-profit trade association representing independent music festivals.
    • AIM (Association of Independent Music). A non-profit trade association representing independent record companies and distributors in the UK.
    • Ancillary income. Revenues earned from business activities which lie adjacent to the core business; for instance, car-parking fees and food and drink sales at live concert venues.
    • App. A specialized program designed to be downloaded and used on mobile digital devices.
    • ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher). An American performing rights organization.
    • Assignment. Where control or ownership of a contract or copyright is signed over to another person or organization.
    • Berne Convention. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (originally signed in 1886) is an international trade agreement related to authors’ (songwriters and publishers) rights. It includes clauses related to moral rights and reciprocal treatment.
    • Bit Torrent. A peer-to-peer file distribution system which connects multiple internet users in a network; pieces of files are simultaneously uploaded and downloaded from individual computers in the network, which are then compiled into completed files.
    • Blanket licence. Commonly issued by performing rights organizations, these grant permission for the use of music catalogues in return for negotiated fees.
    • Blog. Short for ‘web log’, a blog is a website that is updated in the manner of an online journal or diary.
    • BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.). An American performing rights organization.
    • Booking agent. Finds or brokers work at live music venues and events on behalf of artists.
    • BPI (British Phonographic Industry). A non-profit trade association representing the British recorded music industry.
    • CD. Compact (audio) disc.
    • Collection society. Another term for a performing rights organization.
    • Compulsory licence. One determined by copyright law rather than by negotiation; for instance, once a song has been recorded and distributed to the public, any artist may record it so long as they pay a fixed royalty as determined by applicable copyright law.
    • Controlled composition clause. Contractual wording between a record company and a composer/artist which demands a reduced mechanical royalty be payable by the record company on any works controlled (i.e. written) by that recording artist.
    • Co-publishing. Two or more people or companies owning a share of the publishing rights in a song.
    • Copyright. Grants the owner legal rights over a song or sound recording, such as the right to reproduce, distribute and publicly perform the work.
    • Copyright infringement. Reproducing, adapting, distributing, performing publicly or displaying a copyrighted work without permission of the copyright owner.
    • Cover, cover song, cover record. A new recording of a song which was previously recorded and released by another artist.
    • Cross-collateralization. Contractual wording in a recording contract which allows unrecouped monies incurred by one project/release to be recouped from the earnings of another
    • Cross-over artist/recording. An artist or song that is successful in one genre format or market segment that becomes successful in one or more others.
    • Cultural capital. A sociological term associated with the work of Pierre Bourdieu that refers to non-financial cultural and intellectual knowledge that provides enhanced status in society.
    • Cultural industries. A collective term for businesses involved in the creation and distribution of goods or services which are predominantly cultural or artistic in nature and which are protected by intellectual property rights such as copyrights.
    • Cyberlocker. An online site providing digital storage space. Users upload files that can be accessed and downloaded by multiple other users. They have many legitimate uses, but have also been used to transfer music and video files and artwork without permission from, or payment to, copyright owners.
    • D2C (direct-to-consumer). Distribution of goods or services directly to consumers, rather than through intermediaries such as record companies.
    • Demo. A ‘demonstration’ recording of a song, or series of songs, not intended for official release, but to attract the attention of promoters, agents, publishers and record companies.
    • Development deal. Financial support for the creation of demo recordings or artistic development; the financing company usually has first option of signing the artist to a recording deal or of brokering a recording deal with another company.
    • Digital aggregator. A company that distributes digitized music to online retailers.
    • DJ (disk jockey). Someone who chooses and plays a sequence of pre-recorded music to an audience on the radio or internet, or at venues such as bars, clubs and festivals.
    • DVD-A. DVD-Audio offers higher quality audio resolution and playing time than the compact disc and supports surround sound reproduction. The discs are usually backwards-compatible so that they may be played on DVD players.
    • Dynamic pricing. A pricing structure determined by levels of demand, where concert ticket prices are varied to maximize attendance and profit.
    • EPK (electronic press kit). A promotional package for an artist or event which is presented in digital form. EPKs include a range of information and parts including press releases, photographs, biographies/histories and audio/visual media. The term has also been used to refer to short promotional documentary films as well as audio only interviews.
    • Exploit. To use intellectual property for financial or promotional gain, such as sales, licensing, and marketing tie-ins.
    • File-sharing. Sharing of digital files through the internet; where conducted without permission of copyright owners, it is referred to as illegal file-sharing.
    • Fixed costs. Business expenses which are not dependent on the quantity of sales achieved; for instance, the recording costs of an album, or staging costs of an event.
    • FLAC (free lossless audio codec). A digital audio file format which compresses audio files without losing any of the original audio information (hence lossless).
    • Freelancer. Someone who is self-employed.
    • Gatekeeper. A term derived from communication studies, a gatekeeper is someone who decides which messages are passed on. For instance, a radio station programme director is a gatekeeper, as he/she decides which recordings will be playlisted.
    • Gig. Commonly used to refer to music jobs undertaken by performers/musicians, such as concerts and paid recording sessions.
    • Harry Fox Agency. An American organization which collects and pays royalties to songwriters and publishers when their songs are manufactured by a record company onto any format.
    • Heritage act. An artist with a substantial long-term following and career.
    • Horizontal integration. Investing in companies which are in the same line of business, such as when one record company purchases another.
    • IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music). An international organization founded in 1981 which promotes the academic analysis of popular music.
    • IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). A not-for-profit organization which represents the worldwide recorded music industry.
    • Independent record label (or ‘indie’). Typically a small record label which operates independently of the major transnational recording companies (the ‘majors’). Many are, however, distributed by major-label owned distribution companies and, in some cases, the majors may also finance or part-own the indie.
    • ISP (internet service provider). Companies which provide computer and mobile device users with access to the internet.
    • ISRC (International Standard Recording Code). An internationally recognized method of identifying sound recordings and music video recordings.
    • Key man clause. A provision which may be negotiated into artist contracts, whereby the artist is free (i.e. no contractual reprisals) to follow a ‘key person’ (agent, manager, producer and so on) should that person leave the employment of the company to which the artist is contracted.
    • Library music. Collections of music which are created for sale (usually for a one-off flat fee) to users such as radio, television, and film, rather than to the general public.
    • Long-tail theory. A theory developed by Chris Anderson which suggests that the low costs of digital music distribution, together with the unlimited shelf space of the online retail environment, may allow niche artists and labels to sell their music profitably.
    • LP (Long Play). An analogue storage and distribution medium based on twelve-inch vinyl records played at 33 1/3 rpm. LPs were the backbone of recorded music industry profits in the 1970s, but were displaced by the compact disc in the 1980s and 1990s.
    • Major label. A transnational recording company which controls its own distribution and holds more than 5 per cent of the global consumer sales market.
    • Marginal cost. Business costs which are dependent on the quantity and type of product produced. Digital music files have very low marginal costs, whereas vinyl album production costs are higher (due to the costs associated with pressing, packaging, storing and distributing physical products).
    • Mash-up. A music track created by blending two or more pre-existing sound recordings which are played at the same time, such as a vocal track taken from one source overlaid on top of an instrumental track taken from another source.
    • Master. A sound recording from which copies are made.
    • Maven. An individual with a respected knowledge of a scene, and recognized as a taste-maker or opinion leader within a social or community group.
    • MCPS (Mechanical-Copyright Performance Society). A British organization, now part of PRS for Music, which collects and pays royalties to songwriters and publishers when their songs are manufactured by a record company onto any format.
    • Mechanical licence. Record companies are required to obtain a mechanical licence from songwriters or publishers when creating and duplicating sound recordings of their songs.
    • Mechanical royalties. Standardized financial payments (as set by copyright law or copyright tribunal) which are paid by record companies to songwriters and publishers pursuant to a mechanical licence.
    • MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). A technological standard used for exchanging or communicating musical instructions between or to electronic musical instruments which can understand, reproduce or act upon those instructions.
    • MP3. A digital audio file format which compresses audio information in order to reduce the size of the file for easier storage and transfer. It is referred to as ‘lossy’ because some audio information is lost during compression.
    • Napster. Originally a peer-to-peer file-sharing website of the mid- to late-1990s which allowed users to illegally share music with each other. It was closed down after legal action by the music industries, and later re-launched as a legitimate downloading store.
    • Neighbouring (or related) rights. Rights which belong to performers, broadcasters and producers rather than to songwriters and sound recording copyright holders.
    • Niche market. A specialized consumer segment based on demographics (such as age, location and socio-economic group) and/or psychographics (musical tastes, lifestyle choices and personality traits).
    • Option. A contractual provision which gives a record company or publisher the right to renew (or not) the term (length) of a recording or publishing agreement.
    • Overdubbing. The recording of additional tracks (music or sounds) to a pre-existing sound recording.
    • P&D deal (pressing and distribution deal). A contractual agreement in which a record company or distributor will manufacture and distribute the product of an independent record label or artist in return for a percentage of the revenue achieved.
    • P2P (peer-to-peer). A computer program which allows users to download music files from other people's computers, rather than from a centralized store.
    • Payola. Illicit financial payments and gifts/services offered in return for obtaining radio airplay.
    • Pay to play. In order to secure a performance at a particular venue an artist will, under this business agreement, purchase tickets from the venue then re-sell them to their fans to make their money back.
    • Performance right. Copyright owners have the exclusive right to authorize the public performance of their works.
    • Performing rights organizations. Organizations which administer the performance rights of copyright holders by issuing public performance licences to music users such as radio and television stations and by collecting and distributing income received.
    • Piracy. A catch-all term used to describe various forms of unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted works.
    • Playlist. A list of songs (updated at least weekly) played regularly by a radio station.
    • PPD (published price to dealers). The price paid by distributors for record company products.
    • PPL (previously known as Phonographic Performance Limited). A British performing rights organization (or collection society) which also administers International Standard Recording Codes (ISRCs) in the United Kingdom.
    • Producer. A person who works with artists, recording engineers and record labels to create a music recording.
    • PRS for Music. A British performing rights organization (or collection society) which also issues mechanical licences (administered through MCPS).
    • Public domain. Different kinds of cultural works (such as music, lyrics and sound recordings) are granted copyright protection for maximum periods of time; when that time period has passed, the copyright expires and the works may be used by anyone without seeking permission from, or making payment to, the original copyright owner. At this point the works are said to be in the public domain.
    • Recording contract. A contractual agreement between a recording company and an artist.
    • Recouping. When an advance which is paid under a recording or publishing contract is repayable from royalties earned by the artist or songwriter.
    • Remix. An alternative version of a song, created from the component elements of an original audio recording, sometimes with additional recordings (such as drum loops, sound effects and so on).
    • Revenue stream. Any source of income due to the exploitation of copyrights, or income from other sources, such as merchandising sales.
    • Reversion clause. A contractual provision in a music publishing agreement which stipulates that the rights in a song may be returned to the songwriter if the song is not recorded or otherwise exploited in the manner detailed in the agreement.
    • RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). A trade organization representing the American recording industries.
    • Rider. A contractual provision related to live music which details the artists’ personal and technical requirements for a concert appearance.
    • Ringback tones. Sounds or music heard by a telephone caller while they wait for their call to be answered.
    • Ringtone. Sounds or music played by a telephone to indicate that someone is calling.
    • Roster. A list of artists signed to a recording, publishing or production company.
    • Royalty. Monies earned by a songwriter or recording artist under a royalty-based contractual agreement; often expressed as a percentage of the retail or wholesale price. Royalties are used to recoup any contractual advances which have been received.
    • Royalty escalation clause. A contractual term which increases the royalty percentage received by a songwriter or recording artist when certain preset criteria are achieved, such as specific sales figures.
    • RPM (revolutions per minute). RPM refers to the speed that various physical recorded media are played to give correct sound reproduction; for instance, LPs typically rotate at 33 1/3 rpm.
    • SACD. Super audio compact discs are favoured by some audiophiles as they allow a greater frequency and dynamic range than standard CD. They can store surround sound recordings, and if used primarily for stereo recordings can have a playing time of four hours or more. However, a specialist SACD player is required.
    • Sample clearance. When sampling a pre-existing song recording for use in a new piece of music, permission (and usually payment) is required from the copyright's owners (for both the music publishing and the sound recording). Sample clearance is the name given to the process involved.
    • Sampling. The practice of using (usually) short clips of pre-existing sound recordings in the creation of a new recording; sampled elements may be used in unchanged form or manipulated using a synthesizer, computer program or other equipment.
    • Single. Commonly used term for 45 rpm vinyl discs which typically feature just one song per side, but also used to refer to the sale and download of individual tracks from internet music stores.
    • SESAC (formerly Society of European Stage Authors & Composers). An American performing rights organization.
    • Smartphone. A mobile phone which has additional computing features such as access to the internet and built-in or downloadable software applications (data storage, gaming, photography, music player and so on).
    • Street team. A promotional team which works on behalf of an artist, record company or event to create awareness and interest amongst a target market. Street teams may be paid or voluntary, and may also exist online.
    • Subcultural capital. Non-financial cultural and intellectual knowledge that provides enhanced status within a group, subculture or scene of people with similar interests.
    • Sunset clause. A contractual provision which specifies that an agreement will come to an end or be modified under specific future circumstances.
    • Synchronization right. The right to use music with film, television or video.
    • Taste-maker. Someone who influences popular music tastes or fashions, such as a high-profile blogger or journalist.
    • Territory. A grouping of countries which share characteristics of some kind, and are dealt with as singular units for business and marketing purposes.
    • Tin Pan Alley. Nickname for an area of New York that was central to the music publishing and songwriting business from the 1920s to the 1950s. Tin Pan Alley pop songs are simple commercially motivated songs in which the chorus predominates.
    • Track. Individual sound recordings of songs on an album; alternatively, all of the individual components of a sound recording: for instance, the drum parts, vocal parts and so on of a song are typically recorded separately in a multi-track recording studio before being combined into a final stereo product.
    • Upstreaming. A contractual arrangement between a major recording company and an independent record company in which the major has the option to take over an artist's recording contract should that artist prove commercially successful.
    • Vertical integration. Purchasing or investing in companies which are involved in the production, marketing or use of a product; for example, Sony Music is part of a vertically integrated conglomerate (Sony Corporation) which also includes radio, television, and film companies, and telecommunications and gaming companies which make use of music.
    • VPL (Video Performance Limited). Part of PPL, this organization grants licences for the public performance of music videos.
    • Weasel. A music company employee that covertly uses message boards and blogs to drive grassroots conversations about artists and products.
    • Work for hire. A contractual agreement in which the rights to a song or recording are to be owned by an employer, rather than by the composer or performer; hence no royalty payments are due to the composer or performer, who instead receives a flat fee or regular salary.

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