VOTI - voices of the industry




We live in a world full of music acronyms used to describe music workstations, tech, companies, communities, etc. Abbreviations are shortened forms of longer phrases or words. In general, acronyms improve text clarity by minimising word repetition, making words shorter, and just simply making the text easier to read. So, acronyms can speed things up but sometimes people can feel left out if they don’t know what they mean. An interesting fact is that some companies work hard to come up with an acronym for their campaign to add power and so it could be easily recognised by all people, these can also be highlighted within an organisation’s logo.


On the other hand, in some ways, acronyms can feel overused in our music world, and if you are new to the music industry, many of these words can cause more confusion than help. The more we use these shortcuts, the more difficult it can be to deliver a simple and direct message, plus some people can potentially be left out in immediately knowing what’s being talked about. So it’s useful to know what some of these terms are.


So we prepared a selection of the most common music acronyms. If you can think of any we’ve missed out just let us know!


Miscellaneous Terms


  • A&R – Artist and Repertoire

The person at a record label or publisher whose job it is to find new talent, and then be the contact at the company for the artist in question.


  • TM – Tour Manager

Tour Manager (TM) is the person in an artist’s team responsible for making sure that tours run smoothly.


  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management

A Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) is a software product that helps artists take comms with their fans to the next level.


  • PPD – Published Price to Dealer 

The Published Price to Dealer (PPD) is the wholesale unit price of a recorded work. It’s often used in a major label’s contract with an artist as a basic figure for defining the artist’s royalty shares.


  • LC – Label Code

A four or five digit code given to a record label to identify who has released a record.


  • EP – Extended Play records

An extended play (EP) is a musical recording that contains more than one song (usually between 4-6 tracks long), but is unqualified as an album or LP (which usually has 8 or more songs).


  • LP – Long Play record // Long Play album 

A Long Play record (LP) is a musical recording that contains 8 or more tracks. The name originally referred to a “long play vinyl record”, but has since come to refer to a full-length album, with 8 songs or more.


  • WAV – Waveform Audio File

A WAV is a high quality digital file of your music. WAV files are large and take a lot of space. A stereo, CD-quality recording (44.1 kHz, 16 bit) averages around 10 MB per minute. Some people choose to record in 88.2 kHz for a higher recording quality, and some people disagree about the advantages of this due to the file being so large, the speed in processing is a greater ‘weight’ and therefore slower. Plus the final output is usually transferred to 44.1 kHz for CD formats, or usual standard ‘streaming’ MP3 formats.


  • AIFF – Audio Interchange File Format

Apple’s version of a WAV file.


  • AAC – Advanced Audio Coding

AAC delivers a better quality sound at a similar file size, but is still quite far away from toppling the trusty old MP3.


  •  A/D – Analogue to Digital Converter

An analog-to-digital converter (known as ADC, A/D, or A-to-D) is a system that converts an analog signal from a microphone or line level source into digital signals. 


  • IP – Intellectual Property

With every song, lyric, riff, hook, chorus, breakdown etc you create you’ve got a shiny new bit of intellectual property to call your own. IP refers to something that is rightly yours but isn’t tangible and even though it doesn’t physically exist you can still sell it or exploit it in various ways to make money from it.


  • DSP – DIgital Service Provider

A Digital Service Provider (DSP) is the industry name given to streaming providers like Spotify or Apple Music.


  • UPC – Universal Product Code

In other words –  barcodes.


  • EAN – European Article Number

A European barcode which has one extra digit over a UPC (Universal Product Code).


  • DAW – Digital Audio Workstation

It is an electronic device or application software used for recording, editing and producing audio files.


  • IPI – Interested Party Information

IPIs are assigned to songwriters, composers and music publishers that own the rights to music.


  • ISRC: International Standard Recording Code

An ISRC code (International Standard Recording Code) is a 12-character, alphanumeric code that is assigned to a track set for commercial release. This is essential for all music releases to clarify ownership and appropriate delivery of any due income.


The Publishing Terms


  • CAE – from the French ‘Compositeur, Auteur and Editeur’ (Composer, Author & Publisher)

An identification number so that any money you make from your publishing rights can find their way back to you.


  • ICE – International Copyright Enterprise

This is the system used by the PRS (Performing Rights Society – the UK’s sole PRO) to create, store and administer all the information regarding the songs they look after. Within a song registration you usually find information regarding the composer (the person who wrote the music), the author (the person who wrote the lyrics), their CAE numbers (which tells you who PRO they belong to) and their publishers CAE number (which also tells you which PRO they belong to).


  • PRO – Performing Rights Organisation

This is the business that looks after your performing rights and all the information to do with your individual songs. If you want to make money from your publishing rights then you simply have to register with a PRO.


  • ISWC – International Standard Work Code

An eleven digit alphanumeric code given to each song registered to any PRO worldwide which makes it uniquely identifiable. Using either this or a ‘Tunecode’ (which is essentially the same thing but shorter), royalties that are generated by that song can find their way back to the correct PRO and then back to the author, composer and publisher.




  • ABO – Association of British Orchestras
  • AIM – Association of Independent Music
  • BPI – British Phonographic Industry
  • CISAC – International Confederation of Societies of Authors & Composers. Effectively the ‘trade union’ of all PRO’s
  • GS1 – Global Standards. People who create barcodes
  • IFPI – International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Effectively the ‘trade union’ of all record labels
  • MCPS – Mechanical Copyright Protection Society. This company collects the Mechanical royalties that your music publishing rights generate from the reproduction of your music (CD/Vinyl pressings, digital sales) as well as TV/Radio income
  • MMF – Music Managers Forum. Effectively the ‘trade union’ for Music Managers. If you’re a UK based music manager then you want to get yourself involved with this company
  • MPA – Music Publishers Association. Effectively the ‘trade union’ for music publishers within the UK
  • MPG – Music Producers Guild
  • MU – Musicians Union. The trade union for UK based musicians; offer essential advice as well as useful bits and bobs such as instrument insurance
  • PPL – Phonographic Performance Limited. They collect money for those who own the master recordings of a song and also the performers on said records. There is money generated every time the record is played on the radio or receives TV exposure
  • PRS – Performing Rights Society. It collects all your money from gigs, radio airplay, TV exposure etc. for your music publishing rights
  • VPL – Video Performance Limited. Part of the PPL; they collect all the royalties generated from when your music video has been played on various TV stations worldwide
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