Common Industry Terms

A&R

Artists and repertoire is the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists and songwriters.

Advancing

Confirming all of the details of a show before, in advance of, the show date.

All Inclusive

Generally, means including meals, lodging, and local travel or ground (like from hotel to event) but not necessarily long distance travel from the home city to the event.

Backline

Band equipment such as amps, drums, keyboards, etc. Normally carried by an Artist on tour but sometimes provided locally for a One-Off or Fly Date.

Backstage

The area behind and to the sides of the stage specifically, but also more generally any of the areas that are not open to the public and reserved for the artists and their crew.

Barricade

A physical barrier, often made of metal, placed between the stage and the pit or general admission area. Also sometimes called a “Crash Barricade” or “the rail.” Barricades are meant to be stable and immovable, and they are often placed several feet away from the stage to allow security, photographers and other workers to pass freely in front of the stage.

Billing

The relative position in which a performer or act is listed on handbills, posters, etc.                     

Blanket License

A license issued by a rights holder or their representative that provides for use of their entire catalog for a pre-determined period of time.

Buyer

Usually referred to as a talent buyer, this person negotiates on behalf of the venue or event to determine how much you’ll be paid, and works out any necessary contracts.

COB

Close of business.

Comp Ticket

A “complimentary” ticket that allows event admission free of charge.

Configuration

How the performance is set up. Example acoustic, full band, solo, etc.

Dead Air

An extended period of time when the band is on stage but no music is being played nor is anyone talking on the mic. First coined to describe a radio station that has gone silent. Best to be avoided.

Deal Points

Specific points of a deal which are material to the negotiation. V.I. P. meet and greets, sponsor mentions in all advertising, security issues, transportation issues may all be considered deal points.

DOS

Day of show.

DSP

Digital streaming platform. A web-based service that lets users stream songs to their computers or mobile devices.

EOD

End of Day.

EP

Extended Play. A musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album or LP record.

EPK

Electronic Press Kit. A resume or CV for music artists. It's designed to provide labels, agents, music supervisors, venue talent, buyers and the media with essential information to understand who you are as an artist so that you can get noticed, land a gig and/or make connections.

Fair Use

An exception to copyright protection (or, more accurately, a defense to a copyright infringement claim) that allows limited use of a copyrighted work without the copyright holder's permission.

FEX

Fully executed. All parties to the agreement have fully performed their obligations, or that all of the terms and conditions of the contract have been fulfilled in their entirety.

Flat Guarantee

A performance agreement in which an Artist’s fee is a predetermined dollar amount without the possibility of any additional monies.

Flown PA

PA speakers are hung (flown) up high in rigging (the support beams of venue’s ceiling).

Fly Date

An event to which an Artist flies to and from.

FOH

Front of House. The area where sound and lighting boards are located, normally within 100 feet of center stage.

GBOR

Gross Box Office Receipts. Total ticket revenue.

Gross Potential

An event’s total gross income from all potential ticket sales. Mathematically, ticket prices multiplied by capacity at each price level.

Ground

Transportation to/from hotel/airport and venue.

Ground PA

Also called stacked PA. PA speakers are on the ground/stacked on each other.

Guarantee

Dollar amount an Artist is guaranteed to receive as their performance fee.

Guarantee Plus Percentage Deal

A performance agreement in which an Artist’s fee is the guarantee plus a percentage of the net income. In this scenario, the Artist’s guarantee is included as a line item expense for the purpose of calculating the amount of the bonus, or the bonus percentage is based on a performance benchmark such as a certain number of tickets sold.

Hard Merch

CDs, DVDs, Books, Cassettes, Vinyls, etc.

Hard Ticket Event

An event to which tickets are sold to the general public and where final payment to the Headline Artist is directly related to how many tickets are sold. Typically, the main source of entertainment is the Artists’ performance(s).

Haze

An atmospheric effect that will basically put “liquid dust” (a fine mist) into the air to enhance lighting. It makes beams of light visible and is used in almost any large concert.

Hospitality Rider

A list of requests for the comfort of the artist on the day of the show.

Hot (Hot Mic)

Term used when the microphone squeals with feedback or is just too loud in general.

Idiot Check

The act of going back into the venue after everything is loaded out and packed up to ensure nothing was forgotten. Should be performed by two different people.

Input List

Detailed list of where each input (mics, amps, Dis, etc.) should be patched in order to show up correctly on the sound boards.

LD

Lighting Director. A person in charge of the design and implementation of theatrical lighting and special effects for concerts, performances, television, film and various events.

Line Check

Process used to determine that all microphones and other inputs are setup correctly, but without checking sound levels.

Load-in / Load-out

Load in is when you haul all your stuff from the van or the bus into the venue and on stage. Load-out is the exact opposite.

Mains

The main speakers for the front-of-house sound system. These are the speakers that provide the sound for the audience at a show.

Manager Role

Someone who has the role of bringing together and coordinating the people and projects necessary to meet the goals of an artist or band.

Merch Split

The agreed upon percentages of merchandise sales revenue from an event retained by the venue/event and given to an Artist. This varies by event/artist.

Metadata

The information embedded in an audio file that is used to identify the content. If the song file itself is the data, the metadata is the song title or artist name, the track length, the BPM, or genre.

Monitors

The stage monitor system is what provides the sound for artists while on stage. These are the speakers on stage facing the artists and they will be playing a different mix than what the audience is hearing.

Monitor World

Area where the monitor board is located, normally stage-right or stage-left.

One-Off

An isolated date that doesn’t route with any other date.

One Sheet

One page overview and representation of a band and/or music.

Overages /
Bonuses

Monies an Artist receives, in addition to their guarantee, as agreed upon in the Artist’s contract.

PA System

Publix Address System. Electronic system comprising microphones, amplifiers, loudspeakers, and related equipment.

PM

Production Manager. A person responsible for all technical production elements of a live show, including sound, lighting, and staging.

Press Release

A document outlining some crucial information about the material you are releasing, whether that's a music video or tour etc.

Production

Sound, lights, and stage equipment.

Promoter

The verbiage “Producer” varies depending on usage. A Telent/Entertainment Buyer can be considered a Producer. However, in an “agency-issued” contract, Producer refers to the Artist’s company and/or business name.

RA

Registered Agent. An artist’s direct agent.

Radius Blast

Sending a message to clients within a certain radius of the city where an act is booked.

Radius Clause

A form of non-compete clause used in the live music industry. Stated mileage from an event location that an Artist may not perform publicly within a specified number of days prior to and following said event. For example: “Artist agrees to not publicly perform within 100 miles of event location 90 days prior to and 30 days following said Event.”

Rider

Additional document that adds, alters, or amends the provisions of an associated or attached agreement or contract.

Rig

A set of musician’s gear or equipment.

Rigger

Person who gets up on the rigging to hang equipment.

Rigging

Suspended equipment used to fly equipment such as sound and lights.

Roadie

This is a term usually reserved for an employee of a touring band who sets up and maintains equipment, but it can be used to describe pretty much any employee who tours with the band. They load in and load out, drive tour vehicles, ensure the security of instruments and artists, and keep the show on the road.

Routed

A form of non-compete clause used in the live music industry. Stated mileage from an event location that an Artist may not perform publicly within a specified number of days prior to and following said event. For example: “Artist agrees to not publicly perform within 100 miles of event location 90 days prior to and 30 days following said Event.”

Royalties

Compensatory payments received by rights holders (songwriters, composers, recording artists, and their respective representatives) in exchange for the licensed use of their music

Run of Show

An item-by-item sequence of events that will happen within a show. The detailed outline shows what each department should be doing at what time.

Runner

Person(s) provided by the venue/client of an event to assist the artist(s) and/or their crew with local transportation, running errands and so on.

Showcase

An introduction to an audience for a new act. It also sometimes serves as an opportunity for an established act or band to present new material.

Soft Merch

T-shirts, hoodies, clothing, bandanas, cups, keychains, etc.

Soft Ticket Event

An event offering several forms and/or days of entertainment for one low-priced (possibly free) ticket, and an Artist’s payment is not connected to the number of tickets sold. Casino shows (which utilize a high number of comp tickets), fundraisers, and private shows are also considered Soft Ticket Events. Soft Ticket Events typically pay a premium price for an artist.

Sound Check

Process of checking sound equipment to determine that all microphones and other inputs are set-up correctly and that sound levels are appropriate.

Stage Manager

Overall supervisor of an event’s stage and backstage area. Stage managers help ensure that everything stays on schedule the day of an event.

Stage Plot

Diagram outlining an Artist’s preferred stage set-up for their show, typically included in the Artist Rider.

Strike

To strike something is to take it down and off the stage. That could mean an amp, an instrument, or the entire set-up for a band.

Talent Agent

A representative who arranges for the public performance and other creative-related opportunities for a musician.

Technician / Tech

Experienced crewperson dedicated to specific equipment or setup. For example, larger bands may have a guitar tech, a drum tech, a bass tech and more. Smaller bands may have only one tech who handles all of the equipment, or they may have to do it themselves when just starting out.

Technical Rider

The technical information an artist should have on hand to provide to a venue, promoter, stage manager or sound engineer in advance of playing a show. A Technical Rider should include a Stage Plan/Plot, Channel/Input List and an Equipment/Backline List.

TM

Tour Manager. A person who runs the show when a band is on tour. Tour managers are responsible for making sure a concert tour runs smoothly. Their jobs involve looking after the tour finances, making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be—and generally making sure that everyone on tour is on task.

Turnover

The time between sets that bands and techs have to shift the setup on stage from one band to the next. Turnovers are usually done as quickly as possible, and could entail striking one stage plot completely and replacing it with another, simply replacing everything but the backline, or even just leaving everything as is and having the bands share all gear.

360 Deal

A business relationship between an artist and a music industry company. The company agrees to provide financial and other support for the artist, including direct advances as well as support in marketing, promotion, touring and other areas.