Music Glossary I

Music Glossary I

Music Glossary I is a collection of music industry terms, words, and phrases, that begin with the letter “I” from IC to Isolation.

Music Glossary I

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Music Glossary I Terms


Acronym for Integrated Circuit.


A short audio or video branding snippet used to identify a production company or broadcaster.


An abbreviation for “The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry”. The IFPI is the international trade body for Major labels and large independent labels.

IFPI Website


This is the total opposition to the current flow of an Alternating Current (AC) within a measured system. Impedance is measured in Ohms.

Impedance Balancing (Load Balancing)

This is a technique applied to unbalanced signal outputs to minimise the effects of interference and hum by maximising the power contained in the signal.


An imprint is a project, unit, or division of a record label, often marketed as a sub-label. There is no separate legal business structure associated with the imprint. Distributing, marketing, and copyright activities are handled within the departments of the parent label.


When a piece of music was created completely using computers and software, it would be referred to as being created “in the box.”


Used to describe tape speed, this is an acronym for Inches Per Second.


An incubator is a dedicated company, or part of a larger company, that specialises in artist development or in writer development.

Independent Distributor

Independent distributors in the music industry are either affiliated with a major distributor, or they are not. Examples would be:

Major Affiliated

  • RED, owned by Sony Music
  • Caroline, owned by EMI
  • ADA, owned by Warner Bros.
  • Fontana, owned by Universal
Not Major Affiliated
  • Entertainment One
  • Razor & Tie

Independent Promotion

Record Labels hire independent music promotion contractors to promote a single to DJs and radio programmers to get radio airplay.


A shorthand music industry slang term for “independent.” The term is vague and refers to:

  • Small record labels
  • Small publishing companies
  • Artists signed to these labels and publishers
  • Unsigned artists acting as their own labels and publishers

Indie Music/Indie Rock

A music genre originating in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. The name “Indie” originally referred to independent record labels, but the term became associated with the music they produced. It was interchangeable with alternative rock or “guitar pop-rock”.

Indie Labels / Independents / Independent Labels

Independently funded record labels not affiliated with a major label.

Inducement Letter

When an artist acts under the auspices of a legal company, with the aim of providing a service to another company, then the artist may be required to sign an Inducement Letter.

The artist’s company would be thought of as the “Furnishing Party”, while the other company would be thought of as the “Receiving Party”.

The aim of the inducement letter is to “induce” the Receiving Party to enter into the agreement.

An example agreement requiring an inducement letter would be a recording agreement between a loan-out company and a record label.

Typical terms include that the artist:

  1. attests that they have read and understood the agreement
  2. attests that the Furnishing Party has the right to enter into the agreement and that the artist will be bound by the agreed terms
  3. personally guarantees the fulfillment of the contracted terms
  4. will hold the Furnishing Party solely responsible for any income due to the artist in relation to the contract
  5. agrees that, if for any reason the Furnishing Party loses exclusive rights to their services, then they will perform directly for the Receiving Party.


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Electronics component that is characterized by producing an increasing impedance with frequency.

Insert Point

This is a breakpoint in the signal path that allows external devices to be connected in-line. Commonly these connections are used for connecting signal processors.

Institutional Sales

Record sales to government institutions, like schools, libraries, etc, which may or may not include sales through PX stores. Many record contracts specify a reduced rate of artist royalty for institutional sales than for top-line records.


Unlike a song, an instrumental is a piece of music without any accompanying lyrics or vocal parts. In popular music, an instrumental may include vocal sounds, but not lyrics.


A term used to describe any material that does not conduct electricity.

Intellectual Property/IP

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, images and designs.

Interested Party Information Code/IPI Code

The Interested Party Information Code (IPI code) is a unique ID number used in collective rights management in 120 countries. It is assigned by CISAC to each Interested Party, totaling more than 3,000,000 rights holders worldwide.

IPI numbers come in two types:

IPI Name Number

11 digit number used for names or pseudonyms of a person or legal entity. Individuals can have more than one name. (Reginald Dwight, Elton John etc.)

IPI Base Number

Code for an entity itself. Coded using the pattern H-NNNNNNNNN-C where:

  • H: Single letter header
  • N: ID number
  • C: check digit

Interlude/Link Section

An interlude is a short sequence that often re-uses themes and feels from another section of the song. Literally, an interlude provides, when needed, breathing space between sections of the song. Interlude sections are almost always instrumental as they literally provide space for a singer to breathe.

Intermodulation Distortion

A type of distortion that results in the addition of frequencies, not present in the original signal. These are normally derived from the sum and difference products of the original signal frequencies. International Standard Musical Works Codes/ISWC

International Standard Musical Works Codes(ISWC) identifies songs and compositions.

Each party has at least one ISWC role. ISWC roles are:

  • A: Author, Writer, Lyricist
  • AD: Adaptor
  • AM: Administrator
  • AR: Arranger
  • C: Composer
  • CA: Composer/Author
  • E: Original Publisher
  • ES: Substitute Publisher
  • PA: Publisher Income Participant
  • PR: Associated Performer
  • SA: Sub-Author
  • SE: Sub-Publisher
  • SR: Sub-Arranger
  • TR: Translator

Someone who adapts music is normally termed as the “arranger”. Someone who adapts lyrics is normally termed as the “adapter”.

ISWC are created in three parts:

  • A prefix character
  • 9 digit ID specific to the work
  • A check digit

International Standard Recording Codes /ISRC

International Standard Recording Codes are unique, permanent codes, used to identify the specific sound and video recordings, be they either tracks or masters.

Codes can then be permanently encoded into products and used for future automatic identification for royalty calculation.

RIAA administers ISRC numbers in the USA. In the UK, PPL administers ISRC numbers. A unique code, that makes up part of the ISRC number, is assigned to each record label. The Record Label themselves then assigns the rest of the code, making up a complete and unique number for each recording.

Each complete ISRC code is 12 characters long, of the form “CC-XXX-YY-NNNNN”. The four parts of an ISRC number are as follows:

  • “CC” – 2 character country code
  • “XXX” – 3 character alphanumeric registrant code for the issuer
  • “YY” – 2 digits year code assigned to the recording
  • “NNNNN” – 5 digits annually unique ID number for a specific sound or video recording

The Red Book standard recommends the encoding of ISRCs onto CDs. For MP3 files, the ISRC number is embedded into the TSRC frame of the ID3v2.2 tag.

Intra-Company Rate

The royalty rate is paid by foreign distributors affiliated with the domestic record label. The country where an artist was originally signed to a record label is the domestic record label.

So, if an artist is signed to Sony Records in the United Kingdom, then Sony Records U.K. is considered the domestic record label. When Sony Records USA sells a record by that artist, Sony Records USA pays an intra-company (within-company) royalty rate to Sony Records U.K.


Intonation is basically the alignment of the notes in relation to the position of the frets on the guitar neck. Adjusting the length of guitar strings affects the alignment of the notes in relation to the position of the frets so that they can be aligned. This is best done on a per string basis, with individual bridge positions for each string.

Intro/Introduction (Song)

Common features of an Introduction section:

  1. It sets the initial scene of the song and gives the listener their first idea of what is to come.
  2. It establishes rhythm, tempo, instrumentation, dynamics, beat, key and atmosphere.
  3. Major chords give the song an upbeat feel
  4. Minor chords will portray a sad feel or feeling of loss.
  5. Often the introduction is an instrumental, usually featuring a variation of the main theme.
  6. Drums and percussion parts are sometimes used on their own to strongly establish the rhythm or groove.
  7. It can build a sense of suspense and anticipation, creating a feeling of release when the song steps down into the verse.

Arrangement-wise, it isn’t uncommon to have the lead singer sing the main hook of the song at a slower tempo, or a variation on the main hook may be sung by backup singers. This seeds the main melody in the mind of the listener. This can evoke a stronger reaction to the melody proper when it appears.

In terms of chord progressions, introductions often:

  1. use one or more bars of the tonic chord
  2. Use a standard “turn around” progression for songs with a jazz or blues influence
  3. Use chord progressions from the verse, chorus, pre-chorus, bridge


As the word implies, in recording it is best to keep all of the recordings pure, insulating the rooms to eliminate bleed.

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