Music Glossary L

Music Glossary L

Music Glossary L is a collection of music industry terms, words, and phrases, that begin with the letter “L”, from Label / Record Label to Lyrics.

Music Glossary L

Music Glossary Navigation

Music Glossary L Terms

Label / Record Label

“Label” is short-hand for “record label”. A record label releases an artist’s music to the public. Often the label does not distribute the records. It is not unusual for the record label and the distributor to be owned by the same individual or company.

For example, “Epic Records” is a record label within the Sony Music Group. Sony Music Entertainment is the Distributor of all of the Records released by Epic Records in the United States.

Label Deal

An agreement between two record labels:

  • One record label provides contracted artists (the “artist label”)
  • The other record label provides finance and distribution.

Typically such deals cover multiple artists. Label deals are structured in a similar way to a joint venture deal, where net proceeds are shared.

The artist record label often gets a royalty for each artist. The royalty may be cross-collateralized or not.

In music chart listings convention dictates that the name of the artist label is placed before the financing and distribution label.

LCR Mixing

LCR‘ is short for ‘Left-Centre-Right’. It refers to a mixing process where tracks are panned to one of those three positions only. Early mixing consoles often used LCR switches instead of pan pots.

Lead Sheet

A paper copy of the music and lyrics for a song. The terms of songwriter agreements usually require the songwriter(s) to deliver lead sheets for their songs.

Leaving Member Provisions/Group Provisions

When an artist, signed to a record label governed by a record contract, is a band/group, the record contract will contain a section that gives the record label several rights that are activated when a member leaves the group or the group disbands.

For example, the record label can, optionally:

  • Terminate the recording contract. This is often described as “dropping the group”. Terminating the record contract can also trigger this effectively making each group member a “leaving member”. At the record label’s discretion, each group member could automatically be “picked up”, i.e. signed to an exclusive record contract governing their solo records (see 2 below).
  • Continue with the band without the leaving member(s). This may well be under different terms, such as smaller contracted advances and/or artist royalties.
  • “Pick-up” the leaving member(s). This means that they are each considered to be signed to an exclusive record contract with the record label, under new contract terms. New contract terms and consequences are likely to include:
    • Reduced advances and artist royalties for their solo records by comparison with the terms of the band’s recording contract.
    • Any unrecouped balance about the band’s record contract may be recoupable from the solo record artist royalties.
    • A proportionate share of the artist’s royalties from the band’s records can be used to recoup advances and recoupable costs relating to the leaving member’s solo records.
    • The record label may be entitled to the delivery of more solo albums from the leaving member than the outstanding number of albums still to be delivered by the band, under the terms of the band record contract. For example, a Leaving Member Provision can assert that the leaving member has to deliver two albums to the record label, while under the original band contract the group had to deliver only one album to the record label at the point that the member left the band.

Library Music

Music libraries offer off-the-shelf music and recordings, licensed for use in film and TV.

Rates for master use and sync licenses are not fixed. This means that film and TV producers have to negotiate a price for use. This contrasts with fixed prices for broadcasting or performance licenses.

Catalog music is pre-made, pre-cleared recordings, normally licensed by PROs.

Library Music is music that is often recorded by unknown artists, licensed for use in TV programs, movie commercials, and trailers.


  • A license is a permit. It allows limited rights to another party.
  • A record label may license another record label to sell recordings it owns.
  • A publisher may license a production company to use the work of one of its composers.
  • A publisher may license a gaming company to use the work of its composers.
  • PROs license music for broadcast and performance (implicitly or explicitly depending on the country)

License terms include:

Artist/Band - Songstuff Music Community Join

  • Name of licensee
  • What is controlled by the license?
  • Duration
  • Exclusivity
  • Territory
  • Usage
  • Royalty model to be used
  • Limitations, such as whether the licensee has the power to grant a license to others
  • The right to modify or create derivatives, and the terms that apply to those derivatives.


The party, person, group, or company that is assigned rights according to any type of licensing agreement.


The party, person, group, or company that is granting specified rights by any type of licensing agreement.

Lift  A section of a song, known as the “Lift” because the level of emotion increases. See Pre-Chorus.


This is a variation on a Compressor that uses a compression ratio of 10:1 or larger. Limiters are used to stop a signal exceeding a certain preset level. See our article Compression by following the link below.

Songstuff Compression Article

Line Input

This is an input that is designed to operate at Line Level.

Line Level

This is the nominal or operating level of an audio system. This level normally corresponds with a ‘0 VU’ meter reading. Standard Line levels are:

  • +8 dBm (1.95 volts RMS), Broadcast
  • +4 dBm (1.23 volts RMS), Pro Recording
  • -10 dBv (310 millivolts RMS), Alternative Pro Recording

Line Output

This is an output designed to operate at the nominal Line Level.

Loan-Out Company

This is a company that is owned and controlled by an artist, which the artist uses to enter into agreements and to conduct one or more aspects of an artist’s activities. (A loan-out company can also be in the form of a partnership if the “artist” is more than one person.)

Many Loan-Out Companies are formed by artists so they can take advantage of more favorable tax regulations (e.g., a company may be able to take certain deductions that an individual is not permitted to take) as well as to limit the artist’s liability from third party claims.

For recording agreements and other contracts for the artist’s services and/or the artist’s name and likeness rights (i.e., Merchandising Agreements), the Label or merchandiser may require the artist to sign an Inducement Letter. Artists of any significant stature almost always use a Loan-Out Company for, at least, touring purposes to minimize the artist’s exposure to third party lawsuits while on the “road” (for example, a lawsuit relating to an injury to an audience member when at an artist’s concert).

Long Tail

The long tail is a concept first described by Chris Anderson of Wired in 2004. The theory suggests that the combined sales of a large number of items with low sales volume per item can rival or exceed the sales of smaller numbers of high sales volume when the store/distribution channel is large enough.


The 25 CD cardboard boxes that manufacturers and distributors send out CDs in.

Long Playing/LP

Long Playing (LP) records were 12-inch diameter, 33 rpm vinyl records. LPs were called albums because each LP contained the tracks of an album of 78 rpm records.


A snippet of audio that is edited to repeat again and again.  Normally, it will be of between one and four bars of music in length.


This is completely the opposite of gain in a circuit, i.e. attenuation.

Low-Frequency Oscillator/LFO

Acronym for Low-Frequency Oscillator. This is an oscillator, normally oscillating below 20Hz, acting as a modulation source applied to another signal. The waveshape of the LFO can often be selected as a sine, square, triangular, or sawtooth waveform.

Low Pass Filter

This is a type of filter that attenuates frequencies above a cut-off frequency. i.e. it allows low frequencies to pass through unchanged.


Lyrics are the word component of a song.

Making Suggestions

All suggestions are very welcome. We ask that when you suggest a term, you also suggest a description for that term. As a regular contributor, we ask that you follow the instructions on becoming a contributor set out below. You are also welcome to make suggestions in our music community forums.

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