Music Glossary O

Music Glossary O

Music Glossary O is a collection of music industry terms, words, and phrases, that begin with the letter “O”, from OCC to Override.

Music Glossary O

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Music Glossary O Terms


The Official Charts Company for the U.K., they compile the UK music charts.


Ogg open container format maintained by Xiph. It covers several music file formats used for downloading and digital music players.

Ogg filers are compressed audio files. They use Ogg Vorbis audio compression, which is both free and unpatented. An Ogg file is similar to an . MP3 file, in that it is a compressed audio file, but Ogg sounds significantly better than an MP3 file of the same size. Ogg files can include song metadata, such as information about the artist and track data.

File sizes are generally about a tenth of the original size.

Ogg file extensions:

  • .ogg
  • .ogv
  • .oga
  • .ogx
  • .ogm
  • .spx
  • .opus

Ogg can contain:

  • Vorbis
  • Theora
  • Speex
  • Opus
  • FLAC
  • Dirac
  • and more

On Air/On Sale

This indicates that a song can be bought as soon as it is released for radio broadcast.

It is pretty well inevitable that releases will be pirated, but we can use knowledge of how and when pirating takes place to find a way to minimize  the scale of piracy, if not have it work to our advantage. “On Air/On Sale” as a tactic is to stop music piracy by making legal digital downloads available to the public as early as possible. It is still a relatively new practice and not all labels have adopted it as a strategy yet.

The previous tactic was to use a Release Window, making the release available a number of weeks after broadcast, letting the marketing “buzz” build, before the release drops. Some Record Labels still believe the release window gives them better chart position when the track eventually goes on sale.

It has been all but abandoned as a global, all-encompassing strategy, in favor of treating each release on a case-by-case basis.

One Sheet

One sheets are used by Record Labels, Distributors, and Independent Artists as PR summaries to sell a new release.

As their name suggests they should be one page long. They should include:

    • Short Bio
    • Press Photo
    • Upcoming Release Details
    • Tour/Shows
    • Selling Points
      • Have you played any festival shows?
      • Have you sold out any shows?
      • Played/recorded with any established bands?
      • Recorded with an established producer?
      • Have strong social media stats and engagement?
      • Do you have strong press quotes?
      • Featured play on radio stations?

One sheets normally form part of a press kit.


Sub-record distributors that buy Physical Records from the original Distributor. They will then re-distribute the Records to smaller “Mom and Pop” record stores.

Open Reel/Reel-to-Reel 

Tape used for audio recording, but not using a cassette.

Open Tuning

Open tunings are used on stringed instruments. Instead of using the standard tuning for the instrument, the strings are tuned to a major chord when all the strings are played with no strings fretted/stopped by the left hand.


An option is commonly an option clause in a contract. They can be for a variety of reasons but usually they relate to extending the term of a contract. Not everyone has options. Often the Record Label is the only party to have an extension option, and it is likely to be enacted automatically.


Orchestration is a composition represented for an orchestra or other musical group on Sheet Music.


An Orchestrator creates Sheet Music that represents a composition. They faithfully assign a composer’s notes to instruments without changing anything.

Artist/Band - Songstuff Music Community Join

Orchestrators create sheet music for each member of an orchestra.


To repeatedly move back and forth between two points.


Oscillator is the name given to any system, mechanical or electronic, that generates a waveform, acoustic or electric, that repeats at either a fixed or variable frequency.

The frequency of the oscillation defines the frequency of the generated waveform and therefore the perceived pitch.


This is a common contract option in Synchronization Licenses and Master Use Licenses.

Without the grant of “out-of-context” rights, the Licensee only has the right to reproduce and perform the Song/Sound Recording in context. This means the Song/Sound Recording can only be used:

Within trailers/advertisements for the movie/television program only in the scene(s) and in the way the Song/Sound Recording is used in the movie/television program.

With the grant of “out-of-context” rights, the Licensee can use the Song/Sound Recording:

Within trailers/advertisements for the movie/television program with or without the restriction of using only the scene(s) or the way the Song/Sound Recording is used in the movie/television program.


Industry term for describing any signal processing equipment that is not contained in an audio mixing console.


This is a recording process used during multitrack recording. While the performer listens to previously recorded tracks they record a new part to a new track. The tracks are then combined, usually into a stereo pair, during the mixdown process.


An “override” typically refers to a royalty due to someone other than an Artist, Producer or Mixer.

As an example:

An artist is signed to Record Label A. While still under agreement to that Label, the Artist wants to move to Record Label B. 

Record Label A might be willing to terminate their agreement with the Artist provided Record Label B agrees to pay Record Label A a non-recoupable fee and/or an overriding royalty. Any Advance given by Record Label A, may also be recoupable using override royalties.

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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Are you a qualified entertainments lawyer? Or perhaps you have in-depth knowledge about tour management? Are you an experienced band manager? Or perhaps a booking agent? You could be a studio Engineer or a music producer. Would you be interested in helping musicians to build their skills and understanding by contributing definitions to the Songstuff Music Glossary? We rely upon musicians, and people working within the music industry, being willing to contribute to our knowledge base.

As well as contributions to our music glossary, we feature contributions to our music library, in our site blogs and social media portals.

In particular, we add video contributions to the Songstuff Channel on YouTube.

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