Glossary Navigation

PA System
A Public Address System is a collection of speakers and amplifiers. PA Systems are used for audio in everything from concert halls, to churches and even your local bar.

Pad
This is a passive network of resistors used to reduce the signal level.

Pan-Pot
Pan is an abbreviation of the word ‘Panorama’. The Pan pot is used to control the amount of audio signal sent to the left and right channels of a stereo signal pair.

Music Community

PCM
PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation. This is a digital process for encoding signals.

Peaking
This is the response curve of an equaliser unit that affects a selected band of frequencies. For example a bandpass frequency response.

Performance Royalties
The income earned from performing a song:

  • Over a live stream
  • streaming audio
  • radio
  • television
  • concerts
  • any other public performances of music

Performing Rights Organization/PRO
These are organizations that collect payments for licensed public performances of songs on behalf of the copyright owners. The collected payments are then paid as royalties to the songwriters and publishers of the performed works.

Example PRO:

ASCAP

BMI

SESAC

PRS for Music

Performing Rights Society/PRS
British music copyright collection society. The Performing Right Society issues licenses for performing music and collects royalties.

PRS is part of British music copyright collective PRS For Music, an umbrella group for PRS and MCPS.

Phantom Power
This is a power signal that can be used to power Condenser Microphones and Active DI Boxes directly from a Mixing Desk. Phantom power is normally in the range 6 to 48 volts DC.

Phase
This is the relationship between two audio signals with respect to time. In Phase, audio signals will reinforce each other, when summed. Out Of Phase audio signals will result in cancellation when summed. See the description of Phase in the article by Ken Lanyon by following the link below.

Songstuff Phase Article

Ping Pong
There are two common uses for this term.

Ping Pong (1)

Sometimes called ‘bouncing’ this is the process of freeing up tracks in a multi-track recording by mixing several input racks down into either one (mono) or two (stereo) output tracks. This means that you can record over the original tracks, freeing them for further parts.

Doing this too many times, in the analogue domain, can introduce degradation in signal quality. The added problem is that the sub-mix used to create the bounced track(s) cannot be undone so that mistakes in level or EQ in the submix will be present in the final mix.

Ping Pong (2)

A panning technique where a sound appears to move from one speaker to the other.

Platinum Album/Single
The Recording Industry Association of America provides a certificate, certifying that an album/single has sold one million plus units.

Points
A shortened form of Percentage Points, commonly used to refer to an artist or producer’s share of sales.

Polarity
Polarity describes the orientation of the positive and negative connections of an audio signal.

Pop Filter
A Pop Filter is a cloth, foam or mesh placed over or between the source and a microphone. The Pop Filter reduces the ‘popping’ effect of plosive vocal sounds like ‘P’ or ‘B’. The term is also applied to electronic filters that use a high pass filter, with a cutoff at approximately 70Hz to 100Hz, to remove unwanted pops.

Post
A shortened form of “post production.” It’s a catch-all term covering all production work after capturing the studio performance.

Post-production includes processes like:

  • overdubbing
  • editing
  • signal processing
  • effects
  • mixing

Post-Fade
This is a point in a Mixing Desk audio signal path after the master or monitor fader. This means that any signal routed Post-Fade will be affected by the fader position.

Pre Fade Listen (PFL)
This is a circuit on a Mixing Desk that allows the monitoring of a channel, or channels, independently of the main mix. In other words, depressing the PFL button on a mixer will route the pre-fade signal of that channel directly to the monitor outputs. Be careful! Turn down your monitor level before you press the button! You have been warned…

Pre-Chorus
Known as the Climb, Rise, Pre-Chorus, Channel, Prime, or Verse Extension, this specialist type of bridge differs melodically, harmonically, rhythmically and lyrically from the verse and the chorus. Additionally, instrumentation, arrangement and production can all shift up a gear to help effect the transformation.

This section is called:

  1. A Pre-Chorus because it comes before the chorus.
  2. A Climb, Rise or Lift as the level of emotion increases.
  3. A Build as it builds intensity.
  4. A Channel because it channels the listener from verse to Chorus.
  5. A Transitional Bridge because it IS a bridge between the verse section and the chorus section.

Not all songs include this section.

Musically, it often uses subdominant or a similar transitional harmony. If both the verse and chorus use the same harmonic structure, this section is used to introduce another harmonic pattern. This helps break up the sections using the same core harmony and keeps the chorus harmonies as fresh as possible.

Lyrically, this section has been used to introduce a pivotal idea or concept that somehow links a verse and chorus. These sections tend to be quite short. Transitional Bridges sometimes change through the song, though often they retain some repetition from previous Transitional Bridges. This, yet again, helps to introduce the feeling of movement through a song.

Pre-Fade
This is a point in a Mixing Desk audio signal path before the master or monitor fader. This means that any signal routed Pre-Fade will not be affected by the fader position.

Pre-Verse
This isn’t often used in current popular music, although it was briefly popular with the American West Coast “Surf Sound” writers of the 1960s. A pre-verse was a particular link section that was used as an interlude between the Introduction section and the first Verse section.

Press Kit
A real-world, physical version of an Electronic Press Kit

Pressure Gradient Microphone
This microphone responds to the difference in pressure (gradient) between the two sides of the microphone diaphragm. The pressure gradient microphone has a characteristic figure-of-eight polar pattern. Also known by the name “velocity microphone”.

Producer/Record Producer
Someone who oversees process of creating a recording. Producers can be active during the songwriting process and the arrangement of the song, during recording and mixing, management of the recording budget and other business practices.

Professional Manager
A Professional Manager screens new material for music publishers and gets commercial recordings of songs within the publisher’s catalog.

Promoter/Music Promoter
Someone who promotes live performances for bands. (Sometimes people incorrectly call PR companies and publicists, promoters)

A promoter stages events. They normally bid for rights to stage a concert or a tour and recoup their outlay through ticketing and sub-licensing. Promoters assess each potential gig, before deciding if they want to book local shows in each territory. It’s a gamble. They gamble that the band can sell enough tickets to justify the gig and make a profit.

Promoters receive a set fee and a share of the net ticket sales, i.e. after costs are deducted. This us because the promoter has to invest money in a show to make it happen. They have to cover costs like venue hire, the PA system, lighting and the local road crew needed to run them. The promoter also pays for the band’s food and drink. Sometimes costs also include flights and accommodation for the band and road crew.

If ticket sales are poor, then there is a good chance the promoter has lost money.

It serves the promoters to get fans to the show. A good promoter will use an online marketing strategy, have posters put up all over town and advertise the gig on local radio stations and magazines. In short he ‘promotes’ the show, hence his job title.

This all costs a promoter more money. The larger the show, the bigger the gamble and the more the Promoter must invest to promote it.

A Booking Agent (a.k.a. a Talent Agent) negotiates with the Promoter on behalf of the artist. The Promoter then signs a contract with a Booking Agent, in order to book and stage a live performance.

In addition to Promoter’s agreement with the Booking Agent, the Promoter also signs a contract with each Venue and all of the vendors who provide services for each concert the Promoter promotes. Vendors hired by the Promoter could include companies that provide security, backstage caterers, lighting operators, and stagehands. The Artist also engages additional vendors.

Promoters that are a part of Live Nation or AEG are often affiliated with the company that owns the Venue.

A good local promoter has to keep up with which bands are up and coming, which bands are getting good press, which bands get requested at local venues and which band’s Merch gets worn by the audiences who visit his Venues.

A good Promoter has to be smart. Smart enough to weigh up what he is gambling in order to place his bet at the right level.

Proration
Prorated royalties come up when an Artist, Producer, Mixer or other royalty recipient is not due a royalty for all of the recordings on a Record.

An example of this would be where the Artist Royalty for a Compilation Album will be prorated. This is done by multiplying the otherwise applicable Artist Royalty rate by a fraction:

n/T

Where:

n = number of recordings on the Album that feature the artist

= total number of recordings on the Album.

Prosody

  • patterns of rhythm and sound used in poetry or song
  • patterns of emphasis, stress and intonation in a language
  • the way the syllables of the words of a song align with notes in the melody to which those words are sung, or the alignment of the music with lyrical ambiance.
  • The appropriate relationship between song elements, whatever they may be.

Proximity Effect
This is the increase in low-frequency response that occurs as a source gets close to a Pressure-gradient microphone.

Pressuregradient microphones include all directional mics, such as ribbon microphones and multi-directional condenser microphones.

PRS
See Performing Rights Society

PRS for Music
British music copyright collective made up of two collection societies: the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS). PRS for Music carries out collective rights management for approximately 140,000 members.

Public Domain
In different jurisdictions this might have different implications and qualifications or be known by a different name. In essence it means that the material is not copyright controlled. This happens when copyright expires or in many jurisdictions, when the owner explicitly releases the material into the public domain.

Public Performance Royalties
Public Performance Royalties are the income stream that is generated as a direct result of performance rights. Performance rights control the permission to perform the song by any means. This includes broadcasting a song on the radio, television, or playing it in a nightclub, or at a concert etc.

Publication
Under U.S. Copyright Law, publication of a song is considered to be the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.

Publicist
Someone who creates awareness of an artist, project or person.  Publicists are usually responsible for getting articles about the project into the press and media, including:

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Internet articles
  • Blogs
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Podcasts

Publisher/Music Publisher
Originally, a music publisher was a company that published sheet music. Since then, recordings have become more important than printed sheet music. Most publishers actively try to place songs in revenue generating positions, like advertisements or with other artists for cover version, etc.

As a result Music Publishers invest in writers, promote songs and collect earnings from Publishing Copyrights.

The term “Publisher” typically refers to the person or company that controls the Administration Rights for one or more songs.

Publisher’s Share
The Publisher’s Share is the share of income, created by exploiting a song, that is due to the publisher when the Songwriter’s Royalties have been deducted.

Publishing Administration
Publishing administration is limited to royalty collection—the publisher will not get additional customers for the compositions. The rate for simple administration, registering songs, collecting and distributing fees and royalties, is normally about 10%.

Many modern Administration Agreements are frequently fairly short term, there is no long-term binding and no transfer of ownership.

Publishing Agreement/Publishing Deal
A legal agreement relating to one or more of the Publishing Administration Rights for one or more songs is granted or otherwise addressed via the agreement.

Publishing Agreements place a person or company in charge of making sure the correct royalties are collected for a song, in exchange for a portion of those royalties and some rights to the song. They also do much more. Publishing Agreements also cover the exploitation of the copyrighted material, the creation of opportunities and the negotiation of fees, permissions and other terms. They also include pitching songs to artists to arrange covers, to movie and television producers to place the song in a movie or TV program or advertisement

Typical agreements where Administration Rights are granted:

  • Publishing Agreement
  • Administration Agreement
  • Subpublishing Agreement
  • Co-Publishing Agreement
  • Songwriter Agreement
  • Print Agreement

Agreements where Administration Rights are otherwise addressed:

  • Co-Administration Agreement

Punch In
To ‘Punch In’ or ‘Drop In’ is to start a new recording on a track that already has a recorded part on it. Punch-Ins can be automated to start by setting record mode to start at a given time or musical bar. The opposite process, ‘Punch Out’ or ‘Drop Out’ occurs at the point where the recording has to stop.

PX Sales
PX Sales are records sold for sale on military bases.

Nearly all Recording Agreements set a reduced Artist Royalty rate, for the artist, for any PX Sales.