A legal right that grants to the owner of a work protection against unauthorized copying.

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format wars

Rivalries in which companies selling specific types of recording and playback devices try to put competing formats out of business.


Thomas Edison’s name for his first recording device.

analog recording

A representation of the sound wave is stored (physically) directiy onto the recording medium.

digital recording

A recording technique in which sound is broken down electronically into a numerical code.


Early jukeboxes set up in amusement arcades.


Early playback device using a flat disc with lateral grooves cut on one side.

Tin Pan Alley

District in New York City where songs were written ;on order; for Broadway;shows.


Instrumental music with a steady, syncopated beat.


Early hand-cranked record player introduced by the Victor Company.


A coin-operated phonograph.


Large speaker that reproduces low sounds.


Small speakers that reproduce high sounds.


A single recorded sound source, used in multitrack recording.

stereophonic sound

Recording technique in which tracks are placed individually in the right or left speakers.

high-fidelity (hi-fi) sound

Recorded sound true to the original.


Music composed of rhymed speech over drumbeats.


The backing music for rap; also refers to the culture of rap.

compact disks (CDs)

Plastic disks with digitally encoded music read by lasers.


The name for compressed digital audio files that enable music to be downloaded from the Internet.

videotape recorder (VTS)

A device for recording sounds and images on reels of magnetic tape.


Interchangeability of hardware and software of different types.

videocassette recorder (VCR)

An improvement on the videotape recorder (VTR) that uses cassette tapes instead of reels.

time shifting

Recording of a television program for playback at some later time.


Avoiding commercials while videotaping by using the pause button.


Avoiding commercial while playing back a videotape by fast-forwarding through them.


A single-unit video camera and recording device.

Digital Video Recorders (DVRs)

Specialized computers with oversized hard disks to store programming.

independent label

Any recording industry company not owned by one of the five major labels.

artist and repertoire (A;R) executives

Specialists in the music industry who discover and develop the groups and performers.


Demonstration recordings sent in to record companies by artists’ agents, managers, or by the artists themselves.


In the music industry, the person who oversees the making of a master recording.


Those who adapt a song for specific singers and other musical elements.


A professional who specializes in writing the words of a song.

reporting stations

The radio stations whose playlists are tracked weekly to determine airplay popularity for individual songs.


A point-of-sale computer system that determines sales for best-selling records lists.