An A-Z Glossary of Music Marketing Terms

One of the hardest parts of learning any new skill is locking down the jargon, acronyms and short-hand language used to communicate tasks, projects and concepts. This is no different with music marketing, which seems to come with its own completely unique language. 

We’ve created this glossary so you can learn the key marketing terms, and also gain a basic understanding of how they’ll apply to creating and implementing your own marketing strategies and tactics. 


A/B Testing: Also known as ‘split-testing’ A/B testing is the method of comparing two variations or variables to see which offering performs best. It’s often done in advertising (by testing different creative) or in email marketing (with a variable subject line or copy) as well as in calls-to-action (perhaps the button colors are different) or landing pages (where content might vary or be laid out differently). 

Advertisement: Oxford Dictionary describes this noun as “the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services”. In a marketing sense an advertisement is a means of communicating with your target audience, whereby you are sharing news of the features or benefits of a product or service.

Ad Set: An ad set is the information that tells your ad how to run. This includes choosing the audience to target, how much you want to spend, your preferred schedule including start and end dates for your advertisement, and placement (where you want your ad to appear). You can have multiple ad sets in any campaign.

Analytics: Analytics is the study of the data you capture from your marketing actions in order to identify meaningful patterns, determine the ROI and/or develop actionable insights you can carry into further campaigns. As it relates to marketing some of the initiatives you might analyze include the effectiveness of your call-to-actions, website traffic, social engagement and so forth. In short: analytics helps you strategize how you can make improvements to the marketing tactics you are implementing.

Application Programming Interface (API): Want to allow two applications to connect and communicate? An API will help you to facilitate this. API’s essentially allow two applications the ability to talk to each other, and to extract or exchange information. An API “calls” from one application to another, which responds with the information requested and brings it back into the initial application where it’s digested into useable data. It’s typically facilitated by an API key, which is unique to the user account. For example the email marketing platform Mailchimp allows you to create an API key which can be coded into your Wordpress account and allows you to implement an email subscriber capture form on your website. Anyone who signs up for your email account on your website is then automatically added to your subscriber list in your Mailchimp account.

Audience: Consider your audience to be not just your existing fans but also your potential fans. Your audience is not just anyone who listens to your music but also the intended recipients who might enjoy your songwriting, production, live performances or otherwise. In a marketing sense it can be more accurately defined as the group of people you hope to motivate with a specific message and whom you want to see, engage with or take action on your campaign. 

Bottom of the Funnel: While the majority of this list will be alphabetical, we’re going to break rank with the funnel definitions and share them consecutively. The first is “bottom of the funnel”. The bottom of the funnel is where you want your audience (fans) to be. Why? Because this is where they are close to, or ready to make a purchase. Have you ever considered whether you want to attend a concert? Your problem might be “how much are tickets to this performance”, a question which will inform your decision about whether you want to hit ‘buy’. While identifying a problem is a MOFU (more on that in a moment), with knowledge gathered on your question (“tickets are $25.00 each”), then you become instilled with the confidence to make a decision about whether you’d like to move forward with a purchase. That’s a bottom of the funnel action. By the way, bottom of the funnel is also known as “BoFu”. Yes, you read that right.

Middle of the Funnel: MoFu or Middle of the Funnel refers to the stage where your audience member not only identifies their problem (“how much are tickets to this performance?”) but have actively started to research it with a goal of solving the question that they have. Eg. If I want to attend the Foo Fighters concert on December 25th in Anaheim, California but I live in Colorado then I not only need to know the ticket price, but also the potential cost of flights, accommodation, transportation and food.

Top of the Funnel: Let’s get this out of the way: ToFu. Much like our previous “funnel” descriptors, top of the funnel refers to the initial stage of the buying process, whereby it’s referencing a concept that involves pulling a targeted audience into a communications funnel that may eventually lead them towards making a purchase. Typically at this stage of the funnel you are building brand awareness so that when a person entering the funnel begins to research the particular problem they may have (eg. “Concerts near me in September”) you are able to help solve that question for them (“On September 1st, <insert your artist name> plays <insert venue”), thereby moving them towards the middle of the funnel.

Bounce:There are two primary types of bounce rates you should be aware of: website bounce rate and email bounce rate. 

Website bounce rates: This is the percentage of all sessions (people who land on your website) who only viewed a single page on your website and leave without navigating to other pages on your site. The higher your bounce rate, then often the less chance you have of other conversions (such as subscribing to your newsletter) because your audience is not staying on your website long enough to perform any other actions. 

Email bounce rate: This refers to the percentage of the recipients in your intended email (typically your subscriber list) who did not receive your email because it was not unable to be delivered to their inbox (i.e returned undelivered by the recipients mail server). While a high email bounce rate indicates that a large number of emails sent out never reached the intended recipient, not all bounce rates are bad. There are hard and soft bounces, and it’s important for you to understand the difference between each before deleting subscribers from your lists.

Buyer Persona: Much like any “character”, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. When you have a clear picture of who you’re marketing to your communication becomes more effective and targeted because your content speaks to their pain points. To create a buyer persona you use a combination of market research, real data and creative narrative.

Campaign: When you implement a specific series of marketing tactics designed to sell or promote your product, service or your brand, you are enacting a marketing campaign. For example if you are promoting a tour, you will likely implement messaging across your social platforms, your email marketing and potentially advertisements. This could be considered a tour marketing campaign.

Call-to-Action: An action you want your audience to perform after they’ve been served your marketing message. A call-to-action is usually served in the form of a text link, button, image or web link. The purpose of a CTA is to convert your audience member into some type of trackable action. This could be Subscribing to your Newsletter or Purchasing an item from your store. Your language should be action-incentivized such as ‘Hear our New Song Now’ or “Buy Merch Here” and convey messaging that is enticing and implies value by following through on the CTA.

Click-through-Rate: The percentage of your overall targeted audience who click the link in your specific marketing message and who as a result visit your desired landing page or webpage. The marketing message can be served in a myriad of ways, such as in an advertisement, an email, or an organic or boosted social post.

Conversion: When you serve a marketing message to your desired audience, and an audience member then completes a desired action, that’s a conversion. Why? Because their “action” has converted from passive to active. While typically a conversion in marketing relates to a website visitor completing a goal on your website (such as subscribing to your newsletter) there are other types of conversion such as a Purchase Conversion on your e-commerce ads. 

Conversion Path: A conversion path is a series of web-based events designed to convert an audience member into a lead, and typically consists of a CTA, landing page, content offer and thank you page. 

Content: Content is a piece of information valuable to the audience typically in the form of a blog, article, video, social media post or other media form. 

Content Marketing: Content marketing is a strategy used to attract, delight and engage your audience by serving relevant information which will attract your fans and help to develop your brand. Whereas a piece of content is singular, content marketing exists at a more strategic and deliberate level. It is one area of Digital Marketing.

Content Management System (CMS): CMS is a software application that helps users (who are typically non-technical) to createm, manage and modify website content with ease. CMS removes the need for having to code a site, or in many instances knowing how to code at all. 

Creative: In the digital marketing sense, creative is the images, videos, audio or other formats you use in your campaign to serve your messaging to your audience. For example in an email campaign that would be the header image you use to promote your product, service or news whereas in an advertisement served to users online this could be the video creative you create to promote your new song.

Custom Audience: On a number of advertising platforms you will have the ability to create a Custom Audience of fans or potential new fans who have shown an interest in you. You do this by using sources such as website traffic, engagement from your Facebook audience, your customer lists (aka your email subscribers) and so forth. You then are able to choose to target these audiences in your Ad Set and run ads promoting your music to such audiences directly.

Custom Conversions: Let’s start with Standard Conversions. These are actions that advertising platforms recognize and support as ‘standard’ for their ad products. You can track Standard Conversions by adding a Pixel Code to your website. Conversely, Custom Conversions are ‘URL-based rules’ that are not embedded into the code of your website, and these need to be set up in addition to your standard conversions in your advertising platform. For example if you want to track purchases on your store (above and beyond general visitor traffic), you would need to create a Custom Conversion to track this user action.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): As your music business grows and you need to keep track of the customers a CRM will help you to manage your relationships. At its most basic level a CRM is a centralized spot where business entities can store and track information on customers and prospects, and share this information internally with ease. However as your business grows a CRM can allow you to manage your relationships on a much broader scale. You can track email and phone calls, schedule appointments, send dedicated offers and much more, ultimately helping your business to build.

Content calendar: Also known as an Editorial calendar, a content calendar is a month-to-month schedule for your content. A content calendar typically includes any key talking points for the planned month, including any specific content you need to create, or topics you need to cover. For example in July you might be promoting your August tour, as well as being on the tail end of promoting the release of your album and merchandise line in support of your album. Ensuring these items are detailed in your content calendar will allow you to stay organized and on-track and ensure a consistency in messaging.

CPM: “Cost per Mille” (or 1,000 impressions). When your online ads are delivered one such cost of assessing your results is the CPM. The “M” stands for mille; Latin for ‘thousand’, and in online advertising impressions are measured in the thousands, referring to the amount the advertiser pays per one thousand visitors who see the advertisement. While a lower CPM is usually the most advantageous, overall it really depends on the overall goal of your advertisement. 

CPR: Cost Per Result. Your audience member clicked on your ad, visited your landing page and subscribed to your newsletter, congratulations! A CPR indicator breaks down the amount you spent per the objective you set, and it helps you to assess the cost efficiency of your advertising based on your overall outcomes.

Digital Marketing: Digital marketing is a marketing campaign that involves digital communication. More specifically it covers the marketing channels of Search Engine Optimization, Pay-per-Click, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, and Marketing Analytics. Any and all tactics you use within these channels to promote your brand and connect with potential fans is digital marketing.

Email: “messages distributed by electronic means from one computer user to one or more recipients via a network”. (Oxford languages definition)

Email Marketing: Due to email’s unique ability to deliver information right to your customers inbox, this core component of digital marketing allows you to make subscribers directly aware of your offerings, products and services. Not only is email marketing fast, and cost-effective, but you can create highly targeted and personalized messages which encourage repeat website visits from your desired audience.

Fan Journey: A fan journey is the stages which a potential fan progresses through, from potential listener to super fan. All SEO begins with the fan journey. There are five stages to the fan journey (Discovery, Exploration, Purchase, Retention and Advocacy). When a fan searches for your music, merch, or concert tickets they are at a particular stage of their journey and will have a specific problem or question in mind that needs solving. It is entirely possible for you to curate the information presented to them in response to their search query in a way which helps to move them into the next stage of their fan journey. 

Impression: We touched on CPM and how that acronym refers to the Cost per 1000 Impressions, but just what is an impression? An impression is the metric used in online advertising which refers to an “ad view” (or the number of views your ad or marketing message had). It differs from clicks because it is not how many people clicked on your ad and visited your landing page but how many individual people who were served and saw your ad.

Keyword: When you search for something on the internet you are entering a word or phrase into the search engine search bar. This is known as a keyword, and they are the topics that search engines index that help them to return relevant information to a users search term. In fact, search terms make it’s entirely possible for you to curate how your artist brand information is displayed in SERP’s (Search Engine Results Page). In terms of SEO, everything on your website and website pages can be boiled down into search terms by picking the keywords you want to optimize for. For artists this is often brand centric (eg Dillon Francis, or Dillon Francis video, or Dillon Francis touring). In the case of the keyword ‘Dillon Francis Touring’ having a dedicated tour page on his site ( is where to start. Then he would ensure that all images, video, copy on that page are optimized for the keyword and that his Meta Title and Meta Description further supports this phrase. 

Keyword research: This is the process of researching and analyzing the search terms, words or phrases which will be most relevant to your artist brand. Luckily for most artists they are reasonably standard (artist name, artist name + tour, artist name + song, artist name + album etc), however for artists who might also say, perform locally at corporate gigs or weddings, then they’ll need to research more heavily what the localized search terms are for say “wedding bands near me” or “80’s rock bands weddings”. With keyword research you can strategically include the relevant keywords in your content. With your keywords included in your content you will ideally appear higher in the SERP delivered to a user in response to their search term.

Landing Page: Any page on your website which contains a form used for lead generation (i.e designed to convert a visitor into a lead) is a landing page.

Look-alike Audience: Also known as ‘Similar Audiences’. These are audiences created from your Custom Audiences with the specific intent of finding people to add to the Lookalike Audience who either have similar demographics and interests to those in your Custom Audience, or who have previously displayed similar intent (such as a history of adding to cart in e-commerce stores for artists like you). Lookalike Audiences are a great tool for helping you to find potential new fans.

Marketing Strategy: A marketing strategy is your game plan for how you’ll reach your target audience (prospective fans) and turn them into prospective fans or super fans who purchase your products and services. It’s the tactics, timings, goals and content or assets you’ll use to communicate a singular or repetitive message to your audience in a way which converts a particular outcome or action.

Marketing Analytics: With your strategy enacted you need to be able to assess how effective it was, whether your goals were reached, or if you potentially need to pivot or make immediate improvements. This action is called determining your ROI (Return on Investment), and marketing analytics is the process you use to manage or study your marketing data to determine your overall ROI.

Mobile Marketing: Any marketing message you serve using a strategy aimed at reaching your audience on their smartphone, tablet and/or other mobile device is considered mobile marketing.

Open Rate: This refers to the percentage of subscribers who open a delivered message such as an SMS text or an email.

Page View: When a page is loaded in a browser it is logged as a ‘pageview hit’ which is a request to load a single web page in a browser. This metric is useful for marketers because it allows them to observe any changes in page views of content on their site.

Pay-per-Click (PPC): PPC is a model of advertising whereby an advertiser (e.g. Artist) pays the publisher (e.g. Google) a certain amount of money every time an ad is clicked on. The amount of money you pay is determined by whether you chose a flat rate or a bid-based rate when you set up your ad.

QR Code: Oxford Languages defines a QR code as “a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone”. 

ROI (Return on Investment): This performance measure is relative to the cost of your campaign cost and is used to evaluate how much the campaign itself contributed to profitability of the overall investment. In short: is what we spent worth what we’re seeing in return? Keep in mind that this value is relative. Not every campaign will make you back what you spent, however it could still be classified as a good investment if other key goals were achieved.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is a component of digital marketing strategy and is defined by Google as “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” By understanding how SEO works you can then implement various SEO specific tactics (such as on-page SEO, off-page SEO, local SEO, or technical SEO etc) to help ensure that your site appears high on SERP results.

SEO - On-Page SEO: On each page of your website you have the ability to control elements (or code) on the page itself. This includes not only the content, headlines and headers, but optimizing the images (size, compression, titles) but also any title tags, meta descriptions or structured data on the page.

SEO - Off-Page SEO: Also referred to as “off-site SEO”. Much like the name implies, off-page SEO refers to the activities that happen off your website. Examples of off-page SEO include any backlinks to your website, traffic from your social media posts to your site, and so forth. The Google algorithm tracks activity to and from websites within its ecosystem, and all of these activities help to raise your site rankings.

SEO - Local SEO: Want to be more visible in Google’s local search results? It’s possible to improve the organic traffic to your website by following a number of the local SEO best practices. Local SEO is especially important for artists looking to gain support for their ‘business activities’ in their local area, such as say if you are a band regularly booked for weddings or corporate functions.

SEO - Technical SEO: Not only does Google and other search engines want to see key marker points hit in regards to on-page, off-page and local-SEO but it’s also equally important that your site loads fast, is easy to crawl and amongst other items is mobile compatible. This process of fixing any on-site issues and thereby optimizing your site for search crawlers is very much the intersection of web development and marketing.

Segment: When you classify a part of your audience by similar characteristics (such as age or gender for example) then you are creating a segment. Segments can be helpful in assessing what types of audience members took a particular action in relation to a marketing message. For example 20% of 18-24 year olds watched your video versus only 8% of 36-45 year olds.

Social Media Marketing (“SMM”): As we already know, your social media platforms provide you with a way to engage with existing fans, and to reach potential new fans. More succinctly; Social Media Marketing refers to utilizing your social media accounts to market your artist brand, your products and your services. When you share a post on your Facebook account for example, that post is a part of your social media marketing strategy.

Targeting: Also known as a target market, targeting is the act of directing your marketing efforts for your products and services towards a specific segment of your audience. 

XML Sitemap: This important part of technical SEO allows search engines to better understand the structure of your website by creating an XML file which lists all of your websites important pages, thereby ensuring that Google knows how to find and crawl each of them.

Author Bio: Dayna Young has 15+ years of global experience in music, entertainment, and leading creative teams to success. She is the Founder of Fred & Augustus,  and an expert in music marketing and digital artist development. Ultimately, what gets her up in the morning is the knowledge that she’s creating opportunities for artists.

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