Sound Ideas Audio Industry Definitions

Who is Sound Ideas?
Founded in 1978 and now located just outside of Toronto, Canada, Sound Ideas is the world's largest publisher of sound effects for the professional broadcast, post-production and motion picture industries. We also publish The Mix Broadcast Music Library, and offer a growing number of products for use in multimedia, game and Web design. Our sound effects and music libraries are used all over the world. Sound Ideas is the exclusive worldwide distributor for a number of custom-created feature film studio sound effect libraries, including: 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm, Turner Entertainment, Disney Ideas, Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., The Saul Zaentz Film Center (creators of "Amadeus"), and Jay Ward Productions - the creators of Rocky & Bullwinkle. For more information about Sound Ideas, please see the About Sound Ideas page.

What is a Sound Effect?
At Sound Ideas, we record, design and publish thousands of different single isolated sounds, special effects and background ambiences. For more information see the What Are Sound Effects page.

What is Holophonic Sound?
Holophonic Sound is an extremely realistic type of sound recording invented by Hugo Zuccarelli. For more information, please see "What is Holophonic Sound?" on this Web site. Sound Ideas also distributes the Dimension Sound Effects Library, the world's first and only holophonic sound effects collection.

What is Metadata?
Metadata is "information about information" and it is one of the really useful features of digital audio files. Find out more about metadata at our What is Metadata? page.

What are Production Elements?
Production Elements - also called Imaging Elements - are audio clips used to sweeten a recorded production, usually for radio broadcast intros, promos, transitions and attention grabbers. For more information, please see our What are Production Elements? page.

What are Musical Elements?
Musical Elements are production elements that include a short musical melody, a brief musical chord sequence (also known as a "riff" or a "lick"), or the sound of a recognizable musical instrument being played without accompaniment. For more information, please see our What are Musical Elements? page.

What is Production Music?
Production Music is music that has been written especially for use in audio and audio visual productions. For more information, please see our What is Production Music? page.

What is Stock Music?
Stock Music is a less expensive alternative to the use of popular or well known music in a production, since it is not necessary to obtain specific permission or pay additional clearance fees for the use of a song that has instant recognition. For more information, please see our What is Stock Music? page.

What is Royalty Free Music?
Royalty Free Music - also called Buyout Music - is a specific kind of stock or production music, produced for unlimited use in an unspecified number of applications and productions. For more information, please see our What is Royalty Free Music? page.

What is Copyright?
A simple definition of Copyright is the "right to copy, publish or perform". It is a way of expressing the legal exclusive right of ownership. Sound Ideas is the registered copyright owner of its sound effects and music products.

Does Sound Ideas Fight Piracy & Copyright Infringement?
Yes. For more information, please see our Fight Piracy & Copyright Infringement page.

What is Synchronization?
Synchronization is the term that describes the way in which Sound Ideas sound effects can be used in productions that you create. A sound can be synchronized with a visual presentation (the sound of a creaky door timed perfectly to be heard when a door opens), or with other audio material such as a voice over - as in the case of a radio commercial. A sound can be synchronized for use in many media: television, radio, film, multimedia and audio-visual presentations, Web sites, computer games and music. Sound Ideas' royalty free products are sold with their synchronization rights as described in the Sound Ideas End User License Agreement. Hanna-Barbera and Turner royalty free products are sold with their synchronization rights as described in the Hanna-Barbera & Turner Sound Effects End User License Agreement pdf.

The rights to re-sell, re-publish or otherwise distribute Sound Ideas' sound effects and music are not included with your acquisition of synchronization rights to our products. When you use our sound effects and music, they must be synchronized within a multimedia presentation, film, Web site, game, audio-visual production or broadcast.

What are Synchronization Rights?
With a synchronization license, you gain permission to reproduce a musical composition within an audio-visual media form (like films, TV programs, commercial announcements, music videos, multimedia or other visual presentations). The music is generally synchronized and/or recorded in timed relation with the visual images, graphic design or voiceover.

What does Royalty Free mean?
Sound Ideas' sound effects are sold as royalty free (or buyout) products and their use is governed by the Sound Ideas End User License Agreement. Use of Hanna-Barbera and Turner sound effects products is governed by the Hanna-Barbera & Turner Sound Effects End User License Agreement. When you buy a Sound Ideas, Hanna-Barbera or Turner library, you buy the rights to synchronize the sounds with your productions. While you own the physical CDs that make up the library and you are allowed to synchronize them for use in your productions - the sounds and their copyright will always belong to either Sound Ideas or the copyright holder of the product.

What is the difference between Royalty Free and Leased music?
All of the royalty free music represented by Sound Ideas (The Mix Libraries, The Mix Signature Collection, etc.) is copyrighted, owned or licensed for distribution by Sound Ideas. These products and other leased music products can both be called "Stock Music" - which is defined as a variety of pre-recorded music, generally available at a much lower cost than original music or licensed commercial recordings of popular songs.

With royalty free music, you may purchase the CDs for a one-time fee. The purchase includes the Sound Ideas End User License Agreement (your synchronization license) for the unlimited use of the music in your productions, for life. This kind of music is often referred to as buyout music. Leased music is generally provided on an annual subscription basis, and your license for its use must be renewed on a regular basis, depending upon the length of the license term in your license agreement.

What does Public Domain mean?
From the time a piece of music is created, it is protected by Copyright. The international laws governing copyright are the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention. Under the Berne Convention, copyright extends for the life of the composer plus a minimum of 50 years following his or her death.

Most of the world's industrial countries have signed the Berne Convention and comply with it - although all countries have their own copyright laws which may extend the copyright period for an additional number of years. Many countries have extended this copyright term to a period of 70 years following the death of the composer. Once a piece of music has existed beyond the copyright protection of a country, that piece of music is considered to be in the Public Domain in that country. If you are intending to use a piece of music that is in the Public Domain, make sure that you check the Copyright Laws in all countries where the production will be used to make sure that your use conforms to the laws of those countries.

What are Performing Rights?
The composer and publisher of a piece of music generally reserve the right to receive compensation any time their music is performed in public, hence the term Performing Rights. Around the world, performance rights societies (like ASCAP and BMI in the United States or SOCAN in Canada, PRS in Britain), collect public performance revenue from radio and TV stations and networks, movie theatres and other sources. This public performance revenue is divided among the composers and publishers based on "reported use", which is usually submitted via a Cue Sheet which lists all of the music used in a production. The Cue Sheet is generally sent both to the local Performing Rights Society and to the music publisher.

What is a Sampled Sound?
A sampler device permits the recording (sampling) and replay (playback) of audio in a digital format - so a sampled sound is one that has been digitized and stored in the RAM memory of a sampler. The sampler allows the digitized audio file to be amplified and manipulated in different ways, for example: playback of the sampled sound at a different speed will alter its pitch. Samplers vary in their purpose and capabilities - some of them can be used to record and edit the different notes of almost any instrument - a piano, a flute, drums, or whatever you need to simulate the sound of a full orchestra or band. Use of a MIDI keyboard with a sampler allows you to "play" a full range of notes for the instrument(s) of your choice. Some samplers are also designed to offer sound effects and accents as well as music and percussion sounds, and many samplers have the ability to "loop" an audio file, which means that you can extend the playback time of the note just by holding down the key longer. Features like these make samplers and sampled sound very versatile for the production of customized audio.

What is meant by CD Audio or Red Book Audio format?
Red Book Audio refers to the technical standards that have been set by the audio industry for the physical production of CDs, such as the overall dimension of the CD, the size of the CD hole and how the audio is burned on to the CD. This CD Audio format is not the same as the format of wav or MP3 files. CD Audio is designed for listening on a CD Player. If you have a multimedia program installed on your computer that will play standard audio CDs, you will be able to use your CD ROM drive to play back and listen to the sound effects or music on the CD. Unless otherwise stated, Sound Ideas' products are produced in the Red Book CD Audio format.

What is Foley?
Foley recording is a specialty technique, designed to produce simulated everyday and extreme sounds for synchronization and audio sound replacement usage in motion pictures. Without the magic of Foley, you would never hear someone's footsteps in a film - these and many other sounds must be dubbed in again on the film's soundtrack in order to be heard by the audience. For more information about this fascinating art form, be sure to check out What is Foley? by Skevos Mavros, a brief but comprehensive description and discussion of Foley's purpose and features, and of what makes Foley artistry special.

What is an Adobe PDF file - how do I get the software required to view a PDF file on your site?
A PDF file (PDF stands for "portable document format") is one created by Adobe's Acrobat software. It displays text in a reader-friendly format - as if it had been created by a word processor or desktop publisher. It can be downloaded readily for screen display or printing by your Web browser and read by any computer that has the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed - it doesn't matter if your computer is a PC or a Mac. And yes ... the Adobe Acrobat Reader software is free - download it from