The recording industry is becoming woke in an interesting way

Language is an ever-evolving thing that responds to changes in society. Take architecture, for example. There’s a slow movement to expunge terms like “master bedroom” because of what some people see as difficult historical connotations of the word “master.” The main bedroom is now the “primary bedroom.”

The recording industry is undergoing the same thing as some are looking to replace common terms with new ones that are more…neutral. For example, the term “master recording”–the final result from which all copies are made–is on the way out because it’s seen as racist and is loaded with microaggressions.

The Professional Audio Manufacturers Association (via Josh) is also on board and is urging its members to modify its nomenclature

Use of “master” and “slave” are verboten. “Primary” and “secondary” are preferred. “Male” and “female” connectors are out. “Plugs” and “sockets” are in. No more “whitelists” and” blacklists.” Instead, it’s “inclusion” or “exclusion” lists. Even the word “dummy” is out (as in a “dummy load” on a circuit). The preferred term is now “placeholder.”

There’s more. Go here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

5 thoughts on “The recording industry is becoming woke in an interesting way

  • April 22, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    Only people who work in these industries or use these terms should even be aware or care. Asking the general population feels designed to polarize.
    I work in software and we have changed the terms we use to be more inclusive or less polarizing. I don’t care and I don’t think any of my peers do either. As you wrote, language evolves.

  • April 23, 2022 at 12:54 pm

    Extreme virtue signalling . Plan and simple.

  • April 23, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    The terms “master” and “slave” literally come from slavery. Your stubbornness is extreme.

  • April 24, 2022 at 10:10 am

    I work at a university, so working with 18-22 age student techs has me thinking about this type of thing frequently, the techie shorthand that’s developed over the years, it’s all embedded with gender and racial undertones. I think we even asked amongst ourselves once if they developed a better set of terms. Looks like they did.

  • May 19, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Uh, no. Like many words they have different meanings in different contexts. Master in this instance, just like in software often means an original…. this is from webster. Lighten up Francis, and stop insulting people you don’t know by labeling them as stubborn.

    : an original from which copies can be made
    especially : a master recording (such as a magnetic tape)


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