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Cool & contemporary vocab: music

The music industry has changed a lot. Years ago, people listened to the radio to hear new songs, then went to music shops to buy records, tapes and later, CDs. Now, technology and the internet has revolutionised how music is recorded, shared and sold. The iPod let people listen to mp3 files wherever they wanted and iTunes helped them find and buy whatever they wanted.


Here you will find some useful words and phrases for talking about your personal music habits in Part 1 of the speaking test and the music industry in general in Part 3.

Don’t try to memorise them all. First, look through the list and highlight any expressions which are new to you. Next, have a look at the definitions to make sure you understand what they mean and finally read the examples and think how you could use them in your own sentence. You can also look the words up here for more examples.



meaning - to have a song at the top of the music charts

example - The new song by Metallica has topped the rock charts.


meaning - an enthusiastic fan of a celebrity, usually a pop star or group.

example - I have to confess, I was a Take That groupie in my younger days and went to loads of their concerts.


meaning - to return to the original musical influences

example - The band has gone back to their roots after producing pop music for 5 years. Now they’re writing folk songs again.


meaning - to be available to buy

example - The group’s new album is out now and you can buy it online.


meaning - when you think a song or album is good so you recommend it to others

example - I’m not a big fan of Coldplay but their new album is definitely worth a listen.


meaning - to receive something on a regular basis by paying in advance

example - I subscribe to Spotify to get all of my music online these days.


meaning - a collection of songs that are grouped together to be played on the radio or downloaded on a personal device

example - I have a playlist of my favourite dance tracks for when I go running.


meaning - the music is only available in one place

example - Tidal has some exclusive content that you can’t hear anywhere else.


meaning - an intellectual album featuring songs with deep meanings

example - Drake has a new high-concept album out and it’s really original.


Phrasal verbs


meaning - to succeed at something you expected or were expected to fail at

example - no-one believed they could better their last album but they appear to have pulled it off by topping the charts again.


meaning - to register for something like a service

example - I signed up for a 1-year subscription to Deezer.


meaning - to buy something very quickly

example - Fans snapped up all the concert tickets within minutes of them going on sale.


meaning - to break up with or separate from someone or a group of people

example - One Direction is having a break from music, but some say they have split up forever.


meaning - when a band or group reforms after a period of separation

example - Guns n’ Roses have reportedly got back together and are planning a new tour.

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Marta, Portugal

Marta, Portugal

The ipass ielts course was very useful and really helped me to revise for the IELTS exam, as it provides exercises similar to those I found in the real exam. I reckon it also has many tips that helped me succeed in this test.

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