Un-Mumble Your Lyrics: The Importance of the Performance Track

Un-Mumble Your Lyrics: The Importance of the Performance Track

Music is a universal language that speaks to our souls and transcends boundaries. For independent and DIY musicians, delivering an awe-inspiring performance is the ultimate goal for connecting with an audience. In the quest for perfection, the performance track has become necessary for any artist to perform live. Whether you’re a solo artist or part of a band, utilizing performance tracks can elevate your musical journey as a live performer. 

What is a performance track, and how does it elevate my performance? 

A performance track (a backing or accompaniment track) is typically a pre-recorded audio track that musicians use during live performances or studio recordings. It serves as a supporting element to enhance the overall sound and musicality of the performance. The performance mix may remove the lead vocals but include backup vocals and ad-libs or customized to the performer’s needs. In this article, we touch on performance tracks as accompaniment tracks for live performances, how to get them, and why they elevate your performance as an artist. 

Live performances are the lifeblood of musicians, allowing them to connect directly with their audience. Performance tracks play a pivotal role in delivering captivating live shows. With performance tracks, musicians can achieve a polished sound, transforming even the smallest venues into grand stages. These tracks enable performers to fill the sonic space, captivating audiences with an immersive musical experience. 

When it comes to recorded music, quality is paramount. Performance tracks ensure a consistently high standard of sound quality. Musicians can rely on the expertise of seasoned sound engineers, producers, and session musicians who contribute to these tracks. By utilizing professionally recorded and mixed tracks, artists elevate their performances to a new level, capturing the nuances and intricacies that may not be possible in a live setting alone. This emphasis on quality enables musicians to deliver exceptional experiences to their listeners, showcasing their talent and dedication.

Why do I need performance versions of my music?

All too often, in all types of venues ranging from small rooms to large outdoor theaters, we experience artists singing or rapping on top of the full version of their songs. Artists may not realize that doing so makes it incredibly difficult for the audience to hear and understand the lyrics. Additionally, few venues have skilled audio engineers on standby to delicately level out the track and microphone volume, resulting in lackluster output and poor audience experience. Using a performance version of the song or songs for the instrumentals or accompaniment without the main vocals leaves room for the artist to perform, be creative in their stage presence, and provide an elevated listener experience because you’ve cut out a lot of distraction. Your audience will actually be able to hear what you are saying!

How do I get a performance track?

While working with your recording studio and audio engineer, you should have an open discussion about the alternative versions of your song that you would like as part of the project. The original mix and master are typically the main version, however, consider asking for and keeping alternative versions of every professionally recorded project. Alternative versions may include the instrumental version with no vocals, background vocals, or ad-libs. Other versions could be a radio edit, a tv mix, an extended mix, a capella version, and the performance mix.1

By communicating preferences and requesting these versions from your studio, musicians can walk away with numerous tracks tailored to their needs. It is as easy as asking! If you’ve never set foot in a recording studio, no worries! We have you covered! Check out our interview with Stewart Tuttle of The Altar Studios in Los Angeles.


Performance tracks are a critical component for live performances for musicians, offering enhanced musicality, flexibility, and professionalism. They are easily accessible and can be created even in DIY studio scenarios. When performing, artists who use the performance mix of their songs immediately stand out as professionals. The performance track contributes to a polished sound allowing for creative performances and an elevated experience for artists and audiences. If you want anyone to be able to understand you performing live, whether in a dive bar or at Coachella, make sure you are prepared and have those alternate versions, specifically the performance mix.


  1. “Creating Alternative Versions to Your Songs Explained!” SoundOracle Sound Kits, soundoracle.net/blogs/soundoracle-net-blog/creating-alternative-versions-to-your-songs-explained. Accessed 17 May 2023.

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