Difference Between Soundtrack and Cast Recording

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    Soundtrack vs Cast Recording

    Soundtracks and cast recordings can be considered as related concepts, but there are differences between them. Cast recording, as its name implies, are recordings made by a cast usually comprising songs in a musical performance. Cast recordings are derived from live performances usually in the form of musical theatre.

    The purpose of a cast recording is to record all the songs in a particular performance and serve as a souvenir for avid fans and followers of a live performance. The recordings are made in a recording studio for greater clarity and quality of sound. Since the sound is produced in a controlled environment, the audio is bereft of natural background noises such as the audience’s reaction to the performance. Also, the recording has a finer sound quality and a “cleaner” treatment. Despite being made in a studio, the song lyrics and orchestrations are very similar to the live performance.

    Cast recordings are also labeled depending on who performed. The term “original cast recording” pertains to the original cast of the musical which did the recording while the recording could also be ascribed to a particular place or venue where the play was performed. If the recording was done on Broadway, the album will be labeled as “Broadway cast recording.” The same holds true for other stage performances and venues all over the world.

    On the other hand, soundtracks are pre-recorded audio tracks that are used in different productions not only in musical theatre. A soundtrack is a combination of two words “sound” and “track” that pertains to an audio recording made for the production or post-production stage of a performance. A soundtrack is usually the music track of a performance. The music track is usually the orchestral score made as the background or ambiance music for a particular scene.

    Soundtracks are utilized in many forms and have four types:

    Musical film soundtracks where there is a concentration on the songs.
    Non-musical films; soundtracks consists of film scores which are often used as ambiance or background music.
    Also in non-musical films, full or partial songs in the background.
    In different media such as video games, TV series, and Japanese animation the soundtrack is comprised of background music, songs, and character themes as well as the sound effects that were used in the production.

    Like the cast recording, soundtracks are recorded in a studio. However, soundtracks usually comprise different agents. Instead of the cast, the sound can be produced by an orchestra, recording artists, Foley sounds, or a computer-generated sound that is specifically made for a certain type of production. Also, the soundtrack isn’t derived from any live performance but serves to enhance the scene or the performance itself.


    1.The cast recording is a recording made by the original cast of a musical performance while the soundtrack is a mixture of components depending on what type of performance or use it is intended for. It can be for a movie, a video game, animation, or TV series.
    2.The cast recording is solely used as a commemoration of a musical play’s live performance while a soundtrack can be used, aside from musical plays, with a lot of media forms.
    3.Cast recordings are made up of songs that naturally include a particular piece while soundtracks are often created to enhance the piece it is intended for. Soundtracks also contain more than songs. They usually feature orchestral scores that function as ambiance music, sound effects, character songs, and remixed songs (in animation).
    4.The cast recordings usually have different labels depending on the cast who made the recording. The label can specify “original cast recording” if the original cast did the recording or a particular venue’s name like “Broadway, London,” etc. For soundtracks, there are no particular labels unless another soundtrack for the same material was released.

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