The Research Trifecta: Echo Nest + Yahoo + Island Def Jam

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The music marketing ecosystem is stuffed with outlets, but what produces the biggest payoff?

Does a rave review in Pitchfork ultimately produce sales?  Is Twitter a path towards selling stuff?

Those are the types of questions now being addressed by a new research consortium that involves the Echo Nest, Yahoo Research, and UMG unit Island Def Jam.  The alliance was first disclosed by Echo Nest cofounder and CTO Brian Whitman at Digital Music Forum in New York on Wednesday.  As part of a broader research-related presentation, Whitman pointed to a goal of “discovering correlations between internet music activity and market reaction,” with a predictive model as the goal.

So what is a predictive model exactly?  Whitman and team are plugging in endless data points to determine correlations to ultimate sales, and tying IDJ’s catalog into the experiment.  The label partnership delivers actual sales information, and lessens the guesswork.

The broad range of data being observed includes play counts, friend and fan counts, blog mentions, reviews, and P2P activity, among other metrics.  Outside of that first tier, the group will also consider aspects like listener demographics and audio elements.  “Combining anonymously observable metrics with internal sales and trend data will give keen insight into the true effects of the internet music world,” Whitman noted.

Report by publisher Paul Resnikoff in New York.