Terms like “music analytics” indicate a mythical place where fun and creativity go to die. But does everything have to be so data-focused these days?
If that’s what you’re thinking, we get the mindset. But the big data music industry isn’t quite as dry as it sounds. In fact, it’s opened the door to some pretty exquisite developments.
In the following article, we’ll touch upon the analytics trend as it relates to our industry. We’ll also discuss the three ways that predictive analytics will change the music industry in 2019.
How Analytics Work in the Music Industry
What do we mean when we talk about analytics and how they gauge music as a product? Three things:
- Direct signals: you start a band, build a following on Facebook, TikTok or Instagram, and then watch as shares, comments, and reactions raise (or lower) your visibility.
- Indirect signals: others share your music on their page, people share their shares, then others share their shares, and so on. This can happen on social networks, video/audio sharing sites, torrents, and outright piracy.
- Future projections: as data grows, it begins to tell a story about what works and what doesn’t. To have an accurate picture of what that will mean, you’ll need to study both direct and indirect signals.
Now that we know how music analytics operate, here’s what they will mean to the immediate future of our industry.
1. Artists Will Have a More Active Role in Marketing Themselves
Artists were once at the mercy of record labels. Labels would hear demos or send out talent scouts and, if the stars aligned, sign a band or musician based on limited data and instinct.
Today, the artist has more power. They can find followers, build buzz, make direct sales, and grow their influence — all before landing on a label’s radar.
This reality will only grow in the year ahead. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be cross-platform. You need a presence everywhere your audience might be, and not every listener on YouTube will be on Vimeo (and vice versa).
2. Labels Depend on Data Before Throwing Money at an Act
Music data analytics now start from the ground up. That’s how major acts like Justin Bieber were discovered by the mainstream, and it will continue to be that way moving forward. In fact, Apple recently acquired data analytics firm Asaii, in part to ‘discover the next Justin Bieber’.
That’s why it’s more important than ever for labels to invest in music big data innovation. That includes companies that track and control signals across every conceivable platform. In doing so, they can get a bigger picture of who’s about to break out and who isn’t.
3. Music Will Be More Democratized
Perhaps the best gift music industry data or music industry analytics will give us is the full democratization of music. What does that mean?
It means that we get more than two simple genres of music (usually rock and country) created for the most common denominator of music fans. We’re now enjoying the rise of the subgenre, and that means more eclectic music that crosses boundaries and appeals to a more diverse niche of people.
Musicians benefit as well because they can be truer to their creative selves. And they can do it without sacrificing the ability to earn a living.
Music Analytics Are Creating a Brave New World
Labels already depend on music analytics to help them find the next big thing. But creative types need to learn to love them as well, so they can get to know their audiences better.