Analytics is playing an increasingly important role in the future of the music industry. A growing number of music companies are discovering new applications for analytics tools, which can streamline many important aspects of their industry.
However, it is still a little unpredictable exactly what changes analytics will bring to the music industry. Companies are going to have to brainstorm new opportunities and solutions in the coming months.
The Past, Present and Future of Analytics in the Music Industry
Technology and the internet has done so many ugly, so many good and so many not-so-good things to the world, including how we consume and sell music. On the not-so-good stuff list includes piracy, less revenue for digital albums, and the steep competition for attention as more and more artists try to make a name for themselves.
And then there are things that are either good or bad, depending on how it affects you. One example is data. The internet has made it sooo easy for all of us to get information. We can now get access to tons and tons of data to study on which could improve profit for some of us who know how to maximize data.
Overall, most experts like Allyson McCabe will tell you that big data has been mostly positive for the music industry. We will have to pay closer attention to the nuances to see how it may play out, though.
We’re talking about all kinds of data here, folks.
Data provided by the music industry includes things like music streams, digital album sales, music video streams from YouTube, concert sales…these can all be gathered online.
Data you can view from your analytics includes things like who views your website, your social media, who adds to cart your stuff and who abandons them.
Data like who these people are and what makes them happy and what makes them buy something.
These data metrics can then be interpreted by music professionals and even by you. These data and statistics are all generated because of consumers and it is then utilized to form patterns and see trends. Big record companies will then study these data more and make smart choices and recommendations based on them. There are reports and summaries by music industry professionals so it’s definitely a must to at least know the latest numbers if you’re serious about your music career.
It’s so easy for us to get information these days and I daresay we all SHOULD make use of data. Otherwise, you might be missing out on great opportunities for promoting and marketing your music. Look, the big companies pay thousands of dollars to buy data. Do not be so left behind by not knowing information that’s free. It would be such a waste and even dangerous if we won’t.
Now what are you going to do with all this information that you have?
If you’re a well-researched musician who makes good use of data and tech, you’re way ahead of the band who just experiments blindly. Information is power. Not researching is a crime these days.
After you know the latest numbers and trends, incorporate them to your music marketing. Depending on how badly a musician wants to profit and gain success, this is where decisions for every little detail of an album or single release should stem from– from what song should be released, the tour schedule, to the time albums will be released (which season, month and day).
Another thing that the big data analytics in the music industry pay attention to is the physical sales of the album. With these data of physical sales, artists or record labels can infer from what audio format their revenues come from.
For example, you hear your bandmate exclaim with passion “This 2021, let’s press some records because CD is out, vinyl is in!”
You don’t blindly go ahead and have 500 vinyl records pressed, complete with a badass jacket and catalog numbers on custom vinyl records…the whole nine yards! That’s kind of careless to do.
The first thing you do when your bandmate says this is “show me proof.” This is where analytics and statistics are useful. A quick search on RIAA shows that vinyl sales are continually rising.
The RIAA has released its annual year-end revenue report which shows that in 2020, vinyl sales surpassed CD sales for the first time in 35 years. There were about 12 million vinyl records sold. This was part of more than 16 million pieces of physical music sold worldwide. Physical music witnessed a 40% increase in sales over 2019.
So yes, you’ll make less CDs because the trend clearly shows that CDs are dying.
And what about cassette tapes? Streaming? Download cards?
You can use the help of data analytics in making smart choices. This way, you can focus on one format which makes more revenue and, maybe, dispatch the other audio formats but in fewer quantities. But don’t just rely on industry reports and analytics. You can just check your own. For example, your album in LP format was received better compared to the album’s CD format. On the next album release, you can decide on just having custom vinyl record pressings (and a lot of download cards) instead of spending money on 1000s of CDs.
Through data analytics, you can also learn how to best catch your fans attention. What other bands do they listen to? Where do they hang out– Tiktok or Facebook? What time do they usually go online? And a hundred other things!
You can easily access information these days and as an indie musician who prefers to go the DIY route, you have to do your homework before even calling your CD manufacturer or custom vinyl record pressing company. Read up, analyze your data, check what other bands are doing, check who your fans really are and how you can entice them to buy your album. Go ahead. Don’t be lazy. It’s the only way things are done these days.
What music analytics tool do you use and in what ways do you find them useful?