Why Musicians Need to Make Sense of Data
Written by: Janet Smith
Data is produced with every action people do on the internet, from subscribing to blogs to sharing social media posts. In fact, the International Data Corporation’s study found that there will be more than 175 zettabytes of data produced by 2025. This shows how vital data now is in our world. And while the common perception is that it is only those who have a career in business administration, such as human resource managers or business analysts, that use data heavily, many creative industries are starting to embrace data now. Using data from different sources, today’s music industry analysts are able to predict the online business and communication trends that are shaping contemporary music creation, production, and distribution. While you wouldn’t think of associating hard data science into the almost spiritual flow of a guitar pick against strings, the truth is that data is a big part of a successful career in the music industry. And here’s why:
Creates convincing pitches
It’s no secret that musicians do a lot of pitching—whether that’s the gig slot in your local bar or a collaboration with another artist. Some radio stations might even have openings for new music, which you can take advantage of. Having the data to back up your pitches can help you create more convincing arguments. For instance, you can say “n number of people listen to our music in your area, so I think this would be a good opportunity for the both of us…” to snag those openings or even “x% of my listeners also listen to yours…” when suggesting collaborations with other musicians.
Promotes music more effectively
Big streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify gather many listeners’ data, from where they live to their preference in music. This is why they’re able to recommend playlists and artists. If you’ve uploaded tracks and albums to the platform, then you, too, have access to this information. This data can let you know how you should market your songs, who you can collaborate with, and the best locations for a tour.
Spotify even has a “source of streams” chart that tells you where listeners stream your music (like Discover Weekly or search bars). This lets you know where the best places are to promote your music on.
To learn more about Spotify and its algorithms, check out our interview with indie music artist D.O.P.E!
Create better music
By knowing more about your audience’s tastes, you have more insight into what they like about your music. For example, when you drop a new album, pay attention to what people say about it online (both the good and bad). Which songs do they stream more often? Which ones are getting the least numbers? Plus, knowing your audience’s preferences also informs you what themes you can explore, what mixes they enjoy more, and others. You can use that data to improve your next release.
While your music’s quality is important to succeed in the field, data ensures that you’re well aware of the opportunities available. And with so much of it available, you’d be a fool not to take advantage of them.
Here at De Novo Agency, we help musicians like to harness data to carve out a successful career in the industry. Check out this page to learn more about our services.