IMAGE : COURTESY OF CHARTMETRIC
PART OF BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE ’ S CHARTMETRIC DASHBOARD
In terms of music analytics ’ current shortcomings , there is one metric that Culbertson wishes for that isn ’ t currently available — what he terms “ lean-forward listening charts .”
“ Imagine all-genre and by-genre charts at the national and [ regional ] level that omit programmed listening ,” he says , meaning : “ Remove any plays that come from editorial / programmed playlists and algorithmic features , and simply base the chart on listening that comes from personal libraries , artist pages , album / single product pages , and search . It would democratize hits , make songs less dependent on editorial favourability / placements , and let genuine consumption lead the charts .” at it — but 100 % that ’ s in our goals and what we ’ re trying to do .”
McGlaughlin emphasizes that when it comes to analytics , that data collection and standardization phase is the hard and time-consuming part . The action items — licensing businesses , signing up new members , and providing insights to members based on what the data says – are just the tip of the iceberg .
“ The challenges that we ’ re dealing with on an everyday level is the scale of the data that ’ s coming in , and how do we efficiently collect the data from as many different sources as we possibly can ? Then once the data is collected , how do we model that data to support our analytics ?” he says . “ It all comes back to what is the question that we ’ re asking of ourselves on the analytics front ? We ’ re always focusing on that question , right ? It ’ s great to collect data and to model the data , but if you ’ re asking the wrong questions , it ’ s not going to provide the right value . So , the biggest thing that we focus on is standardizing how we ’ re collecting data and making sure that all of our analysts have access to the data to be able to do the work that they need to do to provide that insight . Because you could ask me a question and if we haven ’ t effectively captured the data and stored it and provided it , then the analysts can ’ t give you the answer . And so , we want to be able to look proactively and have access to that data and get ahead of what those questions are .”
In terms of using its analytics to help songwriting , composers , and publishers , SOCAN ’ s mission is to do something akin to what Chartmetric does for labels and
others — aggregate and analyse data from many sources to provide a clear overall picture of their own career .
“ That could be an analytics product that says , ‘ You ’ re doing really well on a certain DSP in this region or territory ,’ and how can we provide that information to them so that they can say , ‘ Okay , well next time I ’ m going on tour , I can book a show and try and focus there because I ’ m doing extremely well .’ So , giving them as much insights into where the royalties are coming from as possible to help them with those decisions . That ’ s the vision and where we are pushing towards getting to ,” Mc- Glaughlin says .
Speaking of the live music side of things , analytics is being used to inform decisions by artists and agents , such as McGlaughlin ’ s example of where an artist should tour based on where people are listening , but there is still room for growth in that sector .
“ I need to put this diplomatically … and this is coming from different folks , but the amount of money that ’ s being exchanged in a lot of these [ festival and concert ] deals , and the relative lack of data informing a lot of those agreements , is something where I think we can really serve well , on both sides ,” says Joven at Chartmetric . “ It could be a festival trying to book a slot a year from now on one of their second stages , and they ’ re trying to predict what ’ s going to be really big in whatever city for the best rate . And for all those artists who are vying for that spot , how can they convince that promoter that they deserve to be in that slot , versus whatever competing artists have a similar sound and a similar fan base in that particular locale ?”
Overall , though , the answers are out there to be found in the data . Collecting that data , knowing what questions should be , and analysing the data to better and more accurately inform decisions remains a never-ending a mission for folks in many facets of the industry .
“ I don ’ t think in the history of the music industry have artists been able to have access to the data that big companies have had access to . So , I think it can be very revolutionary , but I think that the hurdle is to show artists the value of that data , and to help them understand how to use it , how to get the most out of it , and how to make it actionable ,” says Charmetric ’ s Rosenborg in closing . “ The more transparency and ability there is for artists to have the same tools that big companies have , I think the better it ’ ll be for everyone . Not everyone might think that , but it ’ s just my own personal opinion . But yeah , the more we can put tools in the hands of artists to actually be able to understand who their audience is – know where to target , know that they ’ re getting a radio play in some country overseas that they had no clue about , or know that they ’ re being streamed a lot in some other country that they never would have thought about – I think those things are very important for artists to be able to understand .”
Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Musician .
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