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Music is a Data Business (and always has been)
Music Industry Essentials
September 13, 2021

Music is a Data Business (and always has been)

At the end of the day, data is a fancy word for information and the context in which we use it for music and marketing alike is that of an audience. Even the metadata which is entered when music is posted to all of the various online channels is extremely important. 

Let’s think about that first point for a second.

Data is really just information regarding the audience’s reaction to our material. The metadata we put out helps determine who the music reaches.  

So, how we receive that information has certainly changed. Even since the days of Cobain, Jagger, Davis or Mozart – the fundamental information itself remains the same. Music charts and insights have always allowed musicians and people in the industry to make informed decisions - provided they had access to it.  

But check out what happens during a performance:

If people were to start walking out of a show, most players would see this and perhaps put some extra thought into their next tune. To be more positive, any musician who has felt the rush of a crowd fully enthralled and whooping and cheering is charged by energy return and the momentum is near unstoppable.

They are receiving information from their audience and responding. As a metaphor -that is exactly what music businesses continue to do to this very day.

Business Insights & Analytics:

Tech Offers Access to the Masses

Charts and insights are certainly not a new concept. Back in the day, they were based on the popularity of songs and albums. Counting sales is not a new concept either – going silver, gold platinum, double – triple etc. This is all data that the music industry has for decades if not centuries not only employed but openly celebrated.

It seems that the people who ran labels and publishers had a sound respect for numbers and valued them. While much about the industry has changed, one of the few things that hasn’t is the need for data – though what has changed is how it is presented.

That, and who can access it.

It still seems strange then, that music industry professionals would choose to ignore or overlook data insights for a music business – but it happens constantly! 

This may be due to the fact that many people who find themselves in positions to make decisions for record labels or music publishers happen to also be musicians and don’t want to do… things that feel like marketing.

This is of course, absolutely silly (if at all true) as marketing is a major part of participating in the music industry and remains totally genuine when done correctly.

As music has vastly been digitized over the course of the past decades and of course, with the pandemic shutting down venues across the globe, the ability to interpret and gain insights from data became of paramount importance.

Determining where your business is at is all about reading the numbers aka your music business analytics. 

Presence and impact are going to dictate what kind of business decisions are made at a higher level while tracking the data of individual assets like videos and audio and the media used to promote them is the front line. This is the data that tells you which songs are fire and which ones to push. This is the data that will determine which songs even get a video or not.

Understanding different kinds of data and how to interpret it is an ever-evolving and critical part of the music business. Here is a breakdown of some main types of music data and the metrics that indicate it.

Breaking Down Music Business Analytics and Insights

Presence - Let’s start with the one that most people will already have a decent understanding of. Presence data is going to be indicated by metrics like likes, follows, engagement, conversion and so on. 

This will come from social platforms which include social media and platforms like Soundcloud and Spotify. Another great indicator of presence that has been often overlooked (although less so recently) is data that comes from charts. 

Remember folks, charts and insights may have evolved, but they are, more than ever, the important indicator of presence and popularity. Understanding your audience means understanding your whole audience – especially those participating in the industry with the power to amplify your business.

Pitch your music to chart makers and study the data. We’ve got a tool to help you accomplish that effectively below.

Contracts and Royalties – It should go without saying but you need to make good on your contracts and you should also track the data to verify everything is good. Contract disputes are a hassle and don’t help anybody move anywhere.  

Track royalty payments and splits from PROs and stay on top of your business’s finances.

Assets – This is the content with the power to go viral and launch your business. It needs to be on point and the way to get it there is by tracking the data. Who is listening or watching, where, when and why? You need to know. 

Finance - Another key question - who is funding albums and artists? There are a ton of grants and programs out there designed to help artists reach their full potential. There is a lot to understand in the financialization of music

In fact, you need to know all of this – and that is a lot of data to track down! 

Luckily such a tool exists to help make this easy:

Reprtoir Gives Users Access to Charts & Insights 

In response to the evolution of the music industry into the digital age, Reprtoir has been building a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform which employs several features to consolidate data and help teams use it in a collaborative way.

By enabling a consolidated view of data regarding music and assets - the artist or label is armed with information. Music is a lot of work and keeping it together requires organization. 

View all of the data and manage your business from one platform that is built with music businesses in mind - learn more here.

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