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Do Search Inquiries Indicate Hit or Miss Albums?

image from www.oceanwebsitedesign.co.uk Say you're a new artist or have signed one to your roster. Months have gone by, the recording process is over, the CDs are ready to be shipped, and the marketing push has long since been underway. What data would be most helpful in determining how successful the new song or album is going to be? There are a number of traditional routes, however, a recent line of research is suggesting that search inquiries predict the success for films, games, and songs.

Predicting The Future

In a study carried out by a team at the research arm of Yahoo, they've found that the correlations are strong—that from films to movies to songs—frequently searched terms are a good indicator of the ultimate success of each. 

Sometimes, as much as six weeks ahead of their release, search inquiries can tell you if you're playing with fire or your marketing has failed to gain any traction.

The case when data like this becomes the most useful is in the advent of a project that doesn't have the momentum of previous iterations to work off of.

But in the case of the release cycle of Linkin Park's latest album, A Thousand Suns, the data would be less meaningful and not as helpful as looking at the marketing budget and the number of retailers stocking the album.

What To Do About It

Still, the researchers are hopeful that search inquiries can be used to calculate other things such as hotel vacancy rates and the number of people thinking about flying to Vegas this weekend. This, of course, raises issues of concern.

At what point do these varied attempts to predict human behavior cross the line? And should there be restrictions on this type of data?  This is new territory and only reports of eventual abuse will tell us if this information should be off limits.

Though, as Bernardo Huberman, an HP researcher, confided to the BCC, its one thing to predict future behaviors of consumers and quite another to have any idea what to do about it. Should search inquiries be off-limits? Are they insightful?

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