Blogs More Than MySpace Sell Music Says News Study

A new study by New York University’s Stern Business School tracked blog chatter for 108 albums for four weeks before and after their release dates.

Stern_biz_school_3The study showed that the volume of blog posts led to future sales, but that large increases in an artist’s Myspace friends had a weaker correlation to sales. According to the study, if 40 or more blog posts were made before an album’s release sales ended up being three to four times times the average for both indie and major releases. If blog posts crossed 250, album sales rose to six times the average regardless of label.

But don’t throw out the old school rules just yet. Albums released by major labels andBlogger_3 albums with a number of reviews from mainstream sources like Rolling Stone also tended to have higher future sales.

Advertising has always been about impressions, but previous marketing efforts were often aimed at big scores – a magazine cover, a TV apprearance or even a major national tour slot – and the bump in sales they provided. But in a fractured media landscape it seems to be the cumalitve effect of a multitude of impressions that matters. This study provides some early clues for music marketers interested in
assessing the relative importance of Web 2.0 sites and metrics and suggest that looking at cumalative online action appears to provide predictive value far beyond looking at each in isolation.

PDF of full study

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  1. Bruce, I’ve been following hypebot’s feed for so long, I had no idea the look of the core site had changed. Looks good!
    Thanks for the heads up comment on the additional news regarding the NYU study. Interesting stuff.

  2. i’d say these findings are specious at best.
    i applaud the researchers for taking a pretty methodical approach toward this subject (rather than the hyperbole that is so rife in the commentary on new trends in music), but i would offer that their understanding of how albums are sold is suspect.
    to wit (and i’m paraphrasing):
    – “interestingly enough, almost all our our sampled albums came out on a Tuesday”
    – “volume with traditional media tends peaks when records are out, while the blogs peak before an album comes out”
    – “we excluded digital sales from the research” (while many albums for indies are hitting a 40-50% rate of overall sales)
    – “albums by John Mellancamp and Catherine McPhee rewiewed poorly but sold well”
    to their credit they do accept that their findings are not conclusive and that they should investigate other areas, further segmenting their research.
    i think a useful line of inquiry would be what media delivers the best customers for labels and artists to target and to look at the overall costs it takes a label to promote in the various media vs the return. or to put a finer point on this, how much does an album being promoted on a blog lead to sales or to illegal downloads?

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