Getting the most out of streaming analytics data
For artists interested in tracking their performance, streaming services now offer up a whole host of analytical data. If aren’t numbers person, however, some of this information can be a challenging to absorb. Here, we look at how to make sense of it all.
Guest post by Patrick McGuire of the ReverbNation Blog
If you’re a musician that’s obsessed with statistics, you probably love the in-depth analytic information that most major streaming platforms now offer to artists. But if you’re not a fan of numbers and graphs, you might be missing out on the benefits that streaming analytic data can give you as an artist. If you’re a serious artist that tours and frequently releases new music, paying attention to the data behind your music can help you. Here’s how:
Use location data to plan tours and promotion efforts
If you’re a developing artist, it’s safe to assume that some music markets are checking out your music more than others. Touring and promoting usually demand huge investments of time and money, and you’ll waste both if you focus on the wrong locations. While streaming analytics can’t give you a completely accurate picture of what cities are listening to your music the most, they do a pretty solid job. When the same cities pop up in your analytic reports over and over again, you have a clear picture of where you should be directing your energy as an artist. However, there’s a catch. It’s very easy for listeners to enjoy music today without becoming true fans of the artists that created it. Your songs might get listened to loads and loads in a specific city, but that doesn’t mean anyone will show up to your concerts when you play there. Analytic data can point you in the right direction as an artist, but usually a lot more work needs to be done to ensure people come out to your shows and engage with you as an artist on a more meaningful level.
Learn how fans are interacting with your music
It’s obviously a great sign when audiences stream your music. But analytic data can show you quite a bit more about how listeners are interacting with your music. When fans download or save your tracks and take the time to follow you on streaming platforms, it’s a clear signifier that someone is more than just casually interested in your music. Another great sign is when a listener uses their smartphone in public to identify one of your songs. In our age of playlists and short attention spans, it’s a real challenge to get audiences to learn about your identity as an artist, even if they like a couple of your songs. Using analytic data will help you learn when listeners become actual fans of your music.
See where listeners discover your songs
It’s a huge help to see when and where audiences are discovering your music. Sometimes your tracks will randomly show up on a big editorial playlist or some other random collection of songs. But many times you’ll pitch your music somewhere and discover it on the blog or playlist you contacted. Regardless of the situation, it’s good to learn about how listeners find your work because it can help you promote your music and gain a broader understanding of who likes your music and why.
Measure the performance of your new music in real time
Streaming analytic data can now show you how well your music is doing almost in real time and in even right at the moment fans listen in some cases. If you’ve labored over a single for months or an album for a year, it’s a huge help knowing how the music you’ve invested so much in is performing. Some platforms update the numbers as audiences stream a new single release, while most others refresh stats each day. This means that you’ll know pretty quickly whether audiences are listening to and saving your new music to their libraries.
Stats aren’t everything and there’s a dark side to paying too much attention to the numbers behind your music. But if you approach things with a healthy attitude, streaming analytic info can help shed light on your listenership and help your career. Making the best music you can and using the data to see how it performs is reflective of a healthy approach, but creating music with the sole purpose of racking up streams, downloads, and follows probably won’t work out for you. Loving what you do and using the data as one metric of your success is the best way to go.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.