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Music and science seem far removed from each other but, in fact, there’s a growing movement to apply data-driven insights to create the next big thing.
Here’s what you need to know so you can harness the same tools, without needing to become a music industry giant.
Data science is the act of harvesting data and then analyzing that data.
It’s so important to modern businesses that data is collected on an almost infinite scale and then stored in the cloud so that it can be examined endlessly by algorithms – this is known as “big data”.
Now, you might be thinking, well what has big data got to do with music?
Surely, my favorite recording artists are all about having a good time?
They write their songs on what sounds right and makes them feel good, right?
Well, no, not always. That’s certainly how most artists start out but then they get into the record business and just like every other business – the music industry is looking to maximize the profits from its investments.
They want streaming services to play their artists all the time because each play is more money. The more you listen to an artist, the more likely you are to buy their merch, go to their gigs and maybe even buy their albums. These are the music industry’s products and to maximize their returns, they can use data science to better understand listeners.
The music industry is, in fact, a huge partner of big data, they will plug into services like Spotify, monitor music videos on YouTube, monitor dozens of social media sites, and then use artificial intelligence to create a data profile about what it is about an artist that fans like and what song or songs are the biggest draw for listeners.
If you’ve seen our recent article on music analytics tools you’ll know that while the music industry may have the services of big data at their beck and call, anyone who makes music can use analysis to improve the chances of their songs being a big hit on Spotify.
And that’s a good thing because it means artists can compete with record labels and the bigger industry as they seek their first streaming hit and to better engage with their audience.
In fact, it’s audience engagement that is the most important thing that artists can tap into when it comes to big data.
If you know when people listen to your music, how they listen to it, where they listen to it, how old they are, where they live, etc., and how they use social media, you can create marketing and music that’s completely tailored to their needs.
In fact, in our recent piece on the impact of streaming on the music industry, we saw that artists are really changing their approach to music because of the insights they gain from analytics packages.
One thing that artists in this era of Spotify learn is to write a short song rather than a long one, because the data say that 2-2.5 minutes is the most profitable song when you’re paid per play.
Artists can also determine the speed and tempo of music likely to create the next big thing and follow trends within a scene. Then they can determine the best model to reach their listening public and use digital technology to distribute their records to audiences and consumers in any market worldwide.
Now, this doesn’t mean that using data guarantees that your tracks become the next musical smash hit, mind you, but it certainly increases your chances appreciably.
Spotify isn’t the only streaming service but it is the biggest of the streaming services and one of the ways it stays on top of the online market is by using analytics to curate playlists.
They can tell by analyzing their site-wide audience data what trends are taking place, and which musicians go with which musicians and thus the company can create trending music by using user insights to target future behaviors.
Producing music is just the start of a long process that requires marketing and distributing your tunes and finding users and listeners for them.
This used to be a process that relied on guesswork and experience but now? Data could make a huge difference in the way your approach platforms and build a revenue model for your music.
Big data is the way forward and thanks to companies like YouTube and Spotify, you can take advantage of that as easily as any other music industry executive can.