On April 24 2018, The Guardian shared that streaming income had surpassed income generated by physical sales in the music industry for the first time in history. The Verge later in September reported that streaming now accounts for over 75% of the income of music industry. These channels have in common that they pay per stream wise rather than sales of a physical disk. This means that streaming services now have enormous amounts of data available to analyze data, learn from it and use it. It does not stop here though.
Social Media as Gate to Fans
The attention span of people is rapidly decreasing. This means that engaging them is more vital than ever. On a weekly basis, streaming services create playlists that give suggestions on music and new releases. This all based on the listening history of the listener. Everyone is constantly being stimulated. Musicians and labels have to deal with these stimuli and find new and innovative ways to generate a larger following and to stand out more. The correct use of social media is one of these aspects that bands and labels can stand out.
There are good and bad ways to conduct yourself on social media. This conduct changes over time as trends come and go as fast as you can google them. On top of this, you are constantly dependent on their algorithms that filter out or prioritize your content. In the end, your performance is determined by the amount of likes you have, comments you engage in and more. One thing that these metrics have in common is that they are data.
Based on this data you can learn and improve, optimizing your conduct on social media, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. On top of this, when you engage in online marketing efforts, this becomes even more important as you pay for clicks, views and other engagements. If these are suboptimal or not targeting the right people, you are in a way throwing money into thin air, hoping it will turn into fans. These are both challenges and opportunities. If you figure out the sweet spot in the algorithms and the content that your fans react to, you can grow a loyal following.
External Data & Performance
So far we have only talked about the importance of social media, the small bubble each and everyone of us lives in. It is important to not just look at people’s social activities but also to the industry and other external factors you are not able to influence. Even though you are not able to influence them, they can guide your decisions. You may wonder why if you have been doing things a certain way for ages, which works. The fact that things work now or in the past doesn’t mean that they always will.
By keeping an eye on the environment and external data sources you can spot trends and changes quickly and capitalize on them rather than reacting to them as they happen. This is something which is often done too late or not at all, leading to companies and artists lagging behind on what works.
Data driven decisions influenced by expertise
Even though it is a lot of fun and important to look into the future, it is also important to look back. This is to learn from mistakes, optimize and improve. If you do not learn from your mistakes and take the lessons you learn from them to the future you are bound to repeat them. With data you will be able to make judgements and calls on facts rather than only on gut feelings. The music industry is changing faster than it ever has and it is vital to be flexible and take the opportunities you can get. Let go of the efforts that take too much time and give back too little.