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Artist Advice Column: How To Leverage Data To Grow Your Brand Pt. 2

While at the end of the day music is the most important aspect of a musician’s career, having data and knowing how to use it is critical for every aspect of your brand.
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Last week we started a discussion on data and how to best utilize it. While at the end of the day music is the most important aspect of a musician’s career, having data and knowing how to use it is critical for every aspect of your brand. We already touched on social media data, release dates and sync. Now it is time to look at streaming, partnerships and ticket sales.

4. Streaming:

Beyond data and content, streaming is the word that everyone is saying in the music business. If you went to ADE, you probably never want to hear or read streaming again. Streaming, streaming, streaming. I will stop now. However, it is becoming the way that most consumers, especially young people listen to music and a vital part of any release strategy.

Streaming data goes way beyond just the number of plays. It will depend on the service you have and what you are paying for (especially on SoundCloud), but there are a few constants with what you want to see and how you see it. The data should give you a breakdown of where your plays are coming from, who is playing your music and much more.

One of the key components of streaming is playlists. You will be able to see where your songs were placed on which playlists and how many streams came from which playlist. This will help you understand where to target your playlist marketing. If you are getting success in one country, then look at those big playlists. If one niche genre has some big playlists, look at those. See where people are putting your music and grow from there.

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Another vital part of streaming data is where people are streaming your music from. Much like downloads and purchases, you can see where your listeners are. This is crucial for targeting your music, your marketing and your tours. If you have a lot of fans in Eastern Africa for example, reach out to some promoters in the area and see if you can play a few gigs there. Even if the run of shows doesn’t make much money for you, establishing yourself in fast growing markets will be smart in the long-term so you can play bigger shows the next time.

5. Partnerships:

This is pretty vague, but it can encompass the already talked about syncs, or commercials and other ad deals. Coming up with these partnerships can be complex, but once you have established a deal with a brand, know what you are looking to measure. Know what are you looking to gain from it. Are there certain stats you want to impact directly? If the partnership is big on social media, see how your impressions are growing. If you are partnering for an ad campaign overseas, see if your fans, plays and overall brand are growing in that market verses the expectations you might have set. Then going even further, if you are an investor in a company, put your business hat on and look at metrics in the company like growth, revenue and long-term viability.

6. Ticket Sales:

Touring is the lifeblood of so many bands. Though a lot of bands may not make money on touring because it is expensive to hit the road, it is vital to get out there and play your music to a crowd. Knowing where to do it is just as important so you aren’t playing to empty rooms night after night. Data you will want to examine on your own or with your agent includes plays, sales, social media following, engagement, merchandise sold and any prior ticket sales in specific markets. You can take those to promoters in specific markets and show them you are worth booking at their venue.

Drilling down into the data, for streaming see if you have consistent listeners in a specific market because those are more likely to be ticket buyers than just the one-off listen that happened to be around the time you pitch. With social media, it can be tricky to go off of people saying they want you in their city because those can have an outsized impact on your sense of how many fans exist in a city or country. However look at the impressions and interaction you are getting from a region and that can be a place you target for a few shows or a larger tour. See how your past shows have done in certain markets, compare that to listening habits and go for bigger shows. 

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