BOSTON -- Data can be just as confounding as anything else in the digital era, data panelists at the Rethink Music conference said. There's plenty of it, but the trick is to know what you want to do with it.
"A lot of what we're trying to do is give people analytics so they can see what they're doing that's working," said Ian Rogers, CEO of Topspin.
"It's very important to start with a business objective or a goal," said Eric Garland, the founder of BigChampagne. Artists should use the net to create awareness first, then form fan connections and "then you can transact with them," said Rogers. "and all along that path, there's data to be collected."
To that end, he said, Topspin will soon roll out a data product centered on analyzing the effectiveness of artist communications with fans through social media and other online avenues. It will measure how effectively different ways of communicating turn into clicks, retweets and downstream commerce, he said.
"You can only do so many things in one day," said Garland, and better sifting of the vas amount of available data will allow artists and labels for focus their energies for maximum benefit.
"If you frame the music business in terms of retail, you're missing how people interact with music," said Jim Lucchese, CEO of EchoNest.
The problems of collecting and analyzing data will only grow more challenging, said moderator Dave Kusek, CEO of berkleemusic.com.
"Mobile is exploding" and it's not clear what will happen as tablets and smart phones become more and more the center of our music consumption.