SlackerEQ Scores Songs' Engagement Power

Is your song hot or not? 

Slacker on Thursday launched its "EQ" metric for measuring the hotness quotient millions of tracks to present a weekly top 40 list, becoming the latest streaming music company to give artists and listeners a tiny glimpse of the vast treasure trove of data they have accumulated over billions of hours of listening.

The San Diego, Calif., company isn't releasing an EQ score for every single track in its catalog -- just the 40 highest ranking songs of the week within six genres -- pop, country, rock, hip hop, electronic and indie. Each song is given a score from 1 to 100 based on seven factors: how often it's selected to play, the percentage of time listeners allow the song to play all the way to the end, how many "hearts" it's received from listeners, how often it's shared with friends, the number of times the song is skipped, the number of times it is banned and how often listeners switch stations in the middle of the song. (For this week's Slacker chart, scroll to the bottom of the post.)

Other music services also have been slowly opening up their data for public consumption. Pandora has been informally providing detailed reports for artists who visit the company that show how their songs perform on its streaming radio service. The company earlier this year said it is contemplating building a dashboard that would let all artists view their songs' data. Spotify last month began publishing a weekly global top 50 most-streamed songs chart, as well as a play count for individual tracks.

Slacker said its charts differ from Spotify's and Pandora's because EQ takes into account more factors, such as sharing and switching.

"The EQ stands for engagement quotient," said Jack Isquith, senior vice president of strategic development and content programming at Slacker. "We think it provides a much richer, more complex expression of how people feel about songs and artists" than stream counts and sales.

Isquith believes the EQ chart could be useful to labels and managers who are looking to track engagement and single out individual tracks that resonate better for additional marketing. "It helps answer the question of how engaged an audience is with a particular artist or track," Isquith said. "Who do you double down on? Where should you change course with a particular artist? Or should you stop throwing good money after bad? EQ gives you another way to measure engagement."