BuzzDeck, an online buzz-tracking and analytics platform from London-based digital distributors AWAL, is to roll out globally, having been successfully utilized by a number of major label U.K. artists.

Developed over the past two years, the service has been operating in beta since March and uses a suite of analytical tools to monitor an artist's buzz across social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, via tracking modules.

Artists, labels and managers using the service receive international geographical data identifying areas where fan engagement is strongest, as well as insight into fan demographics and real-time impressions of an artist's online activity.

A custom built version of the service was recently used by Atlantic/Warner Music on the digital campaign for Plan B's sophomore set "The Defamation of Strickland Banks" (679/Atlantic/Warner Music), which hit No. 1 on the U.K. album charts earlier this year.

Atlantic Records also used BuzzDeck tools to fine tune its digital marketing strategy for R&B artist McLean, while Sony Music acts Hurts and the Hoosiers have also utilized the service, according to AWAL.

"BuzzDeck helped us analyze and react to the digital activity around Plan B and McLean releases," said Jack Melhuish, director of digital, Atlantic Records U.K., in a statement.

Tracking Fan Engagement

"We were able to accurately track fan engagement across all our online channels, gauge what was effective and what wasn't in real-time, and tweak the campaign accordingly," he continued.

London-based AWAL was founded in 1997 and provides digital distribution and promotion to a global network of approximately 130 digital stores, including iTunes and Amazon and Spotify.

Since March this year, a free basic version of BuzzDeck has been available to all AWAL distribution clients, which currently numbers approx 6,500, according to AWAL co-founder Kevin Bacon, and includes a mix of major and independent labels, artists, managers and marketing companies. AWAL receives 15% digital music sales commission from distribution clients.

Following its successful beta launch, an upgraded pro-version of BuzzDeck, offering enhanced functionality and greater depth of real-time analysis, is to roll out to all AWAL clients as a paid for subscription service, later this month. An exact launch date for BuzzDeck pro-version is yet to be announced, although Bacon tells Billboard.biz that its bow is "imminent" with the monthly subscription cost set to be approx £9 ($13.60) per client, in addition to the existing 15% digital sales commission.

"BuzzDeck is an insight tool to give people a real understanding of their business," Bacon tells Billboard.biz. "It's a new world out there and accurate and relevant metrics are a very important thing right now."

"If one of our artists goes on tour or employs PR, whether they're somebody who sells seven downloads a year or 79,000, they can actually see the effect of what they are doing in real time," he continues. "BuzzDeck is designed to give insight to people to make decisions. It's not just providing data. We're actually trying to drive people to make decisions about what to do and what action to take."

Bespoke Service

Alongside the upcoming launch of a 'BuzzDeck Pro' subscription model, a standalone BuzzDeck service is also to be made available to labels, artists and managers outside of the AWAL network.

Unlike the pro-version of BuzzDeck, which involves tracking modules being integrated directly into an artist's website and social network platforms and is administered by AWAL, the standalone custom built BuzzDeck service sees AWAL build a bespoke suite of tracking tools, which are then serviced and maintained by the artist or artist's label, who pay a yearly subscription fee.

Bacon would not reveal costings for custom built BuzzDeck software, as previously utilized by Atlantic Records for Plan B and Sony Music on its acts the Hoosiers and Hurts.

Other buzz tracking services operate in the music space, including Nielsen's BussMetrics.

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