Kelsey Byrne, better known as Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Vérité, has come a long way since her days as a waitress at the Applebee's in Manhattan's Times Square. But though she's built up a team around her in the last few years -- management via New Torch Entertainment, publishing via Kobalt, digital distribution via Kobalt-owned AWAL -- some habits die hard.
"I've always been very intent on being aware and involved in the business aspect [of my career], because from the beginning everything was self-funded," she tells Billboard over the phone. "If I'm not informed, I'm more likely to make a bad decision and ultimately lose that money. So from the beginning I've always been hyper-aware and vigilant."
Byrne is hardly alone these days; as streaming has exploded and become the leading source of revenue in the global recorded-music industry, artists at every level of their careers have embraced independence by using data gleaned from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music to determine where their fans are and adjust their business initiatives -- touring, marketing, promotion, etc. -- appropriately. But that data can be dense, fractured and, at times, difficult to attain -- or even decipher at all.