Business Matters: Music Discovery by the Numbers
Business Matters: Music Discovery by the Numbers

Music Discovery by the Numbers
-- How much do people want to discover new music? It's a tough question to answer, but a few new statistics help paint a picture of music lovers' desire to learn more about the songs they hear. SoundHound says its music identification app is used to identify four million songs per day. That works out to more than 1,000 acts of discovery each second.

According to numbers released Tuesday, in the 30-day period ending Oct. 20, 2011, SoundHound servers had 25-35 million hits per day. Peak traffic exceeded two million hits per hour and 1,000 hits per second. These numbers represent a tenfold increase in usage since 2010, according to the company. Because the SoundHound app does more than identify a song, server hits are going to exceed the number of songs identified. After identifying a song, users can watch YouTube videos, read lyrics, see recommended songs and similar artists -- and click to buy the download.

SoundHound claims to be the leading music discovery app, although there is no objective third party that tracks these things. Shazam's website says its app is used more than three million times per day, and some of its searches are sure to be the result Shazam's involvement with TV commercials and programs rather than music. The company claims there are 150 million Shazam users worldwide.

"Discovery" is a wishy-washy word that is often misused in the context of digital music services. What does it mean to discover an artist, album or song? Does hearing a song for the 30th time on the radio count as discovery? What about reading a music blog that talks about bands you already like?

Much of the experiences that involve listening to music have little to do with actual discovery -- at least in the proper definition of the word. Anybody who has worked in music for any length of time understands the difficulty of building consumer awareness for a new artist. Few people spend their time and money on the unfamiliar. Instead, they go with what they know. And it takes time and resources to get consumers familiar with an artist's music, personality and background. People need to hear a song multiple times.

Because people gravitate toward the familiar, the traffic numbers of mainstream platforms don't really represent consumer's thirst for music discovery. Radio is absolutely a tool for music discovery, but short playlists and the popularity of oldies stations (everything from classic rock to hits of the '90s) mean people tend to hear music they're already familiar with. YouTube certainly aids discovery, but the most popular videos tend to be radio hits (which people already know) and cover songs (again, which people already know). Personalized Internet radio services like Pandora are also tools for discovery. But, again, familiarity is commonplace. A station built around one or more favorite artists usually won't stray far from the familiar. However, these stations are great for the discovery of a familiar artist's lesser-known back catalog.

Data from apps like SoundHound is a great gauge of consumer interest in the new and unknown. Music ID apps offer definite, measured proof of consumer's desire to learn more about an artist or song. After all, if you already know a song's title and performer, it's unlikely you will use an app like SoundHound to find out these details. But if you want to know more about a song you hear on the radio, in a club or on TV (music ID apps are great for TV shows with talented music supervisors), there is no better way than to use a music ID app.
(Press release)

Ticketmaster U.K. Adds Social Features In Seat Maps

-- Ticketmaster U.K. has integrated social features into its 1,000-plus interactive seat maps. The feature uses Facebook integration to allow ticket buyers to see where their friends are seated -- only if those friends have opted to share that information. Ticketmaster debuted this feature in the United States in August.

Adding a social element to the seat maps will help Ticketmaster create an online experience around the live concert. Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard told Billboard in September that 80% of people using the social features were choosing to share their seat locations with everybody and not just their friends.

"One of the things we're starting to do is create a living, breathing record of the event," Hubbard said. "That's what those seat maps are in a lot of ways. People start to tag themselves. There's a wealth of information there. Think about it as a home page in the digital page for the event. At the core, we made this investment and continue to invest heavily in social. This is just the start of a host of features in features in social that you'll see across everything we do."
(Press release)

Jack Myers Survey: Pandora, Vevo Tie For 1st
-- Pandora and Vevo tied for first place in the new Jack Myers Survey of Advertising Executives on Online Media Value and Sales Organization Performance. The two companies outranked 71 other web properties by getting the best ratings by advertising and agency executives who do business with the sites.

Pandora and Vevo both received positive ratings among New York City media companies, while CNN Digital and fared the best outside of New York. Pandora ranked second among executives with fewer than eight years experience in advertising and media. But the company did not fare as well with older executives. IGN Entertainment -- a division of News Corp. that targets young, male gaming fans -- ranked best among younger executives.

The nominees were rated on sales organization quality and customer service, clarity of offer and value, personal contact and relationships, safe advertiser environment and premium content.
(Jack Myers Media Business Report)