Today Apple launches Apple Music for Artists, a dashboard designed to provide acts with hundreds of data points giving deep analytical insight into their fans’ listening and buying habits.
The initial beta rollout involves a few thousand artists who will test the product and see what adjustments and expansions, if any, should be made before Apple Music for Artists opens in the Spring to the several million artists with content on the iTunes and Apple Music platforms. Later plans call for a mobile app.
The easily navigable dashboard’s home page provides artists with their current number of plays, spins, song purchases and album purchases. The user can specify the time period ranging from the past 24 hours to the 2015 launch of Apple Music.
An Insights panel showcases key milestones via bullet points that highlight such information as all-time number of plays and purchases for specific songs or cumulatively.
Apple Music for Artists debuts more than two years after Spotify, Pandora and YouTube bowed their own artist dashboards. While admittedly a late entry, Apple hopes to make up for its tardiness with the depth of information available, level of transparency and the ease of use provided by the clean user interface.
In addition to broad strokes, artists can drill down on a granular level in myriad ways. A global map allows musicians to click on any of the 115 countries in which Apple Music/iTunes is available and find out what’s happening with their music. They can select individual cities and see how many plays and sales they have in each market, as well as look at their top songs in every city. They may further examine the listener demographics per city, for example, calling up how many times females ages 16-24 in Los Angeles have listened to a particular song.
Ideally, the deep dive could help an artist decide tour routing based on which cities are responding best to their music, as well as even plan a set list based on their top tracks in a town.
Additionally, artists can view all Apple-curated playlists on which they appear, see how many plays they receive and how they are trending over time.
The robust offerings allow thousands of permutations to calculate activity with intuitive ease. Apple considered adding in financials, but decided not to for the immediate launch, in part because of the complexity of how royalty payments are calculated.
While available to all musicians on the service, Apple expects Apple Music for Artists will give an extra boost to independent acts who had little access to such information before. “As a truly independent artist with a small team, music analytics is something we can't do without. We don’t have the luxury of deep major label market research to rely on to help us make important decisions like where to perform and how to advertise the things that we make,” says Canadian R&B singer Daniel Caesar, who was one of several artists consulted during the build-out. “Apple’s analytics tool helps to level the playing field for artists like myself.”
Similarly, Foo Fighters and Beck manager John Silva adds, “This wealth of data will improve our efficiency in serving our artists and their fans, both on the market-by-market level of previous eras and the new global context opened up by Apple dashboard.”