The amount of data coming from streaming services is growing exponentially, but as more information floods in it’s becoming harder for music marketers to see what’s important.
So with the music industry’s back office beginning to resemble that of the financial industry due the the hundreds of billions of micro-transactions streaming produces every year, Ingrooves has assembled a team of data scientists to sort through all the information flowing from digital services to music suppliers — in order to help clients spot marketing opportunities and potential business threats.
Every label distributed by Ingrooves can now access its Trends Now marketing tool through their own portals on the company’s website to see catalog activity on every digital service and on every playlist — and where the biggest opportunities lie. According to the company, Trends Now complements the company’s Trends and Sales Reporting dashboard — which are all a part of the company’s “Central” platform — allowing for a deeper dive beyond the transactions reported by digital services and exploring what type of engagement might have prompted a streaming transactions.
“With all the data coming in — it’s a massive amount — with the growth of streaming, the real issue is marketing,” says Ingrooves CEO Bob Roback. “Through data mining and building algorithms, we have structured a system that allows us to do a better job of analyzing what’s happening and what’s working, so that labels can make smart, quick decisions on what opportunities to pursue.”
The idea to build a data mining system was sparked when Ingrooves management noticed that labels were trying to use their financial information from the Trends and Sales Reporting system to try and identify marketing opportunities. But since there has been so much activity — last year Nielsen Music tracked 617 billion on-demand audio and video streams — Ingrooves management decided it needed to build a tool that would analyze and present the most important information that could make the biggest impact on whichever songs are generating the most engagement. The goal in some instances: to help labels see which of their artists’ songs have the potential to reach a wider audience beyond the fanbase.
Beyond all the information coming in, the marketplace has expanded: Some 2,000 albums — or 24,000 songs — were released per year in the mid-1970s, while 146,000 albums were issued last year, according to Nielsen Music. Music Reports Inc. says about 1 million new tracks a month are being added to digital services.
Consequently, “the seemingly infinite amount of content available to consumers in the streaming environment increases the importance of developing thoughtful, capital-efficient marketing strategies,” Roback said in a statement.
Other companies, such as The Orchard, have also moved in this direction in building their systems. For example, Warner Music Group recently acquired Sodatone to help gain insight into how its artists and their songs are performing.
“Our focus is on analyzing and curating massive amounts of data to surface timely, actionable insights that allow our partners to consider and execute effective marketing plans,” Roback said. “Trends Now is a unique and impactful tool for labels and artists to directly confront the growing marketing challenge.”
When a user signs on to the Trends Now dashboard, it presents the user with cards showing the big opportunities by song by service and playlist; while a ticker on the side of the screen presents a steady stream of information on all song activities at the various services and their respective playlists. The data can be viewed from a song, artists or label perspective; and can be viewed globally or by country.
For example, a label can see when one of their song is added to a playlist; and how many other songs were added at that time; and how many users are adding a song to their collections compared to other songs, says INgrooves senior VP of product Elliot Swan. “It gives you how many followers the playlist has and it can measure how much activity that playlist engenders,” he adds.
“When your song is dropped from a playlist, Trends Now is tracking not just your song but all the songs that were dropped from that play list at that time,” Swan says. “This way you know if it’s a major refresh of the playlist. Or it might point out that playlist in question is a volatile playlist.”
Trends Now can also compare how a song is doing on various playlists across services to help determine the best placement.
“Your song may be added to a playlist with 1 million listeners, but maybe that playlist doesn’t necessarily drive engagement for your song, while a smaller list with a couple of thousand of follows might be driving more engagement than a bigger playlist,” Swan says. “[Trends Now] makes it easier to see what type of playlist is better for reaching that artist’s fanbase.”
INgrooves says it is constantly working to improve Trends Now. Currently, Trends Now doesn’t suggest actions to be taken when opportunities arise, “but we are working on a lot of things around that,” Swan says. “In the meantime, we have our whole label services and management team that can work with labels and managers about what is the best strategy to implement. It’s not only about technology but about how can your technology and your team worked together to drive growth.”