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Why data is king and how it can help you as an artist

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by: James Todoroski

In an age where everything we do is tracked and monitored, the line between privacy and security has become somewhat blurred. While data can be manipulated when in the wrong hands, it can do wonders for those with good intentions. In the music industry, data can be just as valuable as money in certain circumstances. In this article, we’ll delve into those scenarios and how you can make the best of the information around you.

Social media

A study conducted by Mobile Insurance has revealed that the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone. Although that figure may not sound like much, the number adds up to 23 days a year and 3.9 years of the average person’s life spent on their phone. With this number only expected to rise, targeting fans via social media has now become the most effective tool for marketing and promotion. Facebook is playing a large role in the rapid growth of social media. As of the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users, making it the largest social media platform in the world. Facebook allows you to see exactly how many people click on a post, which is important for sharing links to new music, merchandise, and tickets. Despite this, the view to click ratio is often difficult to ascertain. In its most recent update, Facebook’s algorithm was catered to favor native content, photos, and videos, meaning; things such as links to external websites and other 3rd party content will be less likely to show up in your news feed, or will be shadowed by memes and videos. Although Facebook reigns supreme, don’t neglect Twitter. While you can see the activity on each tweet including impressions, engagements and engagement rate, you’re unable to see the breakdown of your followers or how people are engaging with your tweets. This is where downloading a companion Twitter app is handy.

Releasing your music on time

One of the hardest things to get right is to determine an appropriate release date for your upcoming single. A quietly impactful factor, correct timing can be the difference between 1,000 plays and 10,00 plays. Despite this, sometimes, songs bubble up on their own and become hits regardless – however, don’t hang your hat on that. On average, most people arrive home from work and school anywhere between 6-8pm. It is during this time that people will reach for their phones to see what’s changed in the world since their lunch break – this is your window of opportunity to promote your music. Keep in mind, the aforementioned time slot is based on a general consensus. The optimum time to post on social media will vary between locations. Do you have many fans in any particular country and are you looking to make a push there with a project? See how the release could line up with a holiday or big day for music releases. Understand how music from similar artists has done in the past year. Don’t mimic your contemporaries, but understand what made a strategy work and try and understand why some strategies were not as effective.


Music streaming has become the most profitable and widely-preferred method of consuming new music. Platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music have helped the big 3 labels (Sony, Warner & Universal) earn up to $14.2 million per day in 2016. In addition to this, Spotify generated more than €4.09 billion over the last fiscal year, helping it reach a total net worth of more than $21.7 billion Euros. Its biggest competitor, Apple Music, is now worth a reported $10 billion (USD). There’s more to streaming data than plays. Depending on the service you have and what you are paying for (eg. SoundCloud), there are a few constants with what you want to see and how you see it. The data should give you a breakdown of where your plays are coming from, who is playing your music and much more.

The images below are screenshots from a SoundCloud Pro account. It displays the number of plays during the specified time period, the locations of which the plays came from and the top listeners. Unfortunately, detailed stats are only available through SoundCloud Pro.

With this information, artists are able to get a better idea of where their largest audiences are based. In knowing your main source of attention, you’ll be able to better research the best times to post online in any given country, increasing your potential maximum number of plays. For example, if the majority of your fanbase is located in Los Angeles, uploading music to SoundCloud on Sundays at 10 am tends to churn out good results. This time-frame is thought to produce good results because most SoundCloud users have day jobs during the week and the weekends are the only time they have to explore SoundCloud for music.

Artist websites

A highly underrated tool, artist websites are still an excellent way to obtain data from your fans and listeners. Due to most of the attention online being diverted towards social media networks, websites may sometimes stand in Facebook and Twitter’s shadows. However, a new ideology is bringing attention back to artist websites. Both Laidback Luke and Sam Feldt have incorporated similar ideas on their websites. After all, they’re both developed by the same company – Fangage. All the content and information you could possibly want from either artist is conveniently located on their websites. However, in order to have full, unrestricted access, you must sign up as a member, giving your full details in the process. Details such as your name, location, email, phone number and other social networks such as Google+ and Spotify are all required. In addition to this, your home address is automatically obtained, through your IP Address, which in turn, is obtained through linking your Facebook account. This data is invaluable to Sam and Luke. This information gives them complete access to their fans and their socials – meaning, they know when they’re online, when they’re out, what they like and other essential info. After collecting this data from thousands of users, both artists are able to carefully plan out a release and social media schedule, optimizing their potential outreach.

In a world where everything is traced and followed online, our data is never hidden. As a result, everyone from corporate bosses, to average consumers has access to as much data as they desire. However, with great power, comes great responsibility. While the phrase is rather overused and somewhat cheesy, it still rings true. Understanding the importance of data and how to obtain it will give you an advantage in the music industry. So, get your tools ready and explore this essential element of your future success.



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