Guest Contributor: Sung Cho (CEO and Founder of Chartmetric) and Adam Cowherd (CEO and Founder of AmplifyX)
The recording industry has a long history of locking artists into unfair deals, leaving most with little to show in terms of sustainable livelihoods and creative control.
Until Prince finally owned his catalog, he publicly likened his experience to slavery and adopted an unpronounceable symbol in place of his name in protest. It was his way of taking a stand, much like the stance Kanye West took via social media for similar reasons.
Their frustrations reflect a larger reality: According to Citigroup, only around 12% of music industry revenue left with artists in 2017.
As a result, musicians are exploring viable alternatives to the major label deal, often seeking more direct funding for their work. With more seasoned investors seeing music as a potential asset and using the data to make decisions, there are a few key points for artists to keep in mind as they build a career worth having. bought.
Viral hits grab headlines, but artists don’t have to fake it.
The number of views, streams and followers can be big, but don’t let yourself be tempted by bad decisions. Investors do their due diligence when they see an inexplicable increase in the number of followers or fans. Historical data, such as subscriber and reach growth, can be used to combat false claims to fame.
Tracking spikes until specific events (like going viral on TikTok, releasing a new single, tweeting celebrities about it, etc.) helps weed out clicks and paid followers. If single platform spikes aren’t event-related and it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Slow and steady subscriber growth builds a career.
A long-term plateau or inexplicable growth spurts are red flags, so your focus should be on maintaining and growing a fanbase through quality interactions and releases. When AmplifyX reviews artists applying to fundraise on their platform, they look for sustainability metrics: high fan engagement rates, positive month-over-month growth, and critical volume of proof points. streaming and social media.
To get an idea of your performance, review the last 6-12 months of your streaming and social media analytics. Is your growth constantly increasing? Are your events effective? If you can answer yes to both questions, you give investors a better idea of long-term stability.
What if my data doesn’t yet tell a strong story?
Your data may not instantly suggest your future trajectory. Fortunately, you can do something about it, because there have never been so many tools to help musicians strategize for their careers.
If you want to strengthen your social media footprint, take a closer look at your audience demographics. For example, indie pop artist beabadoobee and country singer Gabby Barrett are both 20 years old and both share a target audience of American women aged 18-24 on Instagram and YouTube.
Digging deeper, however, Gabby’s top subscriber interests include friends, family and relationships, toys, kids and babies, and weddings, while beabadoobee’s top subscriber interests include music, cinema and television, as well as art and design. With this information, Gabby and beabadoobee could plan social media content that their audience strongly identifies with.
If you want to get on a popular playlist, check out the charts to see the paths of hit tracks.
What smaller playlists did they get on first that led to their inclusion on the big stage? For example, alternative R&B singer Rai-Elle might look at the song playlist tracks of alternative R&B artists who have higher cross-platform performance (CPP) ratings, such as Jamila Woods, Sudan Archives, and Noname. By going to the Chartmetric pages of these artists, Rai-Elle was able to take note of the playlists that added early releases from Jamila Woods, Sudan Archives and Noname and show positive subscriber growth: signs of a strong taste creation potential.
By thinking about data now, artists can start planning how best to understand and then showcase their career in data to interested fans. Once only available to music professionals and analysts, this data is open to you and you can use it to grow your career while maintaining your independence.
This article is a guest article by About Sung Cho and Adam Cowherd.
Cho is the CEO and founder of Chartmetric, a music data platform that ingests large amounts of data from digital services, social media and traditional media. Cowherd is the CEO and founder of AmplifyX, a music investment platform that allows people to invest directly in artists.