Gone are the days when you used to discover new music by watching MTV, listening to the radio, or by borrowing a CD from a friend. Now, music is available everywhere, and anyone who uses the internet can access millions of artists in a matter of seconds. To artists, streaming means access to a lot of data, but how can they use this bountiful access to information to their benefit?
At the inaugural Upstream Music Fest and Summit, music producers, Tunji Balogun and Amaechi Uzoigwe, participated in a panel session structured around using data successfully in the digital age.
One of the most useful ways that data gets used in the music industry is to show artists what part of the world people are listening to their music in. With that knowledge, artists can go on tour in those cities and reach as much of their fans as they can. There are also ways you can use data in more specificity, depending on the situation. An example stated in the keynote panel at the Upstream Summit was with a singer-songwriter named Khalid. Khalid was new to the music scene and he became popular really quickly. His songs were streaming on Spotify and he teamed up with Spotify to find the top 350 users that listened to his songs the most during a given period of time. Once that data was gathered, those 350 fans were invited to a secret concert featuring Khalid. Not only was this a great way to use data, it also helped Khalid’s career because it made him even closer to his fans.
With an ever-evolving technological landscape, artists are discovering even more ways to benefit from the data that is being collected from their fans. When asked what is the best way to use data and how to put yourself out there as an artist, Tunji replied, “There is no right answer, because every artist is different, every story is completely different.”
What’s important is looking at each situation separately and deciding what the best tools and platforms are to use in those situations. Bryson Tiller, a famous R&B singer, is a quiet guy who isn’t really comfortable tweeting his thoughts all day. But, he really enjoys taking photos, so he is very active on his Instagram and he uses that outlet to connect to his fans. When you look at his Instagram, you can really get a sense of his story and the type of artist he is. On the contrary, Khalid uses Twitter as his main form of communication with his fans. If a fan tweets at him, he will reply directly to them a majority of the time. “The constant is great music, great content, and creating a conversation with your fans that they feel like they are a part of” (Tunji). Both artists are highly successful, but what matters the most is for artists to stay true to who they are, and utilize social media in a way that they enjoy.. You should always remember that in order to make the data you collect useful, you need to actually use it.
(Featured Image-Left to Right: Portia Sabin, Amaechi Uzoigwe, and Tunji Balogun. Photographed by: David Conger. Courtesy of Upstream Music Fest + Summit)