Universal turns to analytics to keep in tune with fans

adeleUniversal Music – home to artists from Adele, Elton John and Lady Gaga to Kanye West, Maroon 5 and Metallica – is turning to data analytics to help its stars and their management teams cosy up to their fanbase.

The new analytics platform, rather unimaginatively dubbed Universal Music Artists, will be available to all artists signed to the label.

It will offer personalised details such as total audience size, YouTube views, listeners and streams by platform, top countries, demographic information, top-performing social-media posts, and push notifications when songs are added to top global playlists.

The company says the ultimate aim is provide artists “with more and better data to deepen their understanding of their fans and their listening habits” and “unlike any other artist-focused tool in the market today, Universal uniquely provides a view across major consumption and social media platforms”.

At launch, data from Spotify, which already offers a “Spotify for Artists” tool, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will all be crunched, with more data sources due to be added in due course.

Universal claims it the first all-in-one platform for artist analytics, and plans to introduce further features such as enhanced audience insights and anomaly detection powered by machine-learning tools next year.

Universal vice president of data analytics Mitch Shymansky, who created the platform, told Rolling Stone magazine: “The Spotify for Artists app is great, but if you’re planning a tour, you want to plan it based on where your fans are, not where your Spotify fans are.

“That’s the advantage. There is now a single space where artists can see their entire audience. We see this as version one. We have a big team behind this – my team is 28 people alone. It’s not a ‘build it, launch it, forget about it’ thing. It’s part of our strategy.”

Data and analytics are playing an increasingly important role in all areas of the music business; late last year Sony Music appointed its first global chief data officer,  responsible for building and leading a worldwide team focused on advancing the label’s data strategy.

At the time, Sol Rashidi – who joined from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines – said the company planned to build predictive tools and analytics platforms to enhance Sony capabilities in artist and partner solutions, commercial strategy, marketing, and A&R at an international level.

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