Making Art Analytical: Musicians Get Analytics Tools


Google could be one of the world's biggest proponents of analytics. Having used one form or another of it for the better part of two decades to figure out how best to target advertizing at its users, it's surprising that it has taken so long for it to help the content creators that drive some of its other endeavors, by providing them with analytical tools of their own.

It may well be that with its old smartphone enemy, Apple, making a big push for streaming with its Apple Music service, Google has finally taken off the kid gloves. It has made analytics available to many of its biggest artists on YouTube. It gives them the ability to read more in-depth statistics and information about just who is watching their videos and listening to their music.

The system will break down how many visitors they are receiving and how many views their videos are getting. Crucially though, it will give them location data on their fans, targeting official videos and those reclaimed via ContentID after being uploaded by third parties.

The idea, according to Google, is that it will make it possible for artists to schedule tours where they are most popular, thereby maximizing exposure and revenue.

Of course, that's when you start to run into some potential difficulties, because music, as much as it is an enormous money making industry, is also an artistic one. Balancing out making a living without “selling out,” can be difficult and it's something that many artists will need to do when it comes to utilizing YouTube's new tools.

This was felt earlier this year when the video sharing site introduced other features for content creators, under the YouTube for Artists update, which let them promote shows and earn money through the use of YouTube Card annotations that promoted other services.

The repercussions of going overboard with paid-for promotion is something that many popular YouTube channels faced at the tail end of 2014, when it was discovered that the seemingly random “lick challenges,” for Oreo cookies being posted by many content creators were in-fact paid commercials. Many of those channels and indeed Cadbury (Oreo's parent company) got in a spot of bother over this breach in advertizing standards, but fans who felt duped were even less forgiving.

Of course, these sorts of problems aren't confined to video sharing websites. It's something that other organizations and individuals need to consider, especially when it comes to analytics. While analytics can provide amazing insight into how to improve efficiency, the data produced can be cold. It can be hard. While there are many businesses that can undoubtedly benefit from analytically produced reports, interpreting them and making sure that applying the lessons learned do not cut into the soul of the business, is incredibly important.

How does your company handle the application of analytics? Is it best to face the cold, hard facts provided by the data, or does it take a deft hand to implement them without compromising the heart of the enterprise?

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Re: art analytics
  • 7/31/2015 4:01:06 PM
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@Magneticnorth, though they employ business manager, with the tools now available they can be effectively hands on and more involved.

Re: art analytics
  • 7/31/2015 12:00:57 PM
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@magneticnorth That's true.

Re: art analytics
  • 7/31/2015 5:37:30 AM
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@Maryam I've seen a few rising artists assemble a great online fan database before hitting it big. I'm guessing they could compare the location data in their database with YouTube's data.

Re: art analytics
  • 7/31/2015 5:30:14 AM
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@rbaz Most independent artists I know still do employ business managers to take care of these things; they're just not the big record labels.

Re: art analytics
  • 7/31/2015 5:27:07 AM
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@Ariella The musicians who are in music solely for art's sake probably won't even touch YouTube's analytics, thinking it's an unnecessary complication to what they do. On the other hand, analytics will help those who need to make money off music so that they can continue doing what they love.

Sellouts will be sellouts, with or without YouTube analytics ;)

Re: art analytics
  • 7/31/2015 1:32:39 AM
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@SaneIT, I would agree that there will be a learning curve, but at the same time I think there will be some very savey people who learn how to take advantage of this. Many indipendant musicians have to be their own business people anyway, and many are use to taking on many roles. Not all, but some. 

Re: art analytics
  • 7/6/2015 8:21:45 AM
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I think my biggest concern in this case is misunderstanding, if we're talking about people who are making music because that's what they are good at then mistakes with data interpretation are likely.  Unless a bunch of new music agents pop up while feeding off of this data I think most of the damage done would be self-inflicted and easy to recover from since they'll know pretty quickly if they misjudged the impact of the data.

Re: art analytics
  • 6/30/2015 11:39:44 AM
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Rbaz absolutely some musicians and artists have a better handle on their market than large corporation do. They use analytics to predict areas of success and growth and focus their efforts accordingly.

Re: art analytics
  • 6/30/2015 10:55:16 AM
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Maryam, no question that today's artist have evolved and possess good business acumen. They have more resources to draw from as well, much like every sector and Field. The availability of information and analytical tools have transformed all fields from the traditional stereotypes.

Re: art analytics
  • 6/30/2015 1:34:13 AM
NO RATINGS

Rbaz I think more contemporary artists are better at the business part of their jobs because they have seen the mistakes of their predecessors.Many are directly involved in their business management teams and drive their wealth management. There are lots of examples of this from U2 to Paul Mcartney. They all have amassed great wealth through interesting business practices that demonstrate their ability to think beyond the art.

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