Some would say we’re in the ‘dashboard era’ of the music industry now. In theory we should all soon be able to delve deeper, past the publicly available volume data to understanding what behaviors are behind the streams.
The sooner the whole industry has access to this information the better — otherwise we’ll be unable to communicate effectively with the increasingly powerful editorial gatekeepers at streaming services who are adept dashboard operators.
That’s why it’s admirable that Spotify and Sony Music have taken early steps to sharing streaming data with artists, labels and managers.But could the data ‘arms race’ actually be between record labels and the streaming services themselves?
The latter are putting a lot of investment into predicting hits and measuring trends — and they have deep pockets. What happens if they develop a proprietary ‘magic metric’ and offer it directly to artists to circumnavigate the labels? They have investment capability, a distribution platform and ownership of the customer relationship.