[White Paper] Stream Science: Programmatic Music Marketing

In this new white paper we explore the emerging world of programmatic music marketing. This should not at all be confused with programmatic audio, the practice of machines selling ad inventory to machines in a real-time bidding environment, although the two are related.

Programmatic music marketing is the practice of using the realtime signals of music listening audiences to inform decisions about music marketing, promotion, pricing, and social media engagement. When music was mostly sold as physical media (CDs, Tapes and Vinyl) this simply wasn't possible. When people played their albums at home, you had no way of knowing how many times they played it, who they shared it with, or if it ever got played at all. It was incredibly cost-prohibitive and slow to even try to find out (it basically involved going door-to-door and statistical sampling).

Even when the industry shifted to digital downloads (via iTunes and Amazon) this problem persisted, though measurement improved greatly.

But we now live in a world where the consumption of music and video is streaming, real-time, in hi-fidelity with no limit. Platforms like Deezer, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora, Apple Music, and Tidal all share one thing in common - they are essentially data companies and they all more data than they often know what to do with.

In fact, these streaming services are swimming in what would have once been considered the holy grail of music analytics that musicians, record labels, and managers could have only dreamed of 15 years ago. These services can tell when a user pauses a song and for how long, how many times they've played the song, and in some cases, when the user is most likely to play it again.

All of this means that the interpretation of real-time audience signals - all this big data - is more valuable to the music industry than ever before. In fact, there's so much data available now that anyone NOT using it to inform their decisions looks a little foolish.

With Stream Science we've come up with a simple methodology to explain audience behavior around online music consumption somewhat akin to the way digital advertisers explain behavior around website and ad traffic.

In this paper we share some of these methods and outline a few strategies to incorporate them into your own work as a music marketer, artist or influencer. Over the next few posts I'll call out some of the findings in detail but if you want to download the free 12-page read now, you can find it here at the link below.

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