Feature: How analytics shape the music world

In a world swimming in data, interpreting and acting on analytical data has become central to the music industry. Whether you’re an artist, producer, promoter or a label manager, the abilities of info-consolidating platforms bring deeper insight into just who is listening… 

If you’ve ever looked out from the stage to the soul-crushing sight of a silent, near-empty venue, perhaps underlined by a handful of sympathetic faces, then you’ll understand that carefully planning just where you choose to gig is massively important to growth – and avoiding the demotivating feel of playing to nobody. 

Originally rolled out with this tour-planning aspect as a central motivation, music analytics platforms have now expanded into wider-ranging resources. Arming users with the means to keep a handle on how their fanbase (s) interact with their music, and the ebb and flow of individual track popularity. All built atop their usefulness in answering that fundamental question, ‘where should I gig next?

Now central to A&R and label management, audience-tracking platforms such as Viberate and Chartmetric dig deep into cross-platform streams, as well as the rate of fanbase growth and engagement across social media.They also indicate recommended markets to target. These types of platforms aren’t just dashboards aimed at those working in music business and strategy. Indeed, to even catch the eye of these savvy platform-equipped talent scouts, getting signed up as an artist is a must. 


Getting validated on an app such as the widely-used Chartmetric instantly increases the likelihood of label and A&R discovery. Particularly if you’re able to demonstrate steady audience growth. Traditionally scouting around venues and learning about new acts via word-of-mouth, consolidated analytics platforms provide the modern A&R agent a meaty resource with which they can discover talent instantly. Briskly exploring back catalogues and studying the behaviour of engaged fans. Should they like what they hear, they’ve already got a substantial understanding of the artist, and are able to propose a more tailored plan of action.

Speaking to Chartmetric’s Marketing Manager, Rutger Rosenborg, we’re told that the platform sports the biggest and most diverse database in the world, with daily tracking for over 8 million artists across over 25 sources. As with many other platforms, Chartmetric is particularly adept at aggregating complex datasets into easy to digest metrics, assigning a ‘rank’ to both artists and releases. Giving A&R teams the means to filter based on exact specifications is undoubtedly a boon. “Most A&R teams understandably keep their Chartmetric strategies close to the vest, but we find that using the Artist Filters on the Artists List is one of the most powerful ways to comb through millions of artists and drill down to exactly the kinds of artists you’re looking for.” Rutger tells us, “Now that we’re back in a singles business, the filters on our Tracks List is also a powerful tool for track and artist A&R purposes.” 

The platform even points out those that its algorithms have determined are on the road to success already, via a useful Prediction Model feature. This smart, algorithmic-driven system displays around 500 artists that it views as a safe bet for investment. Scrutinising Spotify streams primarily, the feature allows A&R teams to drill down by genre. “There’s not really a problem finding good artists to discover; the difficulty, if you’re an A&R person, is finding artists who could fit. You can then invest if you have the skills to add to what the artist is doing in order to lift something which is small.” Chartmetric’s CCO Chaz Jenkins told Music-Tomorrow.com. 

As with evaluating any social media-based brand, audience engagement and retention matter more than the flat quantity of listeners. If an artist or producer can prove that they have been making significant headway in that regard, the interest of labels and managers will be piqued. Rutger explained to us how Chartmetric can be beneficial for self-sufficient artists. “From our social media channels to our blog and learning hub, our aim is to empower artists with the knowledge they need to get the most out of the Chartmetric platform, both through understanding how to use Chartmetric features and also how to apply them to the real world.” Rosenborg says, before pointing out that the company’s acquisition of one-sheet generator onesheet.club is an important step for making the platform’s metrics even more simpler for artists to use.

As Chartmetric develops, more artist-aimed features appear to be just on the horizon. “We’re constantly rolling out new features, and I think some of the most exciting ones coming down the pipe include Songwriter Pages and Venue Pages. Most importantly, we want to make the platform more intuitive and actionable so that users spend less time analysing and more time executing.”


Chartmetric is far from the only platform offering deep-level analytics. Just look across at the more artist-aligned platform Viberate. Using aggregated data, Viberate ties together numerous strands of the live, studio, venue, streaming and venue worlds into a neatly displayed dashboard of information. “Viberate was officially launched in 2017, but the idea was born back in 2012 when we started a side project for ranking electronic music DJs called TopDeeJays.” Viberate’s Denis Čalaković explains to us. “We were managing the biggest Slovenian techno DJ and worked with hundreds of artists through his record label at the time, so we needed some kind of a tool that would put their social media stats into context and help us track the artists’ growth.”

Čalaković explains how the platform’s industry-spanning scope was hit upon accidentally; “As the platform grew, other genres and entities were added to the mix, and it soon became clear that this is a project with a potential to change the music industry as we know it. Viberate’s database has all the artists interconnected with the labels, festivals, venues and events creating a complete music ecosystem with everything in one place which is one of our main advantages. It is carefully curated, which eliminates double entries and other discrepancies.”

Another source of pride for Viberate is its slick UX design. “Our simple, intuitive and aesthetic UX appeals to all user groups.” Denis proudly shares, “We combine social media stats with streaming and airplay data to form comprehensive and customisable dashboards that serve a broad spectrum of music industry professionals.” 

Viberate seems to be more artist-aimed than its competitors, as Denis details; “On their artist page, they can monitor all aspects of their career, from their social media stats, such as their fanbase growth and engagement, and the geolocation of their fans, to their performance on streaming platforms, which includes the most relevant KPIs, such as Spotify playlists or radio airplay placements. Artists can even see how they measure in comparison to other artists from their genre with the help of our Viberate chart or Compare artists feature. We also enable them to explore and discover suitable venues and festivals for booking purposes.” 


It’s an undeniable fact that harnessing platforms such as the two highlighted can equip artists and producers with the insights that previously were only dreamed of. “Speaking as an artist myself, I do think analytics are unavoidable at this point—from Spotify for Artists to Instagram Insights, there really is no getting around it.” Chartmetric’s Rutger Rosenborg says, “That said, artists should always focus on creating music first and foremost. Once the music is there, data analytics paired with the right strategies can really be powerful for helping that music reach the right ears.” 

It’s a view echoed by Denis Čalaković, “We cannot disregard the huge impact social media has on artists’ career development. Understanding and correctly addressing their fanbase has become vital for their success and a comprehensive analytical tool will definitely help with that. Almost every platform now has a designated artist backend, which demonstrates the need for artists to access this info, so here we are bringing it all together in one place and putting it in context.”

While the aforementioned platforms, and similar services from the likes of Beatchain, Soundcharts and PlayTreks require subscription fees, it’s really a cost worth paying once you grasp the centrality of analytics today. With A&R and labels so plugged in to this new means of navigating the music world. Harnessing data is arguably essential for success.