A Quick Music Data Exercise — Matching Shazam Data to other data sets

For Artists and Management Teams — Do you see a big pop in your music consumption numbers for the week? Take a stab at identifying “the why”

7 min readDec 20, 2022


Hello friends and happy holidays. I have NOT been finding the time to write as much as I would like this late fall / early winter of 2022. I am starting to find my Music Data Pro consulting business grow. The volume of new clients is increasing, with the primary focus of the work organizing music metadata and publishing registrations for artists (and their teams) and independent record labels — parties who have a fair amount of music catalog. I am also writing a research piece for Water & Music that is pretty comprehensive, but I don’t want to tease that one until it’s ready for release.

But to close out the year with something new for readers — here’s a music analytics exercise I can write up pretty quickly, especially as it’s an exercise I undertake regularly with my own music project, FSQ (Funk Style Quality), a six person production team I lead.

It should be a weekly practice for artists (and their team) like myself to look at the weekly music consumption reports offered to independent artists directly from the DSPs.

On that note, this past week I checked FSQ’s “Apple Music for Artists” dashboard and noticed that there was a spike in listeners Shazaming FSQ tunes.

In fact on one day, Saturday, December 10th there were 168 Shazams queries made of songs from the FSQ catalog.

146 of the Shazams, or 86% of all Shazams made that day were of FSQ’s song “Vibe Out Now (Michael The Lion Remix)”. This was a 1,822% increase from the past month in terms of Shazam’s made of that song.

168 Shazam queries were made on FSQ songs on a single day — Saturday, December 10th. The average number is usually about 5 daily Shazams. Dashboard view: Apple Music for Artists.
146 of the Shazams made on Saturday, December 10th identified a single FSQ song, “Vibe Out Now (Michael The Lion Remix)”. Dashboard view: Apple Music for Artists.

I’m pretty familiar with this data exercise so I understand that a pop of Shazam activity around listeners identifying a single song means that a song got some radio airplay, or possible play by a DJ in a big club.

The step I undertake to confirm such an event is to view the Shazams by location. On December 10th, of the 168 successful Shazams, completed content ID requests that identified FSQ songs, 157 or 93% of all Shazams were made in France, with 57 of those being specifically from Paris, or 38% of all Shazams.

Over 90% of the Shazam activitiy on Saturday, December 10th was originating from France. Dashboard view: Apple Music for Artists.

Since only 38% of the Shazams were in Paris, I can assume that FSQ song “Vibe Out Now (Michael The Lion Remix)” was played over a larger area in France on December 10th. So that rules out a DJ playing the song at a club in Paris, because you would only see Shazams made from that location vs the 93 Shazams of FSQ that were made from across France, outside of Paris. I can now assume that the song received some radio airplay somewhere in France, and that is what drove the Shazam activity.

One of the issues that faces any artist marketer who is trying to track radio airplay is that each platform that offers radio airplay monitoring displays the data set a bit differently. More importantly, some radio monitors only track broadcast radio while others are only catching the online streams of broadcasters and internet only radio players. Each radio monitoring platform has a specific set of stations (broadcast and online) they monitor, so one platform may catch airplay of a specific song, while another may not if it they do monitor the station where the airplay occurred.

Chartmetric shows me that two stations they monitor played FSQ songs on December 10th, but it’s a bit difficult to drill down further on the specific songs played from their dashboard (though it can be done, it takes a few extra clicks). I happen to know Radio Nova is French, and “YOU FM” I just googled — they are a German public broadcaster.

Chartmetric Radio Airplay dashboard for FSQ shows 2 radio airplays on FSQ songs on Saturday, December 10th.

Radio.Tools monitor seems to capture a wider set of internet-only stations, but did it not indicate ANY French airplay on December 10th. Instead only one play on that date — this time from the UK — and a station I have never heard of, FUNK2DISCO. I tried to investigate what “FUNK2DISCO” is — it seems to be an online only radio channel actually run out of Radio Monaco, but the details on the airplay or station are scant. Regardless of marking that event, Radio.Tools completely missed the French (and German) radio airplay made on December 10th as indicated by Chartmetric.

Radio.tools dashboard for FSQ shows NO radio airplay of FSQ songs in France on December 10th.

I find SoundCharts radio monitoring dashboard to be the easiest to read, under the view “Live Feed”. I see that SoundCharts captured 2 French radio airplays of “Vibe Out Now (Michael The Lion)” remix — versus the 1 French airplay captured by Chartmetric. SoundCharts did not pick up the raddio airplay by German broadcaster YOU FM.

There are two notes of French airplay on the 10th of December as SoundCharts monitors the Radio Nova station in Bordeaux (southern France), not just the main Radio Nova station in Paris. Given that the FSQ song received two spins on stations across France, it makes sense that the distribution of the Shazams of the song on December 10th were from across the country.

SoundCharts dashboard shows two spins of FSQ’s “Vibe Out Now (Michael The Lion Remix) — one on Radio Nova Paris and the other on Radio Nova Bordeaux. The airplay happened at the same time so it’s like the Bordeaux station is a simulcast of the Paris station.

157 Shazams of the FSQ song seems like a lot, which makes one wonder how many people were listening to the song Radio Nova FM in Paris and Bordeaux, both using terrestrial broadcast radio and online methods (streaming) when the song played.

There is no publicly available data on Radio Nova FM’s average listenership. SoundCharts has a data point called “Radio Reach” which for the two stations combined is 1.86 million. Yet they define “Radio Reach” as:

Radio reach is the sum of followers across the station‘s official Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

That’s hardly the same metric as average hourly listenership to the station.

The goal of this exercise was to find the source of the Shazams of a particular song within FSQ’s music catalog. The result?

I discovered that 157 Shazams in France on December 10th were driven by Radio Nova Paris and Radio Nova Bordeaux playing FSQ’s “Vibe Out Now (Michael The Lion)” at 8:12pm local Paris time on that date.

I wonder what those 157 people who identified the FSQ song using Shazam did after they heard it.

I can take the data exercise farther and see if the radio airplay and subsequent Shazam activity drove further streams of the song. At first glance of the next data set — streaming metrics for that song made on or after December 10th — the answer is NO. That song did not pop out in terms of streaming consumption against the rest of the FSQ catalog.

I checked the streaming consumption data on Deezer, a popular French streaming service. I discovered that the day after “Vibe Out Now (Michael The Lion Remix)” was played on Radio Nova Paris and Radio Nova Bordeaux, the song was played 10 times on December 11th. That day marks the first time anyone on Deezer played the song since the day after its release in late September 2022. So the radio airplay had a local impact on streaming consumption, albiet small.

French radio airplay of FSQ on December 10th led to some streaming activity on Deezer the next day after airplay. Deezer for Artists dashboard for FSQ.

It’s very difficult to take the “Radio->Shazam->Streaming” conversion funnel analysis much further given what data sets the music streaming services offer. They don’t let you really drill down to specific dates or events. I do believe that the French radio airplay of FSQ on December 10th drove more streaming consumption of FSQ across all platforms, but it is almost impossible to say that it was the specific song played on the radio or all songs, etc that benefitted. Looking at the Spotify for Artists data, I do see that Paris and France are the third biggest audiences in terms of listeners in specific cities or countries.

Would you like me to like me to uncover artist marketing trends using similar exercises with your artist streaming data and radio airplay metrics? Get in touch at chuck@musicdatapro.com. Happy Holidays — Chuck Fishman




Music Data Pro by Chuck Fishman: in depth about music marketing + data — specifically marketing musical artists on streaming services, streaming + radio.