Don’t Split The Streams — Seven Reasons to Focus Music Marketing on Specific Streaming + Retail Platforms
Don’t Split The Streams is an ongoing blog series covering music marketing topics. It focuses on maximizing stream counts and download sales on specific streaming services and retailers such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Beatport, Traxsource etc.
Thank you to everyone who is reading this series, since I began writing it at the start of 2020. If you didn’t know it, the title “Don’t Split The Streams” was a meant to be a funny riff on the term “Don’t Cross the Streams” from the movie Ghostbusters. I’m going to continue on with the series but I thought this is a good moment to revisit its impetus.
Cross the Streams
Cross the Streams (also known as Crossing the Streams) is in reference to when two or more Proton Streams cross paths…
I write this series from the perspective of a music marketer. I market the music for my own musical group FSQ, and in this series you’ll see me present data drawn from the consumption of FSQ music.
FSQ is a six person production team spread out across the U.S., including myself. I also have extensive experience working in the music technology industry including roles held at Cisco, Acquia, Nielsen / Gracenote, Official.fm, and George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic. So music data and marketing is in my blood.
Music Data Pro - Chuck Fishman
Don't Split The Streams - Chuck's ongoing blog series about maximizing stream counts and download sales on specific…
In this post, I point in this post back to previous parts of the “Don’t Split The Stream Series” and other external articles and research that are relevant to the points I’m making. A special thank you to Platform & Stream, MUSIC X TECH X FUTURE, and Bandsintown for sharing previous posts from the series.
This is the 5th installment in the series and reviews what the points I have made so far, and presents some new ideas about why not to “Split The Streams”
Now that you have the backgrounder (again) on me, why am I riffing on that Ghostbusters “Don’t Cross The Streams” saying for this blog series?
“Don’t Split The Streams” is a way of saying, how do I as a music marketer (or a music manager or independent artist) maximize streams and sales on particular music platforms.
This is a strategy opposed to seeing songs be successful on a myriad of music platforms. Instead it’s a strategy focused on creating the biggest bang in terms of consumption / audience on a single streaming and / or music retail platform.
Note, that stream counts or sales numbers aren’t directly linked to how much a musical artist gets paid. Because a composer or a music publisher could actually own 100% of a song an artist has released. This blog series is purely focused on the marketing aspects of stream counts and sales data.
“Don’t split the streams” is to say to an artist “don’t split up your streams across too many music services”. For example, if an artist gets 100,000 streams of a single song but that listener consumption is spread across 10 different services including YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Deezer, TIDAL, etc now it really it only seems if a song got 10,000 streams. Yes it got 10,000 streams on 10 different services, but potential listeners don’t see the overall popularity of a song.
Today the only services that publicly display stream counts (or views) are Spotify, YouTube and SoundCloud. On SoundCloud, artists and record labels can turn off the stream counts so that listeners do not see them.
But I’m oversimplifying the concept “Don’t Split The Streams” it’s not necessarily all about concentrating marketing efforts on streaming platforms that display stream counts so the public sees greater consumption of an artist’s music.
Today if an artist wants a listener to hear their new album or single on any music service, they can use a multi service link to promote the release — multi link services such as Linkfire, Linktree, SmartURL, Toneden, Featurefm and there are others. These services will allow a listener to select from a menu of streaming services to hear a new release on — Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube, Deezer, TIDAL, Spotify, SoundCloud, and many other retailers and streaming services. It’s up to the artist and their marketing teams to choose which services they want to offer their release on and place them on the multi-link menu.
Offering listeners a choice of streaming services to hear a new release is one thing, but what about the time and budget capacities of a marketing team to promote the release across all those streaming services? Of course both of those are limited and therefore it makes sense to favor particular streaming services and music retail outlets in terms of marketing spend and time.
Why would an artist and their marketing / management team want to focus on a particular streaming or music retail platform? There are seven primary reasons.
1 ) Better to promote music on streaming services with huge subscriber bases, that also have a tremendous volume of playlists
I mentioned this chart from MIDiA Research from 2019 at the beginning of the “Don’t Split The Streams” series. If you’re a music marketer it would make sense to market your songs where the biggest audiences are … Spotify (36% of global music subscribers), Apple Music (18%) according to MIDiA.
Amazon Music is growing along with the use of the Amazon Alexa voice enabled speakers, so I’m looking forward to seeing updated research here as this is from late 2019. Counterpoint Research reports that Amazon Music subscriptions grew 104% year over year in the first quarter of 2020. And reminder these stats from MIDiA — they are tracking global music subscribers — these are the listeners who actually opened their wallet to pay for a music service subscription. So take the “subscribers” as more “engaged listeners” than just any old music streamers.
Today, I focus the bulk of FSQ’s music marketing towards Spotify, and it’s for many more reasons than just the majority of global paid music subscribers being on that platform. I’ll dig into some of the important ones — like the ability of an artist to customize their artist profile on Spotify—in the remainder of this post.
Ironically while I try to push listeners towards FSQ on Spotify, I find that many of my friends (potential fans) use Apple Music mainly because it’s tied to their cellular service subscription (Verizon).
Beyond Spotify’s large subscriber base, what keeps music marketers and independent artists focused on Spotify versus Apple Music is playlists.
Chartmetric, a popular music data / analytics platform tracks the universe of playlists across Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, and YouTube Music. At the time of this post published, Chartmetric is tracking 1.4 million Spotify playlists of which 93% are created by Spotify users, 1.3 million user curated playlists. Meanwhile, Chartmetric is only tracking about 25,000 independently built playlists on Apple Music.
Why such a HUGE difference in volume? It could be that Apple Music users are simply not publicly exposing their playlists. Also it’s my opinion that Apple Music has not really encouraged independent curators to build playlists in the way that Spotify has. Some of my feeling relates to just the way how playlists are presented on Apple Music — you don’t “follow” a playlist, you “add it to your library”. Spotify actually displays the number of followers a playlist has, which signals it’s popularity to listeners.
According to the current Chartmetric data, Spotify has 66,000 editorially curated playlists versus Apple Music’s 14,000 editorial playlists. Editorial playlists are created by staff members of the streaming service.
So there’s almost 5 times the opportunity to have an artist’s songs placed on an editorial playlist at Spotify versus Apple Music. This Chartmetric post from late 2019 is a good review highlighting the differences in playlist volume on the various streaming services.
The Top Playlist Curators on Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer
Curators are the sometimes mysterious movers and doers of the streaming world. They determine what's hot, what's not…
Both in terms of volume of independent playlists and editorial playlists, Spotify leads all other streaming services.
The potential for an independent artist’s music being shared on playlists is exponentially higher on Spotify versus any other music streaming platform.
There’s also a whole “playlist economy” that’s sprung up on Spotify, with services charging independent artists for potential placement of their songs on popular playlists.
There's So Much Music on Spotify, Artists Are Paying for You to (Hopefully) Find Them
Jvanz is a 20 year-old aspiring artist from St. Catherines, Ontario with a flexible voice and a lancing falsetto. He…
I’ll dig into that space — maybe I even want to call it the “playlist industry” — in a future “Don’t Split The Streams” post. For now, I’m just presenting the idea of artists focusing more of their marketing on Spotify because of the volume of the playlisting activity there.
Related: in part 4 of the series I detailed how one FSQ song placed on single independently curated playlist drove 30% of our overall FSQ Spotify streams for 2019.
Don’t Split the Streams — Part 4 — Making sense of Spotify Wrapped
What’s missing in Spotify for Artists? Data Triangulation
Furthermore, artists can place the playlists that they curate on their artist profiles on Spotify — which further drives playlisting activity on the streaming platform. So many popular artists beyond releasing music, also curate Spotify artists playlists, and can break new, smaller artists via these playlists.
One minor note about this Spotify feature — the playlists are created by individual users and then are posted to Spotify artist profiles. So if I’m a part of “Band Name X” and I post my Spotify playlist to my “Band Name X” artist profile, it will still say “Playlist created Spotify User Y”. The way to get around that is for an artist to brand their individual Spotify user name the same as their artist name.
Meanwhile, Apple Music recently made a change (Fall of 2020) to their artists platform which should drive the growth of playlisting. Independent artists using the Apple Music for Artists platform can now curate Apple Music playlists that will appear as “artist curated playlists” on artist profiles. So imagine now artists will have much more of an incentive to become playlist curators on Apple Music.
Hat tip to Mike Warner, Artist and Label Relations Manager at Chartmetric, who first revealed the ability for artists to now make artist curated playlists using their Apple Music for Artists account (following is his “how to” video).
As FSQ, under our Apple Music for Artists account, I curated a playlist of 50 top songs produced and released by other independent artists
FSQ Best Of 2020 - Part 1 by FSQ
Playlist · 50 Songs · Available with an Apple Music subscription. Try it free.
At the time of writing this post, I can tell this Apple Music “artist playlist feature” is very much in beta. Because while I can create artist playlists as FSQ, these playlists do not appear on our FSQ artist profile page on Apple Music (which is how the Apple Music artists playlists are intended to be displayed)
2) Promoting music on one streaming service where an artist is getting some traction will lead to more success because of the way algorithms work ; popularity begets popularity
Music streaming services have popularity algorithms that will work to push songs to users that are gaining interest from other listeners on their platform. These popularity algorithms are bleeding edge, evolving technologies and are part of the special sauce of each service. For example, this post from Dave Gershgorn of One Zero digs into some of the algorithm work in play at Spotify.
How Spotify’s Algorithm Knows Exactly What You Want to Listen To
A set of powerful algorithms use your music and your personal details to shape your entire listening experience
Beyond listening to a song, users “favoriting” or “saving” or “playlisting” a track on a streaming service serve as even more important popularity signals and the velocity of these actions by users are also important factors for the algorithms. If a song is getting popular very rapidly, the algorithms will push that song even further.
“There is also an editorial component, of course: Tracks with increasing velocity pop into a dashboard and then (a streaming service’s) content team can pick and choose songs to highlight and playlist,” says Damian Manning, of the music industry rights organization HIFI.
It’s unclear if music streaming services popularity algorithms take into account music consumption on other platforms beyond what’s happen on their own platform. Some services do want to listen to social media or third party music data (e.g. Billboard charts) to account for what songs are becoming popular to drive their algorithms. For instance, Spotify bought the recommendation platform The Echo Nest in 2014 which at the time scoured 10 million music-related web pages a day to understand what was popular in the world of music. Regardless, if an artist’s song is getting popular on one streaming service it would be important at that point to continue to promote the tune’s success on that particular service. The algorithms have started working in an artist’s favor.
For example, Manning of HIFI points out the obvious — “Spotify isn’t going to monitor the activity of a song in Deezer, so it’s only the engagement you receive in Spotify that will affect the velocity of a track in Spotify.”
Artists and their marketing teams can spot when a track is taking off on a specific streaming platform by paying attention to the analytics they receive from their digital music distributor or from artist facing data platforms the “For Artists” service offered by Amazon, Apple, and Spotify.
Norwegian media researcher Arnt Maasø — Associate Professor Clouds & Concerts research group at the University of Oslo, Norway — wrote an incredibly detailed paper in late 2019 titled “Metrics and decision-making in music streaming”. It digs into how popularity algorithms work on music streaming services, and how they impact music consumption. It also details how artist managers and marketers make decisions based on popularity data. I offer it here if you want to more details on the points I’m making here.
Metrics and decision-making in music streaming
ABSTRACT Music streaming enables the tracking of listening behavior in more detail than any previous music-distribution…
Reminder again since I already mentioned it— Spotify and YouTube are the only two music services that publicly display stream counts. SoundCloud also, but artists and record labels can turn off the display of stream counts if they like. Artists and their marketing teams should build on top of the results of popularity algorithms by touting those public stream counts. Following that approach, would call for promoting music that appears on Spotify or YouTube.
Meanwhile, listeners on those two services, will tend to gravitate towards a song in artist’s catalog that already has the highest amount of stream counts. So popular tracks only become even more popular because of user behavior.
Here’s an example of that point: In Part 3 of this series, I profiled the prolific songwriter / producer David Marston, who annually tallies up a few million streams on Spotify.
Don’t Split The Streams — Part 3 — Getting To A Million Streams
A look at music marketing campaigns — including song exclusivity to specific music streaming platforms, and how music…
Most of David Marston’s solo tracks have already scored over 1 million streams on Spotify. When a listener visits David Marston’s Spotify profile, the majority of the catalog looks similar in terms of popularity. They wouldn’t necessarily go for one tune or the other …
But for Marston’s other musical project, DejaVilla — only one tune — “Feel Me Running Away” — has over 1 million streams to date on Spotify. The next most popular tune in the DejaVilla catalog is “Suit A Rebel” with about 250,000 streams. If you are visiting the DejaVilla artist profile on Spotify for the first time and see the catalog presented — most likely you’ll first stream either one of those two most popular songs. They are popular by a very wide margin compared to the rest of the catalog which seems to be overlooked as the other DejaVilla songs only have netted somewhere between 50,000 to 5,000 streams.
DejaVilla’s profile here is a great example of how popularity and publicly displayed stream counts can both help and hurt an artist. Helpful — in that popular tracks will continue to gain stream counts at a higher velocity than songs that aren’t popular. Hurtful — in that an artist’s less successful songs aren’t as visible on artist’s Spotify profile and therefore will likely get less streams.
An artist named Medasin — who has millions streams on Spotify — complained about how Spotify does not allow him to choose which of his songs are prominently displayed to listeners. There’s no artist driven curation at the top of his catalog on his Spotify artist page. On it, there are 10 songs presented to the user based on their popularity (in the millions) and only 1 of out of 10 of them is from his new 2020 album.
There are plenty of ways Medasin and other artists can feature their catalog on Spotify — for instance, through creating “Best Of” artist playlists to display on their Spotify profiles. An artist curated playlist will guide the listener through the songs an artist intended the listener to hear first and foremost. Also there’s a section an artist can customize — it’s called “Spotify Artist Pick” which can be a featured album release, individual song or playlist created by the artist. Still, the tendency is for listeners to go right to an artist’s “Popular” song tab, and Spotify presents this area most prominently over all other areas of an artist’s Spotify profile.
Higher stream counts on particular tracks push those songs to become even more popular on specific streaming services (Spotify / YouTube primarily because of stream count visibility). Music marketers can take advantage of this positive feedback loop by promoting a song that’s becoming popular on that specific streaming service, e.g. “Don’t Split The Streams” — encourage the fans to continue to play the song on that service versus anywhere else.
3) Focusing music sales on a specific retailer can lead to greater chart impact
Music retailers Beatport, Traxsource, Juno Download and iTunes offer publicly available sales charts. If an artist and their marketing team is able to focus buyers on a particular music retailer, there’s a good chance they can chart there.
Granted, sales of audio files (paid music downloads) have decreased dramatically in relation to music streaming, which actually makes it easier for independent artists to wind up on sales charts. On iTunes, all it would take in a day is a few downloads from a specific country to chart there. Beatport, Traxsource and Juno Download are exclusively focused on paid downloads, so it would take more for an artist to chart there.
For example, A few tracks from our 2020 FSQ album, “Reprise Tonight” hit the top iTunes 10 charts for R&B / Soul genre in a few countries.
iTunes charting for FSQ happened in several countries with relatively little sales (paid downloads) — iTunes Top 10 R&B/Soul in Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, and Spain. The tunes were only the charts for a few days.
4 ) An artist may have an exclusive marketing arrangement with a streaming service or music retailer
To receive placement on editorially curated playlists or charts, an artist may be asked to exclusively offer their music on a specific streaming service or music retailer.
This kind of exclusivity arrangement is becoming more rare. What is more common is an artist focusing their fans towards listening to their music on a particular streaming service if they have a marketing arrangement with that service.
For example, if Amazon Music is giving an artist placement on playlists and other areas of the service, you would expect to see said artist pushing listeners towards Amazon Music in their social posts (Twitter, Facebook, etc) versus promoting a myriad of streaming services, or a rival, like Spotify.
I discussed reasons 3) and 4) in detail in part ONE of Don’t Split The Streams series
Don’t Split the Streams — Part 1
A look at music marketing campaigns — including song exclusivity to specific music streaming and retail platforms, and…
5) Artists should focus on streaming services where they actually receive stream counts for their productions
Why wouldn’t an artist get stream counts on a particular streaming service? Until very recently, Spotify was the only streaming service counting the streams of remix producers who are making remixes for other artists. If you are an artist with a bulk of your catalog as remixes for other artists, it therefore made sense to focus on Spotify where your profile would show your remix work and related stream counts.
The stream counts for remix productions is huge for artists in the dance music world who may have up to over 50% of their catalog consisting of remix productions. Especially at the year end, when Spotify Wrapped for Artists reports totals an artist annual streams. In part 2 of this series, I wrote about how remix and featured artists (e.g. artists making guest appearances on other main artist tracks) do not receive stream counts for their contributions, even if they have a stake in the song ownership.
Don’t Split the Streams! — Part 2 — When do artists get “stream counts”
A look at music marketing campaigns — including song exclusivity to specific music streaming platforms, and how music…
Since I wrote part 2, it appears that Apple Music recently started counting the streams of an artist’s remix work. I noted this change via my Apple Music for Artists’ dashboard, that I was getting stream counts for a FSQ produced remix.
Unfortunately it seems, in order for a remix producer to receive stream counts for their remix work in Apple Music, the production must be distributed after this summer of 2020. I say this because I’m not seeing any of our other popular FSQ remix productions appearing in our Apple Music for Artists dashboard. These remixes were released distributed before Apple Music made this change.
FSQ’s top 3 performing productions — our most streamed tracks on Spotify — are remixes for other artists. These do not appear in our artist catalog on any other streaming services because we are simply the “remix artist”. Spotify and TIDAL are the only streaming service that takes note of remix producers work and display them on the remix producers profiles.
Meanwhile, Amazon Music for Artists and YouTube Official Artist channels do NOT report stream counts for remix producers or display the remixes on a remix producer’s artist profile.
6) Artists should focus on streaming services that present their full music catalog properly
Similar to point #3, NO streaming service other than Spotify and TIDAL will show an independent artist’s appearances on “various artists” compilations, remixes, or features (usually features are vocalists, and very often rappers — singing on other artists’ tracks).
TIDAL goes one step further than Spotify, allowing for full song credits, including specific instruments. The TIDAL page for FSQ as an artist shows our credits as a remix producers on other artists’ tracks.
If FSQ were to push fans and potential new listeners to our Apple Music artist page, they would only see about 50% of our entire music catalog because Apple Music only displays our own original productions, and zero of our collaborations with other artists. While on the back end in the Apple Music for Artists dashboard they are now offering us analytics on remix production work done for other artists, they do not display the remixes in our catalog to Apple Music users.
So artists may “not want to split the streams”, and instead push their audience to specific streaming services based on how well their music catalog is presented there.
If I’m advising an artist where to promote their music based on how well they can present their brand image and depth of their music catalog, it would be on Spotify and YouTube.
Spotify allows independent artists the ability to customize their artist profile, with a hero image (banner) and add a full artist biography. Amazon and Apple for Artists offer the ability artists to add an artist photo, but that’s it. YouTube “Official Artist Channels” are highly customizable to an artist’s liking.
7) Favoring one streaming service over all the others, may allow music marketers a better view of the performance of songs
Some artists and their marketing teams go right for the vanity of Spotify statistics and want to push their audiences there because the stream counts are so prominently displayed. More audience on Spotify = higher Spotify stream counts, visible to the world.
And then there’s the year end report that Spotify offers, Spotify Wrapped for Artists, a publicly shareable summary of an artist’s performance. I write quite a bit about Spotify Wrapped for Artists in this series, including how to use it to inform future marketing decisions. Routenote, a music distribution company, writes about what new features are in the 2020 version of the annual Spotify report:
Your Spotify 2020 Artist Wrapped is ready - see how far your music has grown this year - RouteNote…
See your musical milestones in 2020 and connect with the fans that stream your music, by sharing your achievements on…
I mention the Wrapped for Artists report because some artists push their audience towards Spotify simply to boost the numbers so the report looks better. I’m oversimplifying why music marketers may not want to “split the streams” and push their efforts toward exclusively marketing an artists’ music on Spotify. I say that because beyond Spotify Wrapped, among streaming services, Spotify for Artists platform has best user experience and broadest offering of artist analytics (e.g. stream counts, playlist inclusion data, audience demographics). Some streaming services like TIDAL do not offer any direct access to artist analytics. So music marketers may favor listeners use Spotify because if Spotify is where the best offering of music data is, why not encourage the audiences to consume the music on Spotify to get a better, and deeper pool of audience data.
Each streaming music service offers specific artist analytics data points that the others do not, so for music marketers trying to understand something specific about song consumption or audience demographics, they may want to really focus on that service.
Here are some examples of the data points / artist analytics features that are exclusive to each music streaming service:
Apple Music: Shazam Data. Apple Music owns Shazam and brings the data from the consumer use of it’s audio identification app into their Apple Music for Artists platform. If listeners are Shazam’ing — trying to identify and bookmark the music of an artist they are hearing around them using the Shazam app — an artist will see the Shazam activity in their Apple Music for Artists platform. This data is very useful because it can track the airplay of an artist’s songs from the many channels and venues that put music over speakers for listeners to Shazam. Listeners may Shazam a song while it’s being played in an automobile via broadcast radio over the car stereo; in the mix provided by a DJ, live at a nightclub; or in streaming playlist airing in a hotel lobby. I wrote about how music marketers can use Shazam data available in the Apple Music for Artists platform to track the source of airplay that led listeners to Shazam an artist’s songs.
Mapping Apple Music for Artists' Shazam Data to SoundCharts Radio Play
One of my favorite weekly activities is reviewing in depth the artist analytics that roll in from the Apple and Spotify…
The incredibly difficult task of making Apple Music for Artists’ Shazam data count
About triangulating Shazams to real world events, listeners and true music fans
Amazon Music: Alexa Voice Search Data. Just like Apple Music has Shazam data, Amazon Music has a very unique artist analytics data set that no other streaming service can offer. Amazon Music for Artists takes score of how many people used Amazon Alexa voice search to request an artist’s music. If an artist wanted to really see if their fans are engaged with them, they could create a campaign where they push the fans to request their music by voice, using Amazon Alexa. They would see the campaign results via this data.
YouTube: Multiple data points that can’t be found anywhere else — including the specific time points in a song a listener (viewer) dropped out of listening to the song. That kind of information is very valuable to producers who are interested in how changes in a song affect listenership, or music video directors who are trying to create videos that keep music fans watching the clips. YouTube’s Official Artist Channels (OAC) offer up more data points maybe than any other streaming service, but since it’s not exclusively a music service that’s why I said Spotify may be the best at artist analytics.
One of the more unique data points YouTube OAC analytics offer is the ability to the use of your music in videos produced by other creators. This is important to note because many YouTube channels are hosted by music blogs who use their channels to premiere new music produced by artists. So if you’re an artist and you allow a music blog’s YouTube to premiere your latest song, you’ll actually see the stream counts our your song that music blog has posted on their YouTube channel. SoundCloud accounts hosted by music bloggers act very much the same way as YouTube accounts hosted by music bloggers in that many artists premiere their new music not on their own artist accounts, but on the SoundCloud accounts of their blogs. Plus there are DJ mixes hosted on SoundCloud that utilize the music of other Soundcloud artists. If you’re an artist on SoundCloud you’ll never get stats about your music and how it’s performing stream count wise on 3rd party accounts, or see where your music has been included in SoundCloud playlists. Of course, if you already know a 3rd party SoundCloud account posted your music, you can visibly see the stream counts on their SoundCloud. However, you would need to know when / where to look to find that — the channel name and when they are posting your music.
Meanwhile, YouTube is unique in providing such data in that 3rd party use of music is automatically funned into your YouTube OAC analytics. YouTube is able to provide this data because it scans all uploads (music and video) to identify the underlying audio in all content, very much in the way like Shazam works. The technology is known as YouTube Content ID. If video of a DJ performance uploaded to YouTube includes a track by an artist using their OAC, that artist will see the analytics from that DJ performance in their analytics dashboard.
SoundCloud: While SoundCloud skimps on providing data on how much an artist’s music is being used on 3rd party hosted SoundCloud accounts, there’s one data feature SoundCloud offers that no other streaming service seems to have. SoundCloud Insights (their artist data platform) reveals which individual SoundCloud users are listening to an artist’s catalog. All other streaming services anonymize the listeners behind the consumption of an artist’s music. And because SoundCloud allows all users to message each other, an artist can directly message a top listener (and vice a versa).
The more streaming activity a music marketer pushes towards to SoundCloud, the more opportunity for a them to know who the artist’s individual listeners are and also be able to move them towards 1:1 engagement through SoundCloud’s direct messaging feature. For instance, marketers can spark further interaction by directly encouraging listeners to buy merch or sign up for the artist’s email list. SoundCloud also reveals publicly which listeners have favorited or reposted a track of an artist, giving music marketers and artists an opportunity to identify those listeners and thank them, etc via messaging. Finally, SoundCloud’s social feature allowing users to comment on a track is very powerful, and allows for deeper fan engagement with any individual tune. A music marketer — or the artist themselves — can directly message any listener commenting on a track.
Music marketers may consider pushing their audiences to consume music specifically on each of these individual services to get better data on their listeners and how they are consuming their music. Using Spotify for Artists, a marketer can deeply mine data about how songs are performing on playlists. Apple and Amazon Music have the unique data points of Shazam and Alex respectively. YouTube offers a hefty amount of analytics that no other streaming music service offers, including the 3rd party use of an artist’s music on other YouTube channels. SoundCloud gives artists and marketers the ability to discover their top fans and directly message them.
The big question is for artists and marketers — how would you unify all these data points from multiple streaming services in one place?? For now, the answer is — “Don’t Split The Streams” — focus an audience’s attention on a particular streaming service to get a deeper pool of data there.
Thank you for reading this 5th installment of “Don’t Split The Streams” which is all about music marketing and how to maximize results by focusing efforts on particular music streaming and retail services. In the 6th part of this series — coming soon — I explore the very issue that drives the idea of “Don’t Split The Streams” — why getting comprehensive audience and consumption data is so difficult. And I detail the steps an artist or music marketer can take to consolidate music streaming and retail sales data. You can follow Music Data Pro here on Medium or go to musicdatapro.com to be informed when part 6 drops.
For now, here again are the seven reasons behind “Don’t Split The Streams”.