Music Analytics: The Definitive Guide

Almost everything that relates to the music industry is done online these days. Streaming has dominated the market over physical releases, music videos are released and watched online, concert tickets and merch are purchased online – heck concerts can even be watched online.

Every move that we make online leaves a trail of data. This might sound unnerving, but it has huge benefits for artists in the music industry. Now, artists and their teams can comb through this abundance of data to find opportunities, measure success and failure rates, target marketing efforts, and more.

It’s nearly impossible to track how your music career is doing – especially if you’re an independent artist – if you aren’t taking advantage of music analytics today. 

That’s why we’re bringing you Music Analytics: The Definitive Guide!

We’re going to go over everything you need to know as a music artist in 2021 so you can launch (or scale) your career to new heights for years to come.

You will learn:

1) What music analytics are and why they are important.

2) The different data sources you can use to view your analytics

3) How to Organize Your Music Data

4) Spotify for Artists: Overview & Setup

5) Apple Music for Artists: Overview & Setup

6) How to Use Your Data to Grow Your Audience

Let’s get started.

What Are Music Analytics?

Analytics, in general, is the process of finding meaningful patterns in data. Patterns found in data can be used by artists in the music industry to help guide better decision-making by giving insight into things like listener habits, demographic data, and more.

To put it simply, analytics helps you figure out what’s working and what isn’t. With the increased insight that analytics gives, you and your team can focus more energy on the things that are working, and scale back or fine-tune the things that aren’t. In addition, you can use data to predict or take advantage of trends that will potentially get you more visibility.

We’re living in a Digital Age right now. Everything we do is connected to a network of some kind that collects data. 

Think about it: When you sign up for, well, pretty much anything these days, you’re asked to share your basic information. Have you ever wondered why?

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Companies use your information – your general location, age, education level, sign-in frequency, etc. – to create a picture of who you are and then predict/define your habits. 

Here’s an example: Say you are a person who identifies as female, you’re 19-years old, and you live in the United States. Based on that information, Spotify right off the bat is going to fill your homepage with music that other American, female 19-year-olds on Spotify like (pop, EDM, hip hop, rap), as well as some podcast recommendations and curated playlists.

On the other side of that, there are the artists who are being “assigned” to this population of Spotify users. Using music analytics that Spotify provides, artists can see things like the cities and states where their fans live to determine tour locations, which songs are the most popular to determine setlists, which other artists their fans like for possible collaborations, and more. 

Music analytics help artists create and target their ideal audience by figuring out where they are and what they like. This allows artists and their team to meet listeners where they already are – makes everything easier for everyone involved!

Why Are Music Analytics Important?

The music industry has drastically changed over the last 20-years. In only two decades, the music industry went from in-store CD releases to fighting online piracy, to streaming services having almost every song ever recorded and published, with millions of daily users.

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Another huge shift in the music industry came along with social media. Artists today can get closer than ever to their fans and control how much – or how little – their fans see into their personal lives. Social media allows artists to directly ask their followers what they want or what they prefer and then deliver based on the answers.

These two things, music streaming platforms, and social media come together to create an incredibly powerful system that can launch or plummet an artist’s career overnight. The outcome depends on how well you know how to use them. 

The most successful people in any industry are those who are willing to experiment for the sake of experimenting; to try new things and see if they fly or flop. Music analytics allows music professionals to experiment to their heart’s content and have accurate methods of measuring an experiment’s success or failure. 

Artists are even getting signed to major record labels because of social platforms like TikTok.

Music analytics tools have become integral to an artist’s success in the music industry today. There are hundreds of thousands of new songs released every day. How will you be able to stand out amongst the crowd if you don’t know where you stand in the first place?

The data artists have access to offer a real-time picture of how your content and brand as a whole are performing across all platforms. Once you have that clear picture you can start focusing your efforts on attracting and engaging with your audience better than ever before.

Music analytics also help you gather your data that is spread out across the vast world wide web, put it in one place via and organize it so it’s easily consumable, and compare the data to other platforms. In addition, music analytics tools can save your data so you can come back and compare new data to old every day, week, month, etc.

Being able to track your performance this way is so important to an artist’s career. Not only does it feel great to be able to see how far your career has come in a year, but you can know exactly what your fans want from you and deliver. 

Collecting and analyzing data, and acting on the results, will help you make the best decisions for your career. 

Data Sources

There are many different places you can go to collect data online. Some of your music data can be accessed directly by you and your team, other data is collected and released by the music industry. You can pick and choose which data you want to use in your music analytics, based on your specific goals. Every artist will have different data sources so it’s difficult to create a definitive list, but here are some of the top data sources in the music industry:

  1. Streaming Data

Streaming data refers to the numbers that come from streaming services that play your music, i.e., Spotify, and Apple Music. Streaming data will tell you how many times a song has been played, how many times you have been added to a playlist and library, your follower count, listener demographics, and more. 

If you want to view your music analytics on Spotify or Apple, you’ll need to create accounts on those platforms that are specifically made for artists. In a later section, we’ll go over how to set up and use Spotify for Artists and Apple Music for Artists. 

It’s highly recommended to set up Spotify for Artists and Apple Music for Artists if you’re a music artist or a professional in the music industry. Not only do the platforms have 165 million and 70 million+ users, respectively, but they offer tons of in-depth data that is valuable to your career.

  1. Social Media

Social media platforms are the most powerful tools in business today. A third of the people in the world are signed up on at least one social media platform, which means you can easily connect with your listeners around the world.

Social media data includes 

  • Reach: How many different accounts have seen your posts
  • Engagement: Who is interacting with your posts through likes, comments, reactions, story views, saves, shares, etc.
  • Impressions: How many times your posts have been seen
  • Website Visits: How many accounts have visited your website through the social media app
  • Mentions: How many times your account has been mentioned/tagged by other users

It’s usually very simple to view your social media data right on whichever platform you’re using. However, you may need to sign up for a business account, which is usually as simple as clicking a few buttons. Once your business account is activated, you will be able to see a tab that says Analytics and check up on your performance at any time.

  1. Radio Airplay

Although music streaming apps seem to be the most popular way to consume music, radio still reigns supreme. People in the United States consume about 14 times as much music as they do on music streaming platforms AND radio reaches 92% of Americans every week. Plus, music charts like Billboard consider radio airplay when determining who will be on their charts.

This information can be used by artists to target marketing efforts around the world, connect with new/existing fanbases, create a tour schedule, and more. Radio airplay is a music data source that cannot be ignored.

  1. Music Charts

Music charts use data from multiple sources to create a single, all-encompassing chart that people around the globe can use to measure an artist’s success. Their sources include radio airplay, social media rankings, digital downloads, streams, and more. 

Music chart data is important because it comes from big names in the industry, like Nielsen and Billboard, and it often tells people what they should be listening to. These various music charts have been the launch point for thousands of careers over the years.

Here is a list of terms that music charts use. It’s important to familiarize yourself with them so you can understand the status of your music when it appears on the charts:

  • New Entry: A song or an artist that is entering the music charts for the first time.
  • Re-Entry: A song or artist that is entering the charts after being out for a certain time.
  • Best Seller: A song, album, or artist that is breaking records.
  • Most Played: A song or artist that has received the most airplay, streaming, or support by DJs and radio hosts.
  • Supported By: Used to focus on important acts that are giving feedback to any song, album, or artist. Important for getting attention.
  • Radio Airplay: Plays on the radio for a certain song, album, or artist. Very important for the music charts consideration.
  • Climber: A song or an artist that is going up on the charts every week.

  1.  Video Data

YouTube is the most popular online music streaming service, ahead of Spotify and Apple Music. Everyone who uploads content to YouTube can take advantage of the analytics they offer, which include data such as view counts, number of likes and dislikes, viewer demographics, shares, comments, and more. 

One of the most valuable aspects of YouTube data is, in fact, the comments. Comments allow you to see exactly how your audience feels about the content you’re putting out there in a way that is more meaningful than pure numbers. Out of Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, YouTube is the only streaming service that has this function.

  1. Website Data

As a music professional, you’re going to have content spread out all over the place. Your website is like a home base for all of your content – a place where your audience can go to see and hear everything in one place and perhaps even discover that your content is on platforms they’re not using yet.

One of the best things about websites, in comparison to social media platforms, is the fact that artists and their teams have direct control over the content. There aren’t any terms of service or community guidelines to follow and comments to respond to. Everything on your website can be intentionally designed and controlled.

As far as music analytics go, every website builder (WordPress, SquareSpace, etc.) comes with its own analytics that will tell you things like page view counts, click-through rates, visitor demographics, etc.

Additionally, you can integrate Google Analytics with any website you own to get more in-depth and comprehensive website analytics.

What Do You Do with All That Music Data?

Knowing where to find your music data is just the first step. In the next section, we’re going to talk about how to collect your music data so you can use it efficiently.

Organizing Your Music Data

Having so many data sources is great, but you don’t want to scour the internet every time you’re looking for your music analytics. Music data software can help you collect all your music data in one place. 

Music data software automatically connects to your platforms and reads data from streaming sources, music charts, and more to gather every piece of relevant data for you. Then, it organizes everything in convenient charts and graphs so you can read and compare information in one click.

Let’s look at some popular options for music data software:

  1. Chartmetric

Chartmetric collects data from over 25 music streaming and social media platforms. Their software is designed to be used by anyone in the music industry from artists to managers, brand partners, digital marketers, and beyond. Anyone with access can see a specific artist’s analytics and how they stack up to others in the industry.

Here’s a list of Chartmetric’s most notable features:

  • Artist Profile. Get an overview of any artist’s career and music analytics
  • Radio Airplay. Chartmetrics tracks thousands of radio stations around the globe
  • YouTube/Instagram/TikTok/Apple/Spotify Analytics. View audiences in terms of gender, age, country, and common subscribers
  • Cross-Platform Performance. Compare an artist’s performance between 2 or more social media and music streaming platforms
  • Neighboring Artists. Find artists with similar metrics
  • Playlist Journeys. Compare curated playlists to decide which you should pitch to.
  • Cities Page. Find where your music is popular
  • Charts & Chart Summaries. Analytics from over 20 charts and summaries that make the data easy to read
  • Track/Album/Playlist Profiles. Keep an eye on data from specific tracks, albums, and playlists
  • Custom Reports & Charts. Select only relevant data that you want to see and compare. 
  1. Soundcharts

Soundcharts is on a mission to “organize the world’s music information and make it universally accessible and actionable.”

Soundcharts gets their data from:

  • Social Media. Soundcharts collects data from over 800,000 social media profiles and 5 million artists
  • Streaming Playlists. There is data from over 10 million playlists and 333,000 curators on Soundcharts
  • Digital Charts. Check how your music ranks on over 25,000 charts in 236 markets
  • Radio Airplay Monitoring. View data from 1,876 FM/AM radio stations in 74 countries

All the music analytics that you can view on Soundcharts is refreshed daily, so you always have the most current information. 

  1. Songstats

Songstats is a mobile-first music analytics app that is available for both iOS and Android created by the team behind 1001Tracklists.

With Songstats you can:

  • Download Reports. One-click reports great for you and your team.
  • Get Push Notifications. With their premium subscription you’ll never miss a beat, even on the go.
  • View Latest Activities. View when you’re added to playlists, charts, and even see UGC from TikTok.
  • See All Insights. Mobile friendly insights from Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok and more

You can begin to take control of your career when you have a clear vision of how you’re performing in certain areas and can compare your performance to other artists. 

Now, it’s time to take even more control by creating Artist Profiles on Spotify and Apple Music. These profiles will not only help you gather more data, but you can control the way you appear to your audiences on two of the most popular music streaming platforms, pitch your music to curated playlists, and get your music into the ears of more people!

If you already have SFA and AMFA access, let’s skip over to how you can use your data to grow your audience.

Spotify for Artists: Overview and Setup

Spotify has around 356 million monthly active users and 158 million premium subscribers. These numbers make Spotify one of the most widely used music streaming platforms in the world. 

Spotify is a great platform for internationally known, up-and-coming, and brand-new artists that have never been heard by a large crowd. Signed and unsigned artists alike are welcome to use Spotify for Artists to get their music on the platform and heard by new audiences around the world. 

This section is dedicated to Spotify for Artists and we’re going to go over how to get your account set up and what kind of data you can collect with this tool.

Spotify for Artists Overview

To create a Spotify for Artists account, you must work with a digital distributor, as Spotify does not allow artists to upload their music directly to the platform. You could also be working with a record company that is in charge of uploading your music, but they will receive it from a distributor, also. The route you take will depend on your resources, connections and or budget.

Once you have a digital distributor, you can get your music onto any and every platform, including Spotify.

Once your music is on Spotify’s platform, you can claim it through a Spotify for Artists account. 

Spotify for Artists allows you and your team to:

  • View listener data
  • View streaming data
  • Promote your music
  • Manage your artist profile

Claiming Your Spotify for Artists Account

Note – some distributors have instant Spotify for Artists verification and access (such as DistroKid, TuneCore, Amuse and others).

If you did not get instant verification…

  1. Go to artists.spotify.com and click on “Get Access”
  2. Select continue and search for your name or your band’s name
  3. When you find the name that you’re looking for, log into your Spotify account or the one that will be used to manage your Artist profile
  4. Select “Yes, claim it” and then “Yes, continue”

After you select to continue, you will be asked to provide your artist information, including your website, your Twitter, and your Instagram. This information will be used by Spotify to verify your identity. Spotify will review your claim request and get back to you within 3-days. 

Spotify will send you an email when your claim request is approved, and you can immediately start taking advantage of Spotify’s music analytics the next time you sign in.

Spotify for Artists Music Analytics

Now that you’re all signed up for Spotify for Artists, you can start analyzing your data. And, boy, does Spotify have a lot of data for you to look at. 

  • Stats for your songs. When Spotify first introduced Spotify for Artists, it only displayed data on songs that got over 1,000 steams. Now, you can view data for your top 200 songs.
  • Time filters. You can filter your data to see what was happening with your streams in the past 7-days, 28-days, and since 2015. This is a great tool to see how far your career has progressed since getting your music on Spotify and you can use it to determine significant events in your career.
  • Follower data. Your followers on Spotify are the people who love you enough to “follow” all your activity. Your followers will get your music in their Release Rader (a personalized playlist, released every Friday), local concert notifications, and more. 

Adding Your Team to Spotify for Artists

As an artist in the music industry, your team is your most valuable asset. They can join your Spotify for Artists account to help analyze your data, promote your music, and manage your profile. 

  • Artists and managers: Ask to be invited by someone who already has Admin access. If you are already working with a digital distributor, you will automatically get access to Spotify for Artists.
  • Labels and distributors: Ask to be invited by someone who already has Admin access (artist or their manager). You can create a label team to gather everyone in one place. Just as with Spotify for Artist requests, yours will get manually reviewed. You will have to share tracks or albums that your company owns to be approved by Spotify.

Other Advantages to Using Spotify for Artists

Once you and your team are all together on Spotify for Artists, you take advantage of all the features they have to offer in addition to music analytics.

  • Concert announcements. Spotify works with Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, AXS, and Songkick to bring your followers local concert announcements. They will see your upcoming tour date, the location of your concert, and can follow the link to quickly purchase tickets.
  • Sell merch. Everyone loves good band merch. You can sell yours on tour, your website, and now you can even sell it on Spotify for Artists (through Merchbar).
  • Be seen with popular artists. Spotify is great at curating playlists for its users. Now that you’ve signed up for Spotify for Artists, you can propose your songs to the playlist creators and be seen by more people, with the likes of other artists that you respect.
  • Songwriter credits. Spotify for Artists allows you to credit songwriters and other artists you collaborated with to create a track or album.
  • Fan Study. In May of 2021, Spotify released an in-depth look into different fanbases around the world and how they listen to music. This data can be really useful for artists that want to learn more about their audiences.

How to Pitch Your Music to Playlist Creators

Artists that use Spotify for Artists can pitch their music directly to Spotify’s curated playlist creators. The process is simple and can be done right from your account.

  • Choose an unreleased track that you want to pitch (it must be unreleased)
  • Log into your Spotify for Artists account on your computer. Navigate to ‘Catalog’ and ‘Upcoming’ tab to see your upcoming releases.
  • Select ‘Submit a song’ next to the track you want to pitch – you can only select one track to pitch
  • You will be prompted to enter track information (genre, subgenre, mood, style, language, instruments, etc.). Fill out every field completely and accurately. This data is used to determine which playlist(s) your track will appear on if approved.
  • Select the city you most identify with – not necessarily the city you’re from, but the city your music is most popular in (use your Spotify analytics to find this!)
  • Describe your song in your own words. Be as detailed, honest, and vulnerable as possible. Tell Spotify exactly why your track should be on the next curated playlist.

Now that you know what Spotify for Artists is, how to get signed up, and the different features you can use, it’s time to hop on over to the next platform: Apple Music

Apple Music for Artists: Overview and Setup

Apple Music for Artists allows artists to see where in the world their music is played, pinpoint exactly where their music is the most popular, and see which tracks and albums are performing the best.

With an Apple Music for Artists account, artists and their team can also see how many plays come from playlists and radio stations that are generated by algorithms. In addition, since Apple acquired Shazam in 2018, you can gain insight into all your Shazam analytics, too. 

Once you’ve created your Apple Music for Artists account, you’ll be able to view all your Apple Music data in one place. Here’s a breakdown of the music analytics you’ll get:

  • Plays. Plays are recorded when a user listens to one of your tracks for at least 30-seconds. Plays data comes from your albums and Apple Music radio stations
  • Average daily listeners. These numbers come from the average number of daily unique listeners within a selected timeframe
  • Purchases. The number of times a customer buys your song or album from the iTunes store
  • Shazams. Anytime your music is found using the Shazam app or a partner app that uses Shazam
  • Milestones. A complete list of insights and all-time bests for your songs, albums, Top Plays, Top Shazams, and when your music has been added to an Apple Music editorial playlist
  • Video views. How many times an Apple Music user watched your music video for at least 30-seconds
  • Pays by age. Gain insight into how old your listeners on Apple Music are
  • Radio spins by continent. Apple Music offers a map with data that shows where your radio airtime is most frequent. 

All the data that Apple Music collects can be downloaded to your computer or device of choice. 

How to Set up Apple Music for Artists

To set up an Apple Music for Artists account, you will need to verify your identity. If you are setting up the account on behalf of the artist, you will have to verify your relationship to them. 

  1. Sign in to Apple Music for Artists with your Apple ID. If you don’t have an Apple ID, you can quickly create one through Apple Music
  2. Once you’re signed into the Apple Music for Artists page, click ‘Request Artist Access’
  3. Make sure you claim the correct artist page by copy and pasting your iTunes store link into the search bar. You can choose to search by the artist’s name if you’d like, but the copy-paste method might be faster and easier.
  4. Choose one of your albums to verify that you are on the correct artist’s page
  5. Select your Role
  6. Fill out all the application fields that are required for verification. You can speed up the verification process by connecting your social media accounts, digital distributor, or Shazam for Artists account. Basically, the more information you have on the internet about yourself as an artist, the easier and faster the verification process goes.
  7. If you have a manager, you can make them an Admin on your account. Account owners and Admins will be in control of sending invited and approving/denying account access requests.

How to Manage Access to Your Apple Music for Artists Page

Whoever creates the Apple Music for Artists page is automatically assigned the Administrator role. This can be changed later if you want. 

Three roles can be assigned within Apple Music for Artists:

  • Administrator. More the one user can be assigned an Admin role. These users control who has access to the artist’s page, can view analytics, share milestones, and update artist information
  • Analytics. These users can view artist data and share milestones but cannot make any changes to the account or grant access to other users
  • Profile editor. These users are allowed to upload artist images only

As your career grows and changes, so will the list of people you want to have access to your Apple Music for Artists account. You can remove users at any time by going to your user list, clicking their name, and selecting ‘Delete’.

So, now that you have data coming at you from social media platforms, streaming platforms, radio stations, music charts, and more… what do you do with it? Use it to your advantage.

Using Your Data to Grow Your Audience

Music professionals use music analytics tools to grow their audiences, connect better with fans, and manage their careers. With so many tools available it’s easier than ever to gather data and make well-informed decisions – decisions that will benefit you, as an artist, and your fans. 

Here is how data can help you grow your audience:

  1. Set realistic goals

To set realistic goals, you need to have information and a way to measure success. Music analytics allow you to gather data from user trends and previous activities so you can start brainstorming what kind of goals you need to set. Otherwise, you will be doing too much guesswork and wasting time. 

Music analytics shows you which goals are possible to achieve, which ones you should focus on right now, and which ones aren’t currently possible. If there are certain goals that you want to achieve, you can start looking for ways to improve your analytics where they are lacking.

Let’s say your goal is to increase your followers on Instagram by 1,000 by the end of the month. You can use Instagram data to see what your followers like and are sharing, create more content like that, and watch the numbers grow.

Don’t know where to start with your goal setting?

We have a free goal map in our course Get Your Music Heard that you can download below.

Download Now

  1. Reveal your target demographic

Your target demographic is so important – this is the group of people who are going to be the most engaged with the music and content you post on social media. You will likely have an idea of who your target demographic is, based on what you know about which groups of people generally like which kinds of music, but analytics helps you go much deeper than that.

The data you collect from different platforms that share your music will tell you more about user behavior, where they are located, what other kinds of music they’re interested in, and more. You can use this data to create content that your specific audience is really going to enjoy because you know what they like and what they’re looking for.

In Get Your Music Heard, you will also find a target audience worksheet to help you define your target demographic (which you can download below).

Download Now

  1. Segment your audience

Music analytics helps you divide your audience into smaller groups that are specific and easier to measure. This will help you create content that speaks directly to the members of these audiences, instead of trying to appeal to the whole audience. When you try to appeal to too many people at once, you risk creating content that everyone finds irrelevant.

Once you know which demographics make up your audience, you’ll be able to better meet their needs.

  1. Create personalized marketing campaigns

Once you’ve broken down your audience into smaller segments, you can start creating marketing campaigns that are designed just for them. For example, you can have a campaign designed for your audience in Latin America, another designed for the middle-aged group, another for teenage girls, and one for men in their twenties. 

It’s more effective to create individual campaigns that appeal to each segment of your audience than an overarching one that appeals to all of them. Why? Because your entire audience might not have much of anything in common except, well, YOU! You need to target them individually before you can attempt to bring them all together under a single campaign – whether through email, paid ads, and everything else in between.

  1. Increase memberships

These days, there are so many platforms where artists can create content just for subscribers. You can have a fan page on your website, sell exclusive content through websites like Patreon, send out special offers to email subscribers, and more. 

Music analytics can help you optimize membership campaigns to drive more people to paid and unpaid subscriptions. Instead of guessing what people want out of their membership, you can ask them directly by sending out surveys and collecting the data or looking at past trends to see what has worked in the past. 

For example, you might ask your Instagram followers to join your email list to be the first to know when your new single comes out. Then, you could reward them for pre-ordering by giving them a coupon, sticker, or exclusive access to something you offer. If this campaign works well, you know that you can use it again next time you release a single and check your analytics to make it even better next time. 

  1. Monitor what people are saying about your online

Analytics help you track everywhere your name is mentioned online through hashtags and mentions. You can also check how effective ad campaigns are, learn where your audience is located, and what they are interested in by looking into the other types of accounts they follow, watch, and listen to. 

You can use this information to optimize the content you put on social media, streaming platforms, and your website. By creating content that your audience loves, they’re more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. Make sure all your content is easily sharable so your fans can spread the word about you in just a few clicks. 

Grow Your Audience with simpl.

simpl. offers music marketing services for artists that are internationally known and artists that are just breaking out of their parent’s garage. We will help you get set up on every platform, give you the best music analytics tools in the game, and help you make sense of the data we collect. Then, we will use that insight to create marketing strategies for every channel.

Our strategies at simpl. work because our teams are composed of music professionals with years in the game. We’ve been using these strategies for years on our own music projects! Most follow best practices – we create them.

We would never give you advice that we wouldn’t take ourselves. The thing is – we’ve already made all the mistakes there are to make. Now that we’re seasoned pros, we want to help you avoid those mistakes and use every resource we must get your music heard.

We’re ready to get started when you are.