Why performers should embrace Big Data

Published March 6, 2019   |   

Chris Karloff, the former guitarist for punk rock band Kasabian, left the band in 2006 while the band was recording one of their most successful records: Empire. Karloff felt that the band just didn’t have the right presence and if it were just a personal matter of taste, that would be fine. As it stands, however, the band launched into stardom shortly thereafter. For Karloff, a gamechanger before he made the decision that would leave him out of pocket to the tune of a couple of million, would have been the use of big data, where the sheer popularity of the band would have been easily distinguishable.

Real-time analytics of your target audience

For performers, there are a number of reasons why they would want real-time analytics of their audience. Patrons of Broadway are already using data which provides the theater industry with incredible insight into the ideal target audiences for specific productions. A recent test run on Broadway revealed where their patrons were from, which tickets items were the most lucrative, and the key areas they needed to improve in order to enjoy higher patronage. It also revealed that their local patrons were by far their biggest supporters at 96%, which suggested that theaters focused on productions that locals would enjoy.

That next big hit

One of the biggest spinners in the music industry – one that keeps the music bosses on their toes – is whether a song will have a lasting effect on the audience. Will it evoke emotion or encourage heads to bob and feet to tap? The University of Antwerp in Belgium has already started working on an algorithm to determine the perfect formula for writing music in the various genres. What this means for record labels and musicians alike is that writing songs to capture an audience will be broken down to a pure science. For the music artist, the science behind their artform becomes a questionable topic and might elicit some disgruntlement among purists. However, even painters and photographers make use of science to perfect their art by using formulas such as the “Rule of Thirds” to provide maximum visual impact.

Identifying and capturing superb talent

One of the biggest regrets in the performing arts, particularly, is brilliant musicians that are never discovered. For the music band Journey, finding a replacement for their vocalist Steve Perry felt like an impossible feat. The band happened to come across a karaoke session of their new frontman, who was homeless and destitute at the time. This karaoke session led him to become the new frontman for the band, but there are many other talented musicians out there who simply remain undiscovered. Companies such as Snafu Records hope to access this undiscovered portion of the global music scene by using big data that has been scraped together from all over the internet. This will undoubtedly help bands get out of the garage, kit themselves out with appropriate music gear, and enjoy stage time in front of their ideal audience.

Big Data determines what we listen to in future

Going forward, one of the biggest music streaming platforms, Spotify, has decided to use big data to simplify and improve its streaming service. This is in an effort to distribute their services to a larger audience, which will have a positive effect on musicians. For musicians, knowing that their target audiences are actively engaged by platforms such as these will have a direct impact on their royalties and other income. Big data is an essential addition for those who wish to capture their perfect audience in any of the performing arts.

Another platform that allows further insight into the music industry through the use of big data is Pandora. This platform has 450 indicators that it uses to match music as closely as possible to the listener’s personal tastes. A surprising aspect of this method is that the genre is only one of those aspects, which means that music crossovers are far more likely to feature in a playlist, for instance, those that cross various music genres such as Chuck Berry’s Maybelline. For musicians, this means that they have far more freedom in terms of their chosen genre and coloring outside the lines of their genre is no longer the taboo it used to be. In fact, this will allow the song to have more touch points on the algorithm and if done right, will pop up in more playlists.

Big data is an integral component in the music industry and for musicians, the ability to adapt to the information they receive will determine their success in the market. Record labels and music streaming services are also at the cusp of riding one of the most successful musical waves of this generation, thanks to accurate data that depicts what the listeners actually want.