Services such as Spotify and Rdio are responsible for an increasing percentage of music consumption. And apps, such as Turntable.fm that are focused on engaging fans over simply messaging them, are making major changes in how listeners connect with music.
With the rise of truly interactive music experiences such as these, there is an abundance of data describing everything from streaming song counts to conversation rates of direct-to-fan marketing channels. The challenge is aggregating and understanding this data, and much of the discussion at SXSW 2012 was on how to do this.
Billboard, Nielsen, and NARM’s Digitalmusic.org have taken a step to aggregate and report streaming data with the launch of their On-Demand Songs Chart last week. This chart measures on-demand play from a long list of streaming services including Spotify, Slacker, Rdio, MOG and Muve Music, with more data sources to be added in the coming weeks. Billboard reports that in the first 70 days of 2012, Nielsen has captured more than 4.5 billion audio streams, giving artists, managers, labels and others in the industry a detailed look into streaming consumption behavior.
Quantifying and publishing this data is important. As the music industry works to convince both consumers and itself of the value of streaming services, one of the most effective tools in the debate is metrics. The worth of streaming is an active topic with content owners that are uncertain if these services are cannibalizing their other sources of revenue.
There’s still a lot of work to be done before consumers adopt access over ownership, but by publishing charts showing levels and rankings of consumption, the process moves one big step forward.
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