Sony Music has signed onto Artist Growth’s novel approach to data that fills a void in the music industry. Artist Growth is a cloud-based tool for web and mobile that allows touring artists to track finances, merchandise and royalties. The company’s month-old AG Accel repurposes that data to further Artist Growth users’ careers.
AG Accel partners — which also include managers, booking agents, distributors, brand sponsors, and Universal Music Group subsidiary Caroline — have access to artists’ self-reported touring data such as ticket, merchandise and recorded music sales. Users of Artist Growth’s premium level of service can opt to make their data available to partners.
Data has increasingly become a part of the A&R process. Labels now have a wealth of information at their fingertips: number of plays on various streaming services, social media followers, the interest of Shazam users, and, of course, sales at physical and digital retail. It’s possible to track changes in a range of metrics when a song is added to radio or an artist plays on television. The trick is figuring out which metrics hold the most value.
What also makes AG Accel interesting is the type and weight of its data. The data typically followed and analyzed by record labels conveys little information about the weight of a consumer’s interest. What is the value of an Instagram follower to a rapper or a Vevo stream to a pop singer? AG Accel data says a great deal about fans’ level of interest. A fan that attends a concert and buys merchandise communicates a far level greater level of interest than social media follower or a streamer.
“How information is gathered and ultimately used is paramount in our goal to distance ourselves from competition, and we view touring data as another key metric in this equation,” Justin Eshak, vp of A&R at Columbia Records, said in a statement. In an era of multi-rights deals that can give labels a share of touring and merchandise revenue, this type of data shouldn’t be overlooked.