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Although most artists approach their careers from a less scientific angle Shelita Burke, a data scientist and cryptologist in addition to being a musician, has taken a different approach, using science and technology to her advantage in her businesslike method of running her career.

While some artists view their careers with a sort of “If you build it, they will come” mentality, pop singer-songwriter Shelita Burke definitely doesn’t. As a data scientist and cryptologist, she has a very deliberate, almost scientific approach to reaching fans. And she likens releasing and promoting her music to running a small business.

When she was younger, Burke said she saw the opportunity that the Internet could eventually provide to independent artists. “At an early age I knew, I need to learn how this world works and how to build things,” she says. She started programming when she was eight, and after graduating from the Northwest College of Art & Design, she went on to become a senior data engineer at Microsoft while playing shows at night. She left a couple years ago to pursue music full time.

Now, despite not having the support of a major label, that self sufficiency has managed to help Seattle-born, LA-based artist appear on the Pandora Predictions Chart, which measures social growth to predict the up-and-coming artists who are most likely to make their first-ever appearance on the Billboard 200 in the next year. Previous charters include “New Rules” singer Dua Lipa and buzzy boy band Why Don’t We. All on her own, she’s managed to grow her “tribe,” as she calls it, to right around 300,000 followers on Twitter. That’s not Bieber numbers, but it’s on par with — and in some cases, much higher than — several artists who have had multiple songs on the Billboard Hot 100.

It’s during the lead-up to her latest EP Special — out Friday — that her music has started to go viral. “Drive” has racked up over 2.5 million listens on SoundCloud, while her latest single “There” surpassed 1 million plays in 24 hours. Much of this, undoubtedly, has to do with the music on Special itself, which marks a shift away from the acoustic sounds of her earlier career and more toward a more synth-driven pop sound. But Burke thinks it also has something to do with her use of data to her advantage, like when she determined that 90 days was the perfect time to release new music in order to keep fans engaged.

“I really believe that every artist needs to understand data,” Burke says, “because then you can know who your audience is and what they like and how to give them what they want. Data is the solution to understand how to build a bigger audience.”

It’s during the lead-up to her latest EP Special — out Friday — that her music has started to go viral. “Drive” has racked up over 2.5 million listens on SoundCloud, while her latest single “There” surpassed 1 million plays in 24 hours. Much of this, undoubtedly, has to do with the music on Special itself, which marks a shift away from the acoustic sounds of her earlier career and more toward a more synth-driven pop sound. But Burke thinks it also has something to do with her use of data to her advantage, like when she determined that 90 days was the perfect time to release new music in order to keep fans engaged.

“I really believe that every artist needs to understand data,” Burke says, “because then you can know who your audience is and what they like and how to give them what they want. Data is the solution to understand how to build a bigger audience.”

Recently, Burke used her data expertise to try to solve a much more complex problem: Getting paid, and getting paid fast. A lot of times, Burke says her royalties don’t pay out for six to nine months. On top of that, music metadata — the data that credits the producers, writers, performers of a song — can be messy at best, as there is no one centralized authority where accurate data is stored. So for the release of Special, Burke decided to use blockchain technology to sort it out herself.

For those who are unfamiliar with blockchain, Burke compares it to a shared global spreadsheet of data where there is no central authority. Unlike other databases, once data is introduced into a blockchain, it can’t be deleted. In the case of music metadata, it’s a way to automatically link a song to the people who worked on it. Burke made her music available via bitcoin. Payments were then automatically sent to all the producers and writers who worked on a song using an Ethereum smart contract within minutes.

Burke isn’t the only artist to propose Blockchains as a potential solution. This summer, singer-songwriter Imogen Heap wrote in Harvard Business Reviewthat blockchain “could help musicians make money again.” Back in 2015, her song “Tiny Human” became the first song to automatically distribute payments via an Ethereum smart contract.

While Burke doesn’t think blockchain is the only solution for royalties payment, “it’s a step in the right direction,” and one other artists should consider taking.

“People have always looked to artists as basically the way of the future, as influencers,” she said. “It’s up to artists to move along technology in new ways.”

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com on Oct. 20, 2017.