Big Data – A Game Changer in the Music Industry

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For a long time, the music industry is in need of a facelift and the advent of big data seems to fulfill this. The musicians might be provided with a more successful revenue model with the emergence of big data. This represents one of the largest industry shifts that music has witnessed in many years. Let us take a look at the possibilities that big data provides for the long-suffering music industry.

A Transformation in the Revenue Model

In the last decade, the music industry’s complete revenue model has transformed. For streaming music, the music industry has not defined the royalty rates clearly till today though the streaming sites such as Spotify helped control online piracy.

Big data might transform that as it helps bring corporations and artists together more efficiently through high speed data analysis like Hadoop cluster. The data from streaming sites give organizations remarkable insights into the styles and genres their target demographic currently likes.

Though there exists a long-raging debate on “selling out,” it is beginning to look as if the strategy that is backed by big data might be the last refuge to get musicians paid.

Failure of Subscription Services

A subscription music service has been unveiled by YouTube recently. It is a move designed to enhance what some report as their “absolute advertising overkill.” The analysts criticized this move – it did not work for Spotify or Pandora.

The Possibilities for Marketing

Big data analysis is changing the path businesses follow to connect with their target demographics and the music industry will likely follow the same pattern very soon.

By using social media platforms and new ad technologies, the music industry may learn how to get a bigger digital advertising sector. They can leverage this sector into stimulating new collaborative marketing with larger brands. The ones that are already on board among these are Red Bull, Urban Outfitters and Nike.

This implies that record companies and musicians may adopt the kind of revenue-sharing model used by social networks such as Instagram.

In the last few years, the popularity of Instagram as a marketing tool has exploded. It is regarded as one of the largest engagement platforms at present. The brands are getting to promote awareness and artists are getting to share their works via tastefully-chosen advertising. The music industry is following in their footsteps and big data is playing a significant role in the switch. It may not be long before the entire albums or even music videos are sponsored by corporations.

How is Big Data Transforming Music?

Big data offers information about the motivation for listener – why do they listen to a particular artist? This is useful for the industry to spot the trends rapidly and offer exact data about the unique musical dna of a particular sector of population.

It also provides the music industry with better strategies for fan engagement. It is made possible by the relationships  between innovative brands and artists. This could solve many issues that music industry is facing today regarding music distribution. Most importantly, the utilization of big data catalog for streaming music may solve the problem regarding artist compensation. Similar to pay-per-click advertisements, many are pushing to get the artists paid by their number of plays.

Many people won’t pay for music – this is accepted widely by the music industry. The big data advances might bring a significant transformation taking the pressure off of consumers to fix the outdated revenue models of music industry. Songs are data after all. From this large collection of data, a gigantic “store” might be created over time. The artists can opt into data revenue sharing thus offering more control of the direction of their art.

Will Musicians Go Along?

There is a lot of taint about “selling out.” Many savvy artists however realize that they need to associate with businesses to achieve big goals. The music industry is preparing for the much needed changes as the big data solution is right in front of it.

Big data can enhance marketing, monetizing strategies and the seemingly former belief of artists making a sustainable living from their music. Over all, the big data may enhance the primary function of music – bringing people together.

Contributed by: Ravindra Savaram. Ravindra was born and raised in Hyderabad, popularly known as the ‘City of Pearls’. He is presently working as a Content Contributor at His previous professional experience includes Programmer Analyst at Cognizant Technology Solutions. He holds a Masters degree in Nanotechnology from VIT University.


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  1. Big Data is a game changer in every industry be it music or healthcare or education. So yes good write up.

  2. Michael Milligan says

    Nice piece, but you ignored the most desirable and unique data in the industry. There is big data out there for the music industry that has the highest CTR….even higher than Facebook. Email me and I will tell you all about it.

    • Spill the beans Michael…! 🙂

      I’m the executive music producer of a music show/ asset that broadcasts to around 300 million people on the African Continent. I’d love to work out alternative ways to take financial muscle away from the major labels and empower musicians. A very thought provoking article…