See Things Differently
The BBC have just launched a Sound Index of “The Top 1000 Artists” based upon a 6-hourly scan of MySpace, iTunes, Google, Bebo, Last.fm and YouTube. The chart counts plays, profile views, comments and downloads to produce a Top 1000. Currently, Mariah Carey tops the inaugural chart followed by Britney, Leona, Rhianna and The Kooks. The Power Bar Key under each artist provides a facinating insight in to which artists are popular on which networks, or which are popular via downloads or social networks.
Million have been publishing an “engagement chart” with Musically since January and so this chart is both welcome, and a pain in the arse. On the one hand, the BBC are using license fee money to inhibit commercial enterprises. We can neither hire IBM to do our analytics or use BBC resources to market our chart.
On the other hand, ultimately the chart is just a list of artists and throws up more questions than it answers. Why are artists more popular on some networks than others? Do YouTube plays lead to download sales? How do you promote artists on the individual networks? What about the networks not listed here, for instance, the hundreds of music blogs or iLike, Facebook, NME, Drowned In Sound? Why only one retailer and one that caters to such a narrow slice of the audience?
Music engagement is going to be crucial for artists, labels and management in future, understanding that sales alone are no longer the sole indicator of an artists popularity. Or that people engaging with an artist counts for more than merely listening. Although the hows, whys and wheres are still being worked out labels in particular need to start investing time to understand the implications. Artists need to figure out which network is right for them.