Pandora just announced something called the Artist Marketing Platform, offering a variety of listener data to everyone whose music is played on the Internet radio service.
In the release announcing the AMP, Pandora says the platform will offer data about each song (including the total number of plays and the number of thumbs up), as well as the number of fans who have created a station for each artist, plus geographic and demographic breakdowns of their listeners.
To make his pitch for the new service, co-founder Tim Westergren drew on his own experience as a musician — he recalled driving from San Francisco to Telluride to play a show that only drew 15 attendees, despite hours spent flyering and passing out printed invitations.
“We didn’t really know any better at the time,” he said, implying that if his band had better data, it might have made smarter decisions.
With AMP, we hope to make the day in and day out easier for artists by eliminating the guesswork. From finding out what songs are performing well to inform singles or set lists, to mapping where an artist’s fan base is to inform tour schedules, our ultimate goal is to help artists across the spectrum build and maintain their careers.
Over the years, Pandora has been criticized by musicians and others who say that streaming music services don’t pay enough in royalties. (In perhaps the most memorable formulation, David Byrne pointed to Spotify and Pandora to make his argument that “The internet will suck all creative content out of the world.”) With these new tools, Pandora may be able to make a more persuasive argument that it provides value to musicians that goes beyond its monetary payments.
I’d also guess that this data could also be connected with Pandora’s new ad products, eventually.
The company doesn’t, however, seem to be adding any ways for those musicians to make money directly — when the AMP home page mentions getting paid, it’s just reminding visitors of the company’s existing royalty system through SoundExchange.