Spotify Bets On Data To Lure Artists To Its Platform

Music streaming service Spotify is getting big, and its streaming data is now becoming valuable for artists. Today, the company announced that artists and their managers can now access a new Fan Insights portal.

In this dashboard, artists can see how many monthly listens and fans they have. But it goes much further, as you can also get location data, demographic information, other music preferences and more.

And this is key to understanding Spotify’s move. Managers can use this data before making their artists go on tour, and artists can see how a single is doing for example. The message is clear — when it comes to promotion, distribution, finding supporting bands and more, Spotify can help.

By providing this data for free, Spotify is trying to convince artists that there are many reasons why they should be on Spotify. Artists like Taylor Swift can thrive without Spotify and have many other data points, but small upcoming bands could use this data for their first tour. And anything that makes artists more dependent on Spotify is a good thing for the company.

Spotify is also competing with other services, such as YouTube and SoundCloud. These two services have always provided location data for instance. But YouTube isn’t focusing exclusively on music, and SoundCloud doesn’t have as many data points as Spotify.

With today’s release, Spotify plans to let every artist access their data. You have to request access for now, but it’s going to open to everyone soon.

Spotify has made a big bet on data with its acquisition of The Echo Nest. It leverages data to create official Spotify playlists with the help of music curators. And it now automatically generates Discover Weekly playlists for all users.

Creating an insight dashboard for artists is a tiny part in a broader data-heavy strategy. But artists will certainly love this move, and Spotify needs to pay attention to its relationships with artists.

The company also shared some usage numbers. There are now 75 million users on Spotify, and they listen to 1.7 billion hours of music every month. Quite an impressive number.

Update: An earlier version of this post said that Spotify Fan Insights was available for artists and labels. It is only available to artists and their managers, not their labels. Spotify provided the following statement:

Fan Insights is currently a limited beta built specifically for artists and their managers. We offer a Label Analytics Dashboard which is geared towards presenting data to labels rather than directly to artists and managers, and therefore contains different data.

In the future, we will enable account owners to grant access to anyone on the artist’s team. We intend for the data to be used to improve an artist’s strategy across the board, including sharing information with a label, agent, PR or other. This functionality is not currently available in the limited beta.

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