In the digital age, music promotion is becoming increasingly data-driven. Fans connect to music across dozens of different platforms and sites—from streaming services to social media—and all these touchpoints provide a richer picture of an artist’s listenership.

In this article, we’ll give you an introduction to music analytics and their place in the modern music industry. And most importantly, we’ll explore how you can make sense of all these fan insights with music analytics tools.

Why are music analytics so important in 2020?

The last decade has seen a major shift in music consumption. Streaming now dominates the market over physical releases, while the rest of the music ecosystem has also gone digital. Watching music videos, buying concert tickets and merch—all done online. For listeners, there’s countless different platforms, services, and mediums on which to engage with their favorite artists.

For artists and their teams, this abundance creates opportunities but also headaches. With so much content out there, how do you rise above the noise? Promoting music by blindly sending out campaigns isn’t going to work—your marketing is going to get lost. You need to grow your number of super fans by attracting and engaging with the right people.

This is where a good music analytics set-up comes in. It provides you a near real-time picture of fan engagement across all your marketing, so you can assess, compare, and optimize. Crucially, it lets you attribute success to the right marketing initiative.

Artist music data explained

So what fan insights are actually accessible for artists and their teams? Well, there’s lots of data out there, spread across the music industry’s different branches. Each artist has a different set-up and budget, so there’s no universal list of data sources, but we’ve put together a list of the top ones.

Streaming data

These are figures from inside of streaming services—number of plays, source of play, playlist and library adds, number of followers, and more.

The majority of streaming metrics are platform-specific. If you want to see Spotify stats or Apple Music stats for instance, you’ll need Spotify for Artists or Apple Music for Artists. These platforms provide really in-depth data, so it’s a good idea for artists to create these accounts. Just be aware that these analytics are detached from off-platform activities, and it can be difficult to fit streaming data into a broader marketing analysis.

Streaming services also provide figures on royalties. This data is usually separate from the other metrics, and is reported to an artist’s label or distributor on a monthly basis.

Social media data

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are core components of the music marketing channel mix. Social media is used by one in three people worldwide, and most artists are active on at least a couple of platforms. Reach and engagement rates for the content you post are available using these platforms’ own analytics tools, which often require a business account to access.

Given the variety of material you can share on social, discovering what types and forms of content perform the best really helps to optimize your posting.

Paid advertising data

Online marketing is a mix of paid and organic. Paid advertising is more targeted than organic, but the obvious downside is that it costs money. So if you’re adhering to a strict ad budget, you need access to your ads performance. Advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Business Manager offer detailed reporting so you can assess if your investment is paying off.

Ad campaigns can be run by an artist’s manager (or the artist themselves), but often it will be their label or a marketing agency in charge. Whoever set-up the ads will then have access to their results, inside of the relevant advertising platform. They should also be able to grant access to others, or at least share some of the resulting data.

Email data

Email is one of the most valuable marketing channels out there, as it’s a direct line of communication with fans. Not only does it have a larger user base than social, it also has a higher ROI (return on investment).

Fan email addresses can be gathered through a number of different channels. For instance, when fans sign-up to receive a newsletter, or via merch or tickets sites. Artists can manage their mailing lists through platforms like Mailchimp, where they can access detailed data on email engagement—such open and click-rates, and which links proved the most popular.

Distribution data

In the digital age, the primary job of distributors is to get artists’ music onto streaming services (DSPs). While select DSPs do allow artists themselves to upload music, the major ones will only work directly with distributors.

Most distributors share analytics with their artists through a dashboard. This collects stats from streaming services and online stores, giving artists the chance to review their own performance, and make informed decisions around touring and recording. While the distributor’s dashboards can be very comprehensive, they fall short at connecting off-platform data sets (social, email, paid advertising) with on-platform results (plays, follows, streams etc).

Merchandise data

If you’re selling some sweet tees, you’re probably making use of a direct-to-fan (D2F) store. These are platforms where fans can purchase merch and more straight from an artist, eliminating middle men and ensuring artists get a larger cut of the profits. Some of the most popular D2F stores include Bandcamp and Merchbar.

The data on purchases you’ll have access to varies between platforms, although at a minimum you’ll probably receive the buyer’s email address. This can be utilized in your wider marketing efforts, as long as the buyer has been informed about how you plan to use their data.

Ticketing data

Revenue from touring makes up the largest portion of most artists’ income. Given this fact, live events now form the backbone of many artists promotions, and data about ticket sales should inform your marketing strategies. It’s also incredibly useful when scheduling tours, ensuring you’re booking venues in locations with strong enough demand.

Many ticket sellers and resellers offer their own analytics if you have an account with them.

Video data

When it comes to listening to music online, Youtube is actually the most popular streaming service. If you upload videos to Youtube, or another major video platform, you’ll gain access to analytics inside the service. These stats typically include numbers about view counts and likes, but also details about your audiences’ locations and even age/gender.

For more seasoned creators, Youtube offers a partner program through which you can monetize your videos with ads.

Website data

With so much focus on social platforms, having an artist website can seem a bit old fashioned. In fact, it’s a brilliant portal to all aspects of an artist’s music. And most importantly, it’s an online space which the artist (or their management) have direct control over, as opposed to social profiles.

There’s a huge number of website builders out there, with WordPress and Squarespace amongst the most popular. These platforms all have their own CMS (content management system) — the application you log-in to to manage and publish your site. A CMS will provide some data about visits to your site, but you can also integrate with a more comprehensive tool, such as Google Analytics.

Affiliate marketing data

With affiliate marketing, you earn commission on revenue that you’ve generated for a company. For instance, if a fan visits Amazon through a link that you’ve promoted, you can earn a percentage on anything they buy.

A lot of companies within the music industry run affiliate programs, which pay out commission on purchases or for new subscribers you’ve referred. These include Apple Music and Impact Radius (used by Ticketmaster). Affiliate marketing data is tracked through affiliate IDs, tokens, or unique links. To access your affiliate data, you’ll need to sign-in to the company’s affiliate site.

Ready to explore your music analytics?

Comprehensive fan insights for artists and their teams. Give Linkfire a try with a free trial.

Understanding the power of cross-platform music analytics and fan insights

So artists and their teams have a wealth of fan insights at their fingertips. But data isn’t useful in itself—it’s how you activate it that counts. And building a meaningful marketing strategy is complicated when this information is siloed across services, with data points disconnected from each other and stripped of context.

The value of cross-platform music analytics comes from their ability to connect the dots. They collect data from various sources into one tool, and then serve it to you as actionable insights.

Disclaimer: there is no magic tool that will bring ALL of your artist data in one place. Whenever you hear someone promising that, you should treat it with a dollop of scepticism.

Cross-platform tools are becoming ever more sophisticated, and in recent years we’ve seen major industry players grow more willing to share data with these services. At Linkfire, we’re proud of the partnerships we’ve made with companies like Apple Music, Deezer, Pandora, Boomplay, and iHeartRadio.

Let’s dive into some of the specific insights that you can draw from cross-platform analytics, and why they’re useful.

See which of your promotions are generating streams

Streaming services’ own analytics certainly have their uses, but they’re detached from your off-platform activities.

Let’s imagine you’ve just released a new album. You can see all the Spotify stats or Apple Music stats just fine, but how do these relate to your marketing? How many of those release day streams were driven through your Instagram post as opposed to your Facebook ad?

With a cross-platform tool, you can draw these connections. By finding out what’s actually generating streams, you can judge where you should be concentrating your marketing efforts, saving you time and money.

Identify which services and devices your visitors use

Understanding your fan engagement and their preferences is key to reaching them more effectively. With a cross-platform analytics tool, you can break down your audience by the apps and platforms they prefer, and the devices and browsers they use.

Let’s take some examples: If you find that most of your traffic is going to Pandora and Boomplay, then you might want to give them more visibility on your music landing pages, or try harder to get featured on playlists on those DSPs. And if only a tiny fraction of your visitors are using Microsoft Edge, you shouldn’t make optimizing your artist website for that browser a priority.

Discover where your visitors are located

Is an artist more popular in France than in Spain? Have they broken through in South Africa? Mapping out promotions gets a whole lot easier when you can target fans by geographic location. It saves you throwing money away on territories where there’s no demand. And the same goes for scheduling tours.

Image of a map with music symbols

See where your sales are coming from

With all your sales data in one place, you can track your earnings across products and stores. Set revenue forecasts, objectives, and double down on the items which are really proving popular with your fanbase.

Track all your affiliate revenue in one place

If you’re earning commission through numerous different affiliate programs, music analytics tools can bring all those commissions together into structured affiliate data sets. Keep track of all your tokens, and sort your commissions by store, location, and more.

How to choose a music analytics tool

Analytics tools come in many shapes and sizes. And when it comes to using, navigating around, and paying for them, there’s a world of difference. Here are some factors to consider when you’re comparing tools.

Data sets

The real value of music analytics tools comes from the data they collect. And some tools’ data sets are more wide-ranging than others. Stats from certain services or platforms will only be available with specific tools, such as streaming data from Apple Music which is exclusive to Linkfire. When it comes to optimizing your marketing efforts, more data will give you better insights.

Integrations

Integrations make connecting different software and services a breeze. The more integrations a tool has, the closer it gets to an all-in-one marketing solution, rather than just another tool to add to your long list of bookmarks. Analytics tools can offer a range of integrations, with affiliate programs, ticketing platforms, and pixels.

Usability

Having a wealth of fan insights at your fingertips isn’t much use if you can’t make sense of it. A good analytics tool should have the needs of the user at the center of its design, with simple ways of filtering, comparing, and navigating through all those stats.

Shareability

Does anyone else need to see your analytics? If you’re truly a one person operation, then probably not. But if you’re collaborating on your marketing efforts, you’ll want to give your colleagues access to all your metrics too. This can either be through exporting music analytics as reports, or by adding additional users to your account.

Price

You shouldn’t pay for features that you don’t need. Most tools offer some degree of analytics on their lower priced plans, but reserve more advanced features for more expensive subscriptions. Consider the depth of insights which work best for your budget.

Ready to explore your music analytics?

Comprehensive fan insights for artists and their teams. Give Linkfire a try with a free trial.

Nearly half of the world’s population are social media users. It’s where a huge number of your fans go to connect, learn, and be entertained. So if you’re wondering where and how to promote your music in 2020, sitting out social media isn’t really an option, no matter how good your music is.

With so many different platforms out there, it can be confusing to know where to focus your energy. This is a guide to how to promote your music on social media.

How to promote your music on Instagram

It may have started out as the place for selfies and shots of beautifully created plates of food, but Instagram has grown into a social media giant. The platform boasts around 1 billion users worldwide. And it leads the pack when it comes to engaging younger audiences. 73% of US teens said they prefer when brands communicate with them on Instagram over any other social platform.

Younger people are more frequent music listeners, making Instagram the perfect place to gain new fans.

Optimize your bio

Link in bio on an Instagram page

The 150 words of your Instagram bio is prime promotional real estate. It’s where you introduce yourself to potential new followers. Tell your story, make it funny, infuse it with personality. ‘Rock band from the United States’ isn’t going to cut it.

Your bio is also essential for another reason. Unless you have 10k+ followers (giving you access to the Swipe Up feature), it’s the only place on the whole platform where you can post an external link. That makes it the center of your Instagram promotional efforts! Want to drive fans to your merch store or latest release? The link has to go in the bio.

This makes promoting more than one thing at once rather tricky. One solution is to use a biolink. When fans click a biolink, they’re taken to a landing page which can house all your content.

Use Instagram stories

Instagram stories are only live for 24 hours. That makes them great for sharing spur-of-the-moment content that shows off your personality. Don’t worry about making stories perfect—fans love a more authentic feel. And with Stories, you also have the option to add lenses, stickers, text, and more.

For musicians, there’s a couple of really cool features. If you have a release, announcement, or concert coming up, you can add a ‘Countdown’ sticker to your story. When fans tap on this digital clock, they’ll have the option of being reminded about your event later on. Instagram also integrates with Spotify—so you can post a release straight into your story. In the Spotify app, simply choose to ‘Share’ a track or album and then select Instagram Story.

If you really don’t want to let an Instagram Story go, you can make it permanent by adding it to your Highlights. These are collections of Stories that live right at the top of your profile.

Think visual!

Instagram is, above all else, a visual platform. Unlike other social networks, Instagram feeds are filled entirely with images, gifs, and videos.

As a musician, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to exciting visual content. There’s the obvious things like clips from music videos, promotional images, or artwork from your new record. But there’s also the behind-the-scenes stuff which fans don’t usually see. Let them into your world with material from in the studio, on the road, or backstage at a show.

How to promote music on Facebook

Yes, Facebook is filled with cat videos and posts from your grandmother. But its reach is undeniable. Founded in 2004, Facebook now has over 2 billion active monthly users, including nearly two-thirds of American adults. So it’s kind of a no brainer when it comes to how to promote your music on social media.

Make an artist page

Facebook page vs Facebook profile

It’s best to use a Facebook page to promote your music rather than your own personal profile—even if you’re a solo musician. There are lots of reasons why, including security of your personal information and the fact that you won’t have to approve every fan who starts following you (like you do with friend requests).

Facebook pages are easy to set-up, and feature lots of different pages perfect for musicians, such as tour dates, shop, and videos.

Join Facebook groups

There are Facebook groups dedicated to pretty much everything. That includes countless groups of music obsessives—often hardcore fans of particular genres. It’s a unique chance to tap into a ready-made and passionate community.

Remember to abide by the group’s rules and avoid over-promoting yourself. Yes, you can share your own music, but be sure to actively engage with other people’s posts as well.

Stream on Facebook Live

Think of Facebook Live as your own personal TV station. It’s your chance to broadcast out long-form content to your fans, and then get second-by-second reactions as you go. While these videos make the most impact when they’re going out live, you’ll also get additional viewers catching up post-broadcast.

It’s the perfect medium for playing full shows online or engaging your fans with Q&A sessions.

How to promote your music on Soundcloud

Soundcloud has made its name as a hub for independent artists. It’s the go-to platform for testing out new sounds, finding collaborators, and growing a grassroots fanbase. But with 175 million users globally every month, it’s far from a niche service. Here’s some tips for how to promote your music on Soundclound.

Engage fans with your waveform

When you think of Soundcloud, you think of the waveform. It’s that automatically generated visualization of the music you share to the platform. Not only does it look cool, it gives fans the chance to leave comments at particular moments of a track. And you can do the same! This makes it great for engaging your fans and getting feedback on your music.

Ask them what they think of a particular line, or tell them how you captured that special drum sound. This helps to build a real community by letting your listeners into your process.

Get tagging

Choosing tags in Soundcloud

The way you tag your music is important. It’s how your music is found through search, and Soundcloud’s algorithm uses tags to recommend tracks to listeners.

When you upload your music to Soundcloud, you’ll be asked to choose a main genre tag.

You’ll then have the option of adding more tags. These can be anything which helps Soundcloud categorize your music, from additional genres to moods (e.g. #relax). Soundcloud advises against adding too many hashtags, so choose a handful which you think will really let listeners find you.

Add a link to the description

Smart link in a Soundcloud description

You can include all kinds of relevant information in a track description, from stories about its recording to release dates. But it’s also a great place to promote your music by including links. Give fans the chance to click-through to your merch store, or take them to your social profiles.

Instead of posting multiple links, you can keep things tidy by using a smart link. This will also collect valuable insights into every fan who clicks through.

Sign-up to Linkfire to start creating smart links today.

Ready to start smart linking?

Sign up to Linkfire and begin creating smart links today

How to promote music on Youtube

Musicians often make the mistake of neglecting Youtube as a social media channel. They’ll upload a video, but then concentrate on driving traffic to it from other social platforms. That’s a mistake. After Google, Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, with 2 billion logged-in monthly users.

So if you’re after more views on your videos, try growing your fanbase from within the platform, not outside it.

Get your Metadata right

Metadata tags in Youtube

Metadata is everything you add to a video when you upload it. So that’s the title, description, thumbnail, and tags. These are the elements that Youtube searches through when it’s populating search results or recommending users similar videos.

Users won’t get the chance to find your latest track if you’ve titled it ‘Here’s my new single!’. Keep your metadata relevant and click-worthy.

Create a content schedule

Consistency is the secret to success on Youtube. Fans are more likely to subscribe to your channel when there’s new videos just around the corner. But this doesn’t mean you have to produce new music on a weekly basis. There’s lots of different content musicians can turn into videos: demos, insights in to your songwriting process, interviews with bandmates, acoustic versions of your last single, and more.

You can lay out your schedule in your channel’s description, banner image, and in the videos themselves. Youtube videos are also likely the social content which will take you the longest to produce. So, having a fixed schedule in place is going to help keep you on track.

How to promote music on TikTok

The new kid on the block, TikTok has launched a thousand viral dance crazes. The short-form video platform skews young in its audience and its popularity only keeps growing—at the end of 2019, it was the second most downloaded mobile app in the world!

So while it isn’t the place to share your latest song in full, its potential for growing your fanbase is huge.

Find the hook

TikTok virality is usually based on a lyric or musical phrase that lends itself to memeification. Have a search through all your songs for a suitable 10 to 15 second section. It could be a chorus that’s ready made for a visual joke or dance—something which your fans will be able to replicate in their own Tik Toks. Check out 2020’s most viral Tik Tok songs for inspiration.

Have fun

From looking around TikTok, it becomes clear pretty quickly the tone most videos strike. TikToks are silly, outrageous, over-the-top. Famous musical artists who have mastered the platform have got this down: they leave tour announcements and release dates to other other social channels. So, don’t take yourself too seriously—this is your chance to be silly!

How to promote music on Twitter

Twitter isn’t all about just breaking political stories. Since 2006, Twitter has been a driving force behind what’s being talked about online, with 500 million tweets a day being sent out.

Twitter is most popular in the US, and has a maturer user base than other platforms, so you consider whether it’s the right service on which to promote your music. If you do decide to start tweeting, here’s some tips:

Use trending hashtags

Hashtags group all of Twitter’s posts into topics or categories, making it much easier to find content that you’re interested in. By checking out Twitter’s trends, you can see which hashtags are really capturing Twitter users’ attention. Creating a post around one of these hashtags increases the chances of it getting traction outside your followers.

As with any social media, it’s not a good idea to post too much. So be picky about the trending hashtags which make sense for you and your music.

Join the conversation

Twitter is all about engagement. And it may be the best social platform on which to interact with fellow musicians, journalists, bloggers, and industry figures. Build your network by retweeting content you love, replying to posts, and mentioning users in your own tweets. Follows often result in a follow-back, and will also lead you to similar accounts.

As long as you’re personal and polite, and don’t just spam your new contacts, it’s a community of like-minded people who could really help to advance your career.

We hope you find these tips useful. We’re curious to hear about your experience with social media: what’s worked and what hasn’t, and what advice you’d give artists who are just starting to promote their music. You can leave a comment below.

Ready to start promoting your music?

Out all the you just learned to use. Give social media a try with a free trial on Linkfire.