Digital Conversations

Importance of Analytics

19th January 2011

A member of our UK team noticed this article in the Guardian last week, and I’ve since the news spread throughout music and technology publications and sites like wildfire.

You’d have thought that the major labels had finally tapped into a big idea to “save” the music industry. But no, what they’ve actually done is use the analytics tools that other industries have been using for a decade and come up with a solution that is straightforward and likely to benefit both industry and fans alike.

So what is their business move causing this discussion? Universal Records is to start releasing songs at the same time as they start promoting them on the radio… Obvious? Maybe, but it goes against a practice that is as old as the recording industry – in which records have always been played on the radio 4-6 weeks in advance of being available in the shops.

The reason for the change? Analytics data from Google and iTunes has indicated clearly that, using the current model, interest in a song peaks 2 weeks *before* it is available to buy…. major consumer fail!

I don’t want to dump on dinosaurs major labels too much (I’ll leave that to music industry blog Hypebot), but it’s good to see that they are catching up with the compression of time and space that digital technology affords consumers. 6 weeks is 4 years in internet world.

What do you think? Are you more likely to purchase rather than download a single? And does this have implications for other cultural institutions like movie studios (regarding the proximity of trailer releases and DVDs to the theatrical release)?

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