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SXSW Panel: Fan Data – Journey from Analysis to Action

Tumblr, data mining, replicants
Austin Powell, 12:35am, Sat. Mar. 15

In 2014, a new album is worthy roughly an email address.

In the new sharing economy, Spotify and other streaming services offer entire catalogs with minimal investment. The silver lining for artists and promoters has long been that the data collected in return – from YouTube views, concert apps, Pandora spins, etc. – would help them somehow eek out a living, allowing them to better target their audience and predict their behavior.

How exactly do you turn all of those Facebook “likes” into actual revenue? In short, well, it’s complicated.

photo by Gary Miller

As panel moderator Kristina Wallender, VP of marketing for Ticketfly explained, there’s a data-driven loop – gather data, interpret data, create an action plan, and enact change – and the algorithms involved constantly need to be reevaluated, as inputs like Myspace, for one obvious example, rise and tank in social clout.

A few key takeaways: You need to be on Tumblr, stressed the site’s resident music geek, Nate Auerbach. The blogging platform has better engagement and time on site for the 18-34 demographic than any other social network. And the kids can’t get enough of those GIFs.

“You can’t listen to what people are saying they’re going to do, you have to measure what people are actually doing,” stressed Alex White, CEO of Next Big Sound, emphasizing the need to measure actions and guilty pleasures, not just ideal behavior.

The panel painted a cold future for the music industry, one where big data is the new A&R. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

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