Sunday, March 6, 2016

What Spotify Fan Insights is telling us (and not telling us) about our meteoric rise to fame

Spotify, the controversial music streaming service, put some new tools into the hands of artists recently, unveiling their new Fan Insights tool (  Timing was good for us, as we started tracking our Spotify monthly listenership as a key metric in 2015.

If you're not familiar with the monthly listening stat, you can find it on the artist profile page for any artist you listen to.  It's right here in the spotify UI. (If you're not seeing it, you might need to install the latest version of Spotify).

When we started tracking, our monthly listenership was in the mid 30s, but starting Christmas 2015 it started to climb steadily.  When we got access to the beta of Fan Insights last week, the pattern became clear.

For comparison purposes, we added our friend Toronto-based singer-songwriter Suzanne Jarvie to the chart.  You can see that our listenership is pretty well matched prior to December.

(By the way, if you haven't heard Suzanne's debut album Spiral Road, you really need to. It's available anyplace you can buy or stream digital music, and if you're old-fashioned, you can even buy it on Compact Disc)

When we compare ourselves with other electronic artists we admire, the picture is a little more humbling, but it gives us something to aspire to.  We're coming for you, FSOL! ;-)

What is Fan Insights telling us?

The new toolset is giving us all kinds of insight into our listeners.  For example, we now know that about half of our listeners are over 45, and nearly all of them are men.  We have a good picture of geographic distribution:

What don't we know?

Of course, a little bit of information only whets our appetite.  There are a lot of things we can only guess at.  Having access to a breakdown of listenership by song would be a great start:  we'll get that data once we have songs that are getting over 1000 plays a month.  For now, we are left with questions we can't answer:
  • What caused the sudden climb in listenership at Christmas?
  • Why are the UK and the US Midwest our top markets?
  • Why is our home region of Seattle and Pacific Northwest not represented in the top 50?
  • Why is the overwhelmingly Indonesian crowd that follows us on Facebook not represented on Spotify?
  • How well does Spotify map to our plays and popularity on other streaming services?
  • Does the uptick in plays have any correlation to our own marketing efforts?
We can venture a few guesses.  For instance, getting regular play on Rocker's Dive Radio has increased our visibility internationally.  Rocker's Dive has a footprint in the UK, so that might be a direct cause.  Making it onto Radio Xenu's 2015 top 40 with our single Laudanum Escapade is a likely booster in the Midwest (you can hear our triumphant moment here).  Once we climb into that all important 1000-play bracket, Fan Insights will be able to tell us more. 

Until then, we're enjoying seeing the numbers climb.  If you're a Spotify artist, check out Fan Insights and let us know what you see!

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