BootLeg Betty

The race to redefine the meaning of a “hit” song just got interesting.

Pandora just launched a Chartbeat for music
WRITTEN BY John McDuling
October 22, 2014

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The race to redefine the meaning of a “hit” song just got interesting.

Today, the internet radio company Pandora Media is turning on AMP, an artist management portal, which will give musicians, their managers and labels access to a trove of information about how music is being played on the service.

This includes the ability to track the performance of individual songs with a few different metrics.

Those metrics include the number of spins and the number of “thumbs ups”—which signals that a user likes the track and makes it more likely to reappear in a future playlist—as well as the number of people who have created stations based on the artist and demographic and geographic breakdowns.

As the screenshot here shows, the service looks and feels a bit like a Chartbeat for musicians on Pandora. (Chartbeat is a measurement tool many online media publications—including Quartz—use to track web traffic.)

In theory, this information could be used for a variety of purposes, including helping an act  decide which cities to visit on a tour, and which songs to play in a setlist and certain demographic niches where their tunes are resonating.

Pandora is the biggest audio streaming service in the US with 76 million active users at last count. But  it also has had some high-profile detractors in the artist community (like Pink Floyd and Bette Midler). And its overall relationship with the music business establishment: labels, publishers and so forth, is an extremely tense one.

The company may be hoping AMP will help soothe these tensions. And since more than 80% of the artists on Pandora don’t get played on traditional radio, according to the company, moves like this could enhance its credentials as a promotional partner for the industry rather than the adversary it is sometimes made out to be.

Spotify, which operates a slightly different business model to Pandora, but has also encountered stiff criticism from musicians over royalties, launched an artist analytics portal of its own about a year ago.

“We want to harness the power of our scale and data to make artists’ lives easier,” Pandora founder Tim Westergren said in a prepared statement.

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