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Universal Music unveils new analytics platform for artists

By | Published on Monday 25 November 2019

Universal Music

Universal Music last week unveiled a new analytics platform for its artists going by the name of, well, Universal Music Artists. It will pull together usage stats from all the key streaming services with an assortment of social data to try to help artists and their management teams get a better understanding of each act’s fanbase.

The first post on a new Universal Music Artists blog on Medium boasted that this data platform “is all about providing artists with more and better data to deepen their understanding of their fans and their listening habits”. Ramping up the bragging a bit, the blog post then boldly stated that “unlike any other artist-focused tool in the market today, UMA uniquely provides a view across major consumption and social media platforms”.

Many labels and distributors have been honing their data platforms for years now, making it easier for artists and their managers (and, in the case of distributors, their label clients too) to access various kinds of stats. Though many of those platforms mainly focus on the usage -and possibly financial – information that comes through from the streaming services.

The quality of such label and distributor-led data platforms varies hugely across the industry, from non-existent to mediocre to alright to pretty damn good. The distributors have often had an edge on the labels in this domain. Possibly because some distributors have, at times, sought to use the quality of the analytics they provide to gain competitive advantage when bidding for business from both label and artist clients.

All that said, while such innovations have generally been welcomed by the artist and management communities, these platforms are not always as widely embraced as you might expect by artists and their management teams. Mainly because managers work with multiple artists signed to different labels and distributors, and with so much variation across the industry, and few standards when it comes to things like terminology, navigating all those different platforms can be hard work.

That is one of the reasons why many artists and managers have made much more use of the Spotify For Artists platform and, more recently, Apple’s rival service. More data savvy managers (and independent labels, for that matter) will often also invest in a subscription with independent data services like Chartmetric or Soundcharts.

However, relying on streaming service run analytics tools becomes less useful as the streaming market diversifies. While utilising platforms that pull in stats from all over the place requires a budget to subscribe to such services, and will always be limited to an extent by what data said services are able to pull in from the streaming companies.

Which is presumably where Universal hopes its new data platform can add value to artists signed to the major. At launch data from Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will all be crunched, with more data sources due to be added in due course. The aforementioned blog post adds: “Ultimately, our desire is to include every platform in every territory around the world to ensure our artists and their teams continue to have the best data and insights in the entire industry”.

Universal says it consulted with both artists and managers while developing its new data portal. It remains to be seen how widely it is now utilised by the wider artist and management communities.