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Music Privacy Entertainment

One Musician's Demand From Pandora: Mandatory Analytics 227

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stick-to-being-a-musician dept.
jfruh writes "Most Slashdotters have been following the debate among the various players in the music industry about how much money artists (and their labels) get from traditional music outlets like radio and newer services like Pandora or Spotify. But Zoë Keating, a professional cellist who has a professional interest in the outcome of this argument, thinks there's one thing missing from all the proposals: more data on who her audience is. Even digital services can't tell her how many people heard her songs or where they're most popular. 'How can I grow my business on this information?' she asks. 'How do I reach them? Do they know I'm performing nearby next month? How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?'" She proposes mandatory reporting of information on listeners as part of royalties.
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One Musician's Demand From Pandora: Mandatory Analytics

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  • Whose Data Is It? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sdoca (1225022) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:11AM (#42036985)
    The last line of the article is a quote from Zoe (emphasis mine):

    “I want my data and in 2012 I see absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t own it,” she wrote.

    Which begs the question in my mind, whose data is it? The stations' to whom listeners tune into and collect the data or the artists' whose music is played? I would argue its the stations as they're the ones collecting it.

    Another question is what is the data? I don't listen to any satellite or internet radio stations so I could be wrong, but I suspect that in the case of internet radio you can get the number of feeds and their location but that's about it. Is there any listener data that can be collected by satellite? How can that data be used to help artists market themselves better?
    • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @02:06AM (#42037597)
      This post, and the entire thread it's spawned, seems like a perfect example of what is fundamentally wrong with the idea of ownership of information. Something as very basic as "who wants this stuff" is information that would help every business and consumer in the entire chain if it were released publicly, but that doesn't happen, because every single business and consumer in the chain wrongly, stupidly, and greedily claims that it is theirs and nobody can use it if they don't get a cut. Nearly everyone involved in this industry works as hard as they can to screw themselves over, all because they want to be paid for something that literally everybody has a reasonable claim to.
      • No it does not help the customer who are in the majority ...if you sell 300 items then 300 people want them it does not matter who they are where they are, it only reduces your advertising costs as you can direct your adverts to people who are already buying your product (and leave out the people who are not buying now) !

        • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @04:16AM (#42038261)
          You need to complete this thought, guy. An independent artist with a quite limited travel budget is trying to figure out where to perform next. If she has data on where there are large numbers of her fans, she can have more successful shows, allowing her to put on more shows and continue creating, thus benefiting her fanbase. Successful artistry is not a parasitic relationship unless you're some kind of objectivist robot.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            she could you know post on her website that she has limited travel budget and ask where fans want her to perform. and then 4chan will send her to alaska.

          • So by that same logic, it benefits me when Company X learns everything about me so they can create a better Widget for me to buy? Because that is exactly what you just said. The only difference is that I've removed "artist" from the equation to acknowledge there is nothing special about an "artist" in this equation.

            • by Draknor (745036)

              In broad strokes, yes.

              I've seen Zoe in concert -- she's pretty awesome! I would like to see her again. But I'm a busy guy, and "sign up on Zoe's website for tour news" usually doesn't bubble up very high on my priority list. If I see a banner or promo flyer, however, I'm more likely to make note of it and maybe actually put it in my calendar to attend. If she knows there's a lot of others listening to her in my region, then she's more likely to schedule another concert here, and do more marketing here.

      • but you just described Capitolism.
    • by rmstar (114746)

      âoeI want my data and in 2012 I see absolutely no reason why I shouldnâ(TM)t own it,â she wrote.

      Which begs the question in my mind, whose data is it?

      Who knows? Whoever feels entitled to it and manages to convince enough people for it?

      In any case, it's the classic "that shit belongs to me or i'm going Galt" kind of entitlement.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Another question is what is the data? I don't listen to any satellite or internet radio stations so I could be wrong, but I suspect that in the case of internet radio you can get the number of feeds and their location but that's about it. Is there any listener data that can be collected by satellite? How can that data be used to help artists market themselves better?

      Users of Pandora sign up for the service, which allows them to create their own "stations" which are randomly generated groups of songs determined to be similar to the seed song or seed genre. For each individual song played, users can skip, thumbs up, or thumbs down (which also skips, but reduces the likelihood of replay). That's way more data than the old radio model with snail mail surveys.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        That's way more data than the old radio model with snail mail surveys.

        No, the data they got in the old days was "how many stations are playing this song, and how often" and "how many people are buying this record, and where."

        The surveys (Nielson, etc) came up with metrics for the stations, not the labels.

    • by omfgnosis (963606)

      I think responses like this are missing the forest for the trees in the idea being proposed here.

      Let's take a step back. The context of the idea is a dying traditional music industry; most of the old business models are failing. In the old models, there were a number of large marketing and distribution networks who collected the sort of data Keating is asking for, and used that data to inform their marketing and distribution efforts. An organization in the business of successful music sales needs to know th

  • I think not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SSpade (549608) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:11AM (#42036987) Homepage

    Geographic distribution and some basic demographics is one thing, and quite a reasonable one, but combine "How do I reach them? How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?" and “I want my data and in 2012 I see absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t own it.” and it sounds like the worst sort of stalkery marketer who'll abuse the hell out of your personal information for a buck.

    • by dbc (135354)

      Sure, I see your point. But for certain artists I would like to be able to opt-in to show announcements. Or get a summary. Like, how about a personalized calendar that shows the dates for nearby shows for the list of artists I select? I get a calendar, and artists get anonymized numbers about where and how many people have added them to their calendar.

    • Re:I think not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:21AM (#42037047) Homepage Journal

      Not necessarily.
      Think about YouTube analytics.

      I find out that certain videos are a hit with certain blogs, that's where my traffic comes from. So I make sure to give them more of what they want, PLUS I struck up a relationship of sorts with the blog owners which is mutually beneficial.

      I let them know when I have new content, which helps them. They give me a wider platform, info that helps me learn the subculture, etc.

      I am NOT a networker kind of person, I'm a "do every last thing yourself" kind of person, but analytics let you know when you're wasting your time, let you know where your "friends" and compatriots are, etc.

      For a musician, it could even help them know what cities they might try booking an appearance in, because they discover they have a fan base there.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Not necessarily.
        Think about YouTube analytics.

        I find out that certain videos are a hit with certain blogs, that's where my traffic comes from. So I make sure to give them more of what they want, PLUS I struck up a relationship of sorts with the blog owners which is mutually beneficial.

        I let them know when I have new content, which helps them. They give me a wider platform, info that helps me learn the subculture, etc.

        I am NOT a networker kind of person, I'm a "do every last thing yourself" kind of person, but analytics let you know when you're wasting your time, let you know where your "friends" and compatriots are, etc.

        For a musician, it could even help them know what cities they might try booking an appearance in, because they discover they have a fan base there.

        so she should get a fb page.
        btw. networking with blog owners and people who bring you traffic sure as fuck sounds like "networking".

        • There's a lot of contempt for her in your response.
          Makes me question your motives.

          I'm networking? If you can call using analytics networking.
          If you can call not ONE of the half of a million people who have watched my videos and not ONE of the blog owners knowing my name or who I am "networking."

          If you can call me spending my own money to create things and give them all away free, anonymously, "networking."

          Personally I just call it "using available data to see what people appreciate."

          • by Draknor (745036)

            Yes, you are networking. But there's nothing WRONG with that!

            "Networking" is just "communicating" -- you are communicating with people (such as blog owners). In this case, your goal is growing your audience, not growing your business or profit. That's fine -- there's nothing WRONG with networking. There's nothing wrong with growing your audience. And I'd also argue there's nothing wrong with growing a business or increasing your profit, if that's what you wanted to do.

            Networking seems to get a bad rap w

      • I suppose you communicate with other folks on youtube too. I had someone actually influence the stats of one of my videos by telling everyone to skip to a certain point in the comments.
    • Re:I think not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:25AM (#42037061)

      it sounds like the worst sort of stalkery marketer who'll abuse the hell out of your personal information for a buck.

      Whoa there partner, back up. What this artist is asking for is entirely reasonable because this information is already available to the distributor. And offering additional information from the artist like when and where shows are happening is not only reasonable but the main method by which independent artists make their money! Radio was given free license to air music precisely because air time led to increased ticket sales, and they're very pro-active about announcing concerts that are coming up; It's typically part of the contract.

      This person isn't asking for the personal details of every listener, but rather information on when and where those listeners are -- something that would be needed to audit the distributor and ensure their contractual agreement is being upheld, and something that a court order would easily be granted for. And it's just good business anyway. There's nothing "stalkery" about this. Or would you prefer the artist take it on faith that the distributor isn't screwing them over? As I understand it, there's something of a commotion over contractual obligations of certain 4-letter acronym'd agencies that often talk about "artists' rights", though they afford none to those who sign contracts with them. Shouldn't we be wanting the industry to be moving away from this kind of vendor lock-in?

      • by SSpade (549608)

        What this artist is asking for is entirely reasonable because this information is already available to the distributor.

        Also available to the distributor is all the information about the other artists you listen to. And your zip code, your email address, your age. Possibly, depending on what sort of account you have, your home address and your credit card number. I'm pretty sure that she wouldn't ask for your credit card number, but I'm sure she'd love to have your email address.

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:40AM (#42037173) Journal

      She sells a product, TO THE RADIOSTATION, who then sells it to us. I am quite sure that say, Hostess, would like to have the demographic data from each supermarket, but they can't have it because it is NOT their data.

      It is only the odd nature of content (infinitely replicatable unlike physical products) and bought laws that even has music being counted (number of times played). Physical product makers sell X amount to resellers and that is all the data they get. Why do you THINK they hold product promotions requiring you to send in your address? To get some data on were their products end up because the supermarkets are NOT just going to tell them for the fun of it. The product maker delivers his goods to the supermarket and his involvement ends there. He wants more, he pays for it. Through the nose.

      A supermarket has no obligation, legal or moral to even record, let alone report, how that pallet of cookies was distributed amongst its shops let alone its customers. The amount of entitlement in this Zoe the Freeloading cellist demand is staggering. You want to get in touch with your customers, engage them yourself. It is NOT a broadcasters job to do that for you. Setup a youtube channel or whatever and get people to give them your details, expecting a radiostation to do that for you is everything that is wrong with the content industry today.

      Content is a product nothing more, I buy it the same as toilet paper and frankly I be a lot more upset running out of toilet paper then out of commercial content.

      What next, MP3 players have to upload logs of the play history, so the bills can be send correctly? She wants to force the use of kinect with Pandora to count the number of listeners?

      She wants private consumer data from a commercial entity for free. If it wasn't the content industry this would be instantly discarded in the waste basket of bloody stupid ideas. Really, would you be okay with Hostess getting your address from the supermarket that they got from your credit card?

      NO! Hell, in Holland at least, the supermarket itself ain't even allowed to use its payment data to find out peoples addresses, they have the bank numbers but are not allowed to match them in anyway. That is why loyalty cards are not simply tied to your bank pas which would be far simpler then having a separate card and give far more reliable tracking data (you didn't think loyalty cards existed for any other reason did you).

      But this bitch wants that data. Fuck OFF.

      • by jittles (1613415)

        She sells a product, TO THE RADIOSTATION, who then sells it to us. I am quite sure that say, Hostess, would like to have the demographic data from each supermarket, but they can't have it because it is NOT their data.

        Except that Hostess probably DOES have that data. Why? Because for one thing, supermarkets are often regional. Secondly, Hostess stocks the products and puts up advertising materials and promos in the individual stores. Third of all, why wouldn't the supermarket want to share that data with hostess? If Hostess can take that data and use it to sell more Twinkies in that supermarket, why wouldn't they help their supplier help them sell more goods? What Hostess doesn't have is the information on how many

        • by Draknor (745036)

          I agree that she has no entitlement to this data, but if Pandora were smart, they would provide it. It would certainly increase the number of people who work with Pandora, providing more selection for customers, and would therefore increase the value of the Pandora brand.

          Her overall argument is that the information is more valuable to her than the $$ paid, and she would rather have the information about her "listens".
          She writes she was paid $1652 for 1.5 million listens in Pandora in the first half of 2012, and that dollar amount is that ONLY information she gets.

          I wish I could make this demand: stream my music, but in exchange give me my listener data. But the law doesn’t give me that power. The law only demands I be paid in money, which at this point in my career is

          • by jittles (1613415)
            I understand why she is asking for it. I am just agreeing with the GP that she is definitely not entitled to it. The argument I am trying to make is that Pandora and the artists both would be better off if that information was available to the artists.
      • What next, MP3 players have to upload logs of the play history, so the bills can be sent correctly?

        Do NOT give them any ideas.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      There is a way to let the artist reach the user without infringing on the user's rights. Right now, the webpage displays info on the artist. You can reach that same info by clicking on the band's name in the desktop app. Just let artists add a couple sentences to their bio page. Something like "We have a new album called XXX coming out on YYY! Be sure to check it out!"

      Problem solved. People who want to learn more about the artist can get the info, people who don't care don't get ads shoved in their fa

    • I disagree. She says that she wants "her" data, but she's talking about basic demographics and geographic distribution. There are plenty of automated, autonomous ways for Pandora et al to help her reach you without her ever knowing who exactly you are. If the data tells her that all of her fans are located in San Francisco, then she would be wasting time and money holding a concert in Cincinnati, and vice-versa. She then takes out a TV ad, a billboard or a newspaper ad saying that she'll be in the area for

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Just a couple of posts above yours is one that shows how badly you've missed the point.
      Bistromath wrote:

      An independent artist with a quite limited travel budget is trying to figure out where to perform next.

      If a touring musician doesn't know they have fans in Sunnydale C.A. for instance they won't be booking the Bronze for a gig.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      "How do I reach them? How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?" and “I want my data and in 2012 I see absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t own it.”
      This is a simple problem to solve. Just advertise on Pandora. In fact, you can advertise whenever your own song is played. So every time your song is played, you get X for the play and you pay them X+profit for the advertisement. Feel better now?
  • 'How can I grow my business on this information?' she asks. 'How do I reach them? Do they know I'm performing nearby next month? How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?'"

    I guess the cat is out of the Pandora's box, eh? Well, let's see what else is in there...

    (look what a fool's hope remained locked...) you want that info about me, drop your prices.
    Oh... is it free already? Then... what about starting to pay me for my data?

    (grin)

    • I guess the cat is out of the Pandora's box, eh?

      Put your battle-axe back in the scabbard. You've made your bed; now you have to eat it. We could stand here and talk until the cows turn blue. It’s time to step up to the plate and lay your cards on the table.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        If we hit that bulls eye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      You realize this is between the artist and Pandora, Pandora already has your data. They aren't asking anything else from you.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Buy ads like everyone else?

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

      ... and this is the one thing that is so irritating.

      Ms. Zoà Keating things that because people listen to her song she has the right to SPAM her listeners with announcement of new album / new gig / new whatever and so on.

      Granted, a portion of her listeners would want to know everything she does, but a larger portion do not.

      And it is not right for an artist to bug the listeners, whether they are paid listeners, or not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:26AM (#42037063)

    Step 1: Be an obnoxious prick and demand things for nothing
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Eat shit and die.

  • by lennier1 (264730)

    Wouldn't market research like that be in their own best interest anyway?

    • by Plammox (717738)
      No. I don't necessarily want more of the same. Why would I want to be locked in one specific musical genre? I want to explore entirely new directions and be inspired. Targeted marketing would reduce the scope of new music, based on the marketeer's opinion of what I should like. Well guess what, I like Slipknot, Burt Bacharach, Louis Armstrong, electro-house, J.S. Bach, Bulgarian folk music and obscure Scandinavian jazz artists.

      Fit that into your marketing DB, mr. Marketing Person. (not at you, OP)
  • by future assassin (639396) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:29AM (#42037091) Homepage

    thow her the fuck out. With out exposure she'll have nothing, let her run her own website and gather those stats. The only things pandora should give out is the basic stats on how much the copyright owner should get paid past that they can PAY Pandora to get more stats.

  • Google. (Score:5, Informative)

    by vovick (1397387) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:30AM (#42037099)

    How do I reach them? Do they know I'm performing nearby next month? How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?

    They can look you up if they like your performance on the radio. If they like it, they can look you up and probably subscribe to your RSS feed with all your new updates. If they are not doing so, they don't like you and your songs. Duh.

    • Unless you want to see her live in concert and she never plans one in your area because she had no idea that people in Podunk, Vermont are dying to see her perform live. Also, although RSS is awesome, it's a really crappy medium for listening to music. Being text and all. Just sayin'.

    • by alexgieg (948359)

      They can look you up if they like your performance on the radio. If they like it, they can look you up and probably subscribe to your RSS feed with all your new updates. If they are not doing so, they don't like you and your songs. Duh.

      This is valid for, let's call them "professional listeners", people who absolutely love music and actively go after it. But there are others like me, however, people we could call "middle-of-the-road listeners", who aren't that active, but would enjoy having their listening habit (that they themselves don't know they have) tapped onto. For instance, now and then it amazes me to discover that I actually like a certain singer or band quite a lot when I reflect at my own listening activity. And I didn't even k

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:32AM (#42037115) Journal
    Oddly enough the first and only place I've heard of this artist is bandcamp [zoekeating.com] and I think she's helped it grow. She seems to be demanding Pandora put in all the nice things that Bandcamp has.

    Bandcamp is not a radio streaming station but you can stream a lot of albums freely on it. Bandcamp [bandcamp.com] seems to solve a lot of these problems with it's pricing clearly stated [bandcamp.com]. I don't use it as a musician but I make a lot of music purchases there and this is how things work. If you want to get an album for free, the band has the option of asking at least for your e-mail address and zip code. That way they can geographically target you or let you know they have a new album on Bandcamp. On top of that I think the sites has a huge stats dashboard for artists -- even including the referral URLs from which your listeners are landing on your page (so if you have it hooked up to your band's page, you can differentiate that from someone who found it via pitchfork or something).

    I've had really good experiences with bandcamp but their 'discover' methodologies still leave a lot to be desired [bandcamp.com] and I hope that someday they just turn it into a station that has a great front end that will allow you to see and purchase whatever is playing.

    Of course, there's a lot of terrible music on bandcamp but I sort of enjoy the idea that it's open to all (as opposed to, say, Magnatune). There are famous artists that I already loved on Bandcamp [sufjan.com] and total nobodies I've come to adore [bandcamp.com].
  • Grooveshark has some of this functionality. https://forrst.com/posts/Grooveshark_Artist_Dashboard-a2N [forrst.com]
  • Why aren't the artists pushing for royalties from terrestial radio? There is probably a lot more revenue to be gained from this.
    • by asdbffg (1902686)
      Artists already receive royalties for terrestrial radio. The metrics for tracking performances aren't very good, though.
  • by Xacid (560407) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @04:11AM (#42038245) Journal

    I've been an avid paid Pandora listener for a few years and would love to see them find a way to improve their services especially if it can make them more marketable and last longer. This can benefit both the consumer and the artist if done properly and I think Zoe Keating, incidentally whom I discovered on Pandora, has the right idea.

    When I find an artist I REALLY enjoy the first thing I end up doing is finding more of their songs not on Pandora...but on youtube. Then if I like a good portion of their stuff I'll usually go hunt for their album, which I usually try to buy directly from the artist when possible, or I'm looking to see if they're ever playing anywhere near me.

    It would also be neat if it could show a map/chart of artists based on what you've thumbs upped previously or sort by station or something while you're in a buying mode. One thing I couldn't understand is how Pandora didn't enter into the music sales business as that would have flowed nicely with their current business. Imagine having an "add to cart" for songs you really dig and being able to play those on demand within the Pandora interface? Or just revert back to full on radio mode like always. There's just so much potential for this service and it typically nails what I'm in the mood to listening to.

  • by asdbffg (1902686) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @04:26AM (#42038305)

    Part of what she's asking for isn't so bad, namely aggregate metrics or just general listening statistics. I've got some music on Pandora as well, and I can say that they make absolutely no information available about how many people are listening, how many listeners skip the song, how many listeners give the song a thumbs up or down, etc. Once the music goes in, the rest if a big mystery.

    She loses me when she suggests that she should just magically be able to get her listeners' contact information without some sort of opt-in. As much as I would love an epic mailing list of anyone who has ever heard my work... yeah... no...

  • from Pandora. Looking at the ads they serve me, they think I gamble, play flash games, shop at Lowes, support the tea party faction of the GOP, am single, and a homosexual.

    I am none of these things. Which is why I mute the line any time an ad comes up.

  • I won't claim any patent on this idea, she can have it for free.

    She should write a song called "I Will Be Performing In Dallas On The 23 November 2012" and people who listen to her music will turn up.

  • If you want something to tell you how to perform in order to make money, sign with a record label.

    *Oh, and start learning detox and how to hide from the press immediately!*

    What, don't like that suggestion? Then find another line of work. /HUMOR, HUMOR

  • "How do I reach them?" Twitter. "Do they know I'm performing nearby next month?" Twitter. "How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?" Twitter.
  • For me, a higher priority would be to have these streaming services actually exist in my country.
    I think that would do more for these artists to promote their music to a wider audience.
  • Here is a clue, dumb ass:
    If people here it an like it they will go to this neat thing called 'Google'.
    Then they will 'find' you.
    You can post all the information about what you are doing on the internet via a 'website' or 'blog'
    You might want to look into it.

    "oh no, it's my business so spend money telling me things becasue my business is more important to anything else. WHAAAA! pay me more for work I already did years ago.. WHAAA!"

  • by sjames (1099)

    If she wants it, I'm sure it's available. It must have value since she wants it. I Kknow! She could buy the data from Pandora!! Perhaps in exchange for a better royalty.

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