Is Big Data Driving the Success of Taylor Swift?

December 29, 2015

Big Data is making its way into live Taylor Swift performances. This year, attendees at her world tour concerts received LED bracelets, that lit up and would even pulse along with the music. They achieved this through RFID technology, which controlled the bracelets.

With the rise of apps, like Spotify, live performances have become a main revenue stream for the music industry. Therefore, they are pressured to come up with new ways to capture the audience.

Is Data Killing the Music Industry?

Many believe that this is the case. First it was illegal downloading from the internet. Next, streaming services, like Spotify and YouTube began popping up. They made listening to music cheap and convenient.

Big Data is changing the music industry; it is redefining it. However, artists can play it right and change how they earn revenue, and not earn any less.

A Reinvigorated Romance

However, I would disagree that Big Data and the Internet of Things is killing the music industry. It is changing, redefining and reinvigorating it.

Big Data is responsible for recommendation engines that help us discover new music, as consumers. It is also creating new opportunities for artists. Finally, it is creating a stronger relationship between artist and listener.

Analyzing the Data

Raw music is essentially unstructured data. However it is digitized and can therefore be easily quantified and analyzed. Up to 450 data points can be collected from just one song, according to the Musical Genome Project. These data points are analyzed and quantified to create structured data from the raw music. Essentially, these people are classifying data, or classifying content in music, much like people have classified content at Netflix.

Once this is complete, the process becomes easier. The structured data allows them to compare data from other songs. So they can compare the content of the songs. This enables them to create an algorithm that can recommend songs you may like to listen to next.

Is It Generating Revenue?

The biggest concern for the growing popularity of music streaming is a lack of revenue. This considers both royalties being paid to artists, and long-term revenue generation for the streaming service.

Thus far, Spotify is showing us that this should not be a concern- it doubled its subscriber base in just two years. And, they have proved that they don’t even need Taylor Swift to do so (Taylor Swift is still not featured on Spotify, but is on their rival service, provided by Apple).

However, Big Data and data analytics are continuously changing the way we do things, and changing offered services. Therefore, data analytics are likely to be a driving force of change in the music industry, again and again.

Theres an app for that; streaming services, and their recommendation engines are available on our phones, at all times. They are improving convenience and cost to consumers.


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