YouTube has taken a lot of flak from musicians and the music industry in recent months, but one thing it’s done that has been generally welcomed is YouTube for Artists.
Launched in March, it was a music-focused hub to help artists get more out of YouTube, with tips and case studies. At the time, YouTube said it would also be adding more powerful analytics to the site. Today, they’re going live.
The new tool is called Music Insights, and its key features include city-level data on where people are watching music videos, as well as a combination of stats from artists’ own uploads and those of fans that include their music – well, the videos claimed using Content ID, anyway.
According to YouTube, the new tool uses a new classification system it rolled out in September 2014, rounding up views by artist rather than by channel, as well as drilling down to city-level for viewers.
Its launch coincides with an expansion for YouTube for Artists: from the purely English-language version available in March, it has now expanded to 22 languages.
Here’s YouTube’s pitch for Music Insights: “For starters, this data can help you get a song added to radio by showing a programmer how big your local fan base is,” explained a blog post published this afternoon.
“It can be a great resource when mapping a tour, since top cities could be a good indicator for where fans might come out to see a concert. And you can share insights from your data to build buzz for a new video or express appreciation to the fans who helped get you here.”
That said, there are limits to its dataset, for now. “Starting today, Music Insights offers data for more than 10,000 of the most popular artists on YouTube and Google, and we’ll add more artists all the time,” explained YouTube.
The service has published a selection of data points to illustrate how Music Insights can be used. “Muse is most viewed in Mexico City (8.9M views), Jakarta (3.8M views) and Bogota (2.9 views)… Meghan Trainor’s top 3 cities in the world are London (16M views), Quezon City (15M views) and Mexico City (13M views)… One Direction’s top 3 countries in the world are the US (290M views), Mexico (188M views) and Brazil (132M views)” and so on.
(There’s an interesting story bubbling between the lines here about what’s happening around YouTube and music in Mexico, eh? Something we intend to chase up in the coming weeks.
We might leave the other revelation in YouTube’s post, though: “You’ve watched Mumford and Sons more times than there are beards and mustaches in the USA (129M views vs. 95M U.S. men have facial hair).”
Beefed-up analytics – however hairy – won’t spare YouTube from criticism – SoundCloud’s analytics have been a big part of that service’s appeal to musicians, but they’re not stopping it facing similar brickbats in 2015 over royalties.
Even so, city-level data has lots of potential for artists trying to build their businesses, and when teamed with the analytics they get from other digital services and social networks, Music Insights could be a big help.