Music analytics firm Next Big Sound may have been acquired by Pandora, but for now that hasn’t put the company off its habit of aggregating stats and then publishing them for the wider industry to pore over.

For example, its half-year report, which leads with the claim that in the first six months of 2015 alone, Next Big Sound “tracked more than a trillion online plays” on YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, Pandora, Rdio, Vimeo and Vevo.

“The number of online plays in just the first six months of the year far exceeds what we tracked in all of 2014, even before the addition of Pandora’s data,” claimed the report. “And social is growing like a weed as well. We tracked close to 14 billion new followers, page likes, and stations added in the first half of the year, already more than three quarters of the total from last year.”

The report also digs in to some of the platforms that are growing particularly fast for artists. Instagram, for example, where NBS tracked more than 280m new followers for artists in the first half of 2014 – “close to 6x the activity we were seeing less than a year ago”.

The report also claims that it is now tracking 4.9bn monthly plays on SoundCloud this year, nearly double the 2.5bn it was tracking this time last year. “If slow and steady wins the race, SoundCloud could plausibly compete with more mainstream platforms such as Spotify or Rdio,” it suggests.

SoundCloud is a tough one, though. That growth curve is based on unlimited access to a catalogue of free music, yet the company’s upcoming introduction of a subscription tier could put some restrictions on that free usage – which would surely impact monthly plays.

Even so, the growth since 2013, when NBS was tracking 700m monthly plays on SoundCloud, shows how important it is – from both sides of the negotiating table – to make the right decisions now to make the most of its momentum for artists and rightsholders.

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