Kobalt’s in-house digital distributor AWAL is launching an analytics app for independent musicians, helping them to track their data – and earnings – from Spotify and Apple Music.
The app launches today, and is a free download for Android and iOS devices, although it’ll only work for AWAL members – of which there are now more than 20,000 globally.
The app is AWAL’s equivalent to Kobalt’s existing analytics app for songwriters and publishers, which launched in March 2016.
Developed by AWAL’s tech team, the new app shows data on streams, listeners, fan demographics and playlist activity from Spotify and Apple Music, as well as incoming revenues for an artist or label’s catalogue.
The app will notify users when a song has been added to one of the curated playlists on the services, while paragraph-length “insights” stories will tell them about other changes to their streaming performance based on the data.
Examples of that include showing which track has shown the biggest increase in streams over the last seven days; when a song’s relative performance is higher on one of the two services; and titbits about the demographics of an artist’s most engaged listeners.
Originally founded in 2004 as an independent company, AWAL was acquired by Kobalt in early 2012, and now sits within the firm’s label-services division.
While we’ve used the phrase “digital distributor” above, Kobalt now describes it as a “streaming label” focused on independent artists and labels. AWAL remains distinct from Kobalt Music Recordings, with the latter focusing more on established artists seeking a label-services deal.
“What’s true today is that the opportunity for independent artists to make a living off streaming is growing. We want to speed that up,” said Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz in a statement as the app launched.
“The first step is helping independent artists de-mystify their streaming data. Today’s artists need to understand the signals that drive future success and be able to act quickly.”
While Spotify and Apple Music already provide their own analytics to artists, AWAL’s pitch to artists is that its app will help them compare the two more easily, as well as providing a more mobile-friendly window into their streaming data.
Kobalt’s Mark Newman and Paul Smith gave Music Ally a demo of the new app ahead of its release, and stressed that the intention is to break down the blizzard of data into something that’s quick to browse and focuses on “actionable” points for artists and managers.
They hope the app will be as useful for fledgling artists with a tiny number of streams as it is for managers with five or six acts to track.
The AWAL team also hope that the app will help artists and managers manage their expectations when tracks are added to top playlists: for example, they might be able to see that having their song on a playlist with 1.1 million followers may generate (in the specific example in the demo) around 50,000 streams, based on its position in the playlist.
The app includes a feature for artists to share details of playlists on social media after they’ve been added to a new one. Newman and Smith suggested that this may be an underappreciated tactic for independent artists.
Why? Because driving fans to listen to a specific in-house Spotify playlist, for example, could help to ensure that artist’s track performs well in the metrics used by the playlist’s curator to decide whether to move it higher or promote it to a bigger playlist the next week.
AWAL also hopes that the inclusion of revenues will help emerging artists with their budgets: for example, if an artist knows a few thousand pounds are on the way at the end of the month, they may feel confident in spending money on a recording session, a video or hiring a tourbus.
The app is also being pitched as something managers can pull out in meetings to refer to, whether they’re pitching their artist to a radio playlister, a live promoter or even to the streaming services themselves.
One obvious question: will the app open up to other streaming services beyond Spotify and Apple Music? That’s the intention: YouTube is a high priority, but the team are also assessing other services – Amazon and Pandora for example – with key points being how good their analytics APIs are, and also how global the services themselves are.
Social analytics are not part of the app: AWAL’s team reasoned that artists already have a plethora of dashboards to choose from to monitor their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram analytics. It’s possible that other proprietary data, such as radio airplay and sync deals, could be brought in though.
“This is a way to excite artists and managers about the opportunities of streaming,” Kobalt Music Recordings president Paul Hitchman told Music Ally.
“We’ve had five years of people being wary of it, or dismissive or negative. What we’re doing here is giving people the ability to get excited about it, and to really get to grips with it.”