Linkfire has become a popular tool for music marketers using ‘smart links’ to direct fans to artists’ music on digital services, while getting analytics back from those clicks.

Now the company has announced a deeper partnership with one of those services, Pandora, which will be providing Linkfire with “advanced attribution data” for its customers to use.

It’s the first such deal for the startup. Artists will now be able to see whether fans have played, saved or shared their songs, albums and playlists within Pandora.

The context to this is a disconnect in the data available to artists and music marketers around fans and streaming services.

Tools like Linkfire and smartURL help them track how many fans click through to a particular service, and use that data for retargeting campaigns. Meanwhile, analytics from the streaming services give them data on their plays, listeners and other metrics.

It’s linking the two that has been the problem: understanding how those smart-link clicks have turned into plays, saves and shares. Pandora is the first service to help Linkfire bridge that data-gap, but the startup will be hoping others will follow suit in the future.

Music marketers are welcoming the move. “This is a great development that we hope might now persuade more services to follow suit. Direct-to-fan retail has long provided us with means to see a definitive ROI that has then made the matter of budgeting absolutely black and white,” Motive Unknown’s Darren Hemmings told Music Ally.

“If the same can happen across music services, it will provide much-needed clarity and – if the campaigns prove valuable in that regard – will state an undeniable case for focusing more resource to marketing initiatives that will benefit both artists and services alike.”

linkfire pandora

“The paradigm shift from downloads to streaming has often left artists and labels in the dark when measuring the effectiveness of their marketing activities,” is how Linkfire’s chief business development officer Andrea Arcari put it in a statement.

“We’re excited and proud to pioneer this new level of transparency with an innovative company like Pandora. It’s an industry game-changer and an essential component to building strong relationships between artists, labels and music services.”

For its part, Pandora’s chief product officer Chris Phillips said that the partnership provides marketers with “unprecedented ways to understand music streaming consumption and makes direct-to-fan marketing more impactful than ever”.

The integration has other aspects too: marketers will be able to use Linkfire to search Pandora’s catalogue and pull out direct links to that music; and run pre-release campaigns using private links to content, before it goes live on the service – matching what’s already possible with Apple.

The partnership also gives Linkfire momentum as it continues to build out its platform. The company says that in 2017, its links were clicked by 500 million music fans, while it now has clients in 65 countries.

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