ForTunes is a platform which puts comprehensive analytics and recommendations at the fingertips of creators. Florian Richling, co-founder and CEO, says that he identified the need for his platform over the 20 years he has been working in music – when he talked to the artists that were coming to his studio, virtually all of them told him that data was important for their decision-making.
But when he asked how often they checked their data on platforms like Facebook or YouTube, the answer was ‘almost never’. Thus ForTunes was born, and the Vienna-based platform launched its beta product in 2018, building out its functionalities ever since.
The goal is ease of use and understanding: while ForTunes is accessible via desktop, the platform has a mobile-first approach – making it as easy as possible for artists and their teams to access their most important analytics on the go. At the centre of the app is a feed that’s designed to give users an instant overview of the most important social and streaming data, events and milestones. This feed brings together data from multiple platforms, like YouTube, TikTok, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch and Soundcloud.
“Chartmetric has similar information”, admits Richling. “It’s just that the way we present it is more artist-friendly – whereas Chartmetric is for professionals to look into deep granularity of data. We’re very easy to read and easy to understand.” This thinking extends to the way data is presented. The ForTunes team aimed to design a tool that presents data to artists without showing an overwhelming set of numbers – so no dashboards, tables or sheets they would find on other analytics tools.
For example, the app might list highlights such as “the track xyz just reached 300 plays on TikTok”, “your most engaging post on Instagram last week had 300 organic interactions” or “YouTube upload xyz just reached 1.0m plays”. By slimming down the information, artists and their teams can stay up to date with what’s happening across all their digital properties without needing to dive into granular data. One intention is to allow nimbleness: teams can react swiftly to organic momentum that is happening around a song or piece of content. There’s also a handy feature that allows users to automatically generate social-media-friendly graphics that tout these milestones.
This newsfeed helps you navigate through all of the most important data. It’s ForTune’s core functionality and is free to use for as many artists as you like and accessible by an unlimited number of team members.
Richling explains that: “We wanted to make sure that the free version already has value. I personally hate services that say they’re free but at the end of the day just want to drag you into a premium. So the feed just keeps you in the loop of updates and newsworthy stuff”. Last year, ForTunes launched a premium tier – priced at 7.99€ / month per artist – that gives access to valuable additional features like the playlists insights screen, recommendations, followers insights screen, content engagement, and more. For labels with bigger rosters, the platform has a rate card going down to 2€ per artist to access these premium features.
Many of ForTunes’ customers are artists – although Richling says they have a lot of labels and agencies signing up that want to stay in the loop with their roster’s activity as opposed to looking at different dashboards, or even combining the feeds of several artists with each other.
Insights into engagement, UGC and more
The “followers insights” screen shows which countries followers come from. This information can be seen as an overview across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube or for individual platforms. It’s useful to spot markets that the artist is growing in and could warrant additional marketing resources. You can also see how your followers have grown across these platforms – plus on Spotify, Twitter and Soundcloud.
In “content engagement”, ForTunes have created their own algorithm that generates a content engagement score – to put social media reach and interaction into perspective, and to help artists and teams understand which content triggers their audience best. This evaluation is all automatically created.
Recently, ForTunes has added a tool that searches for user generated content on TikTok: users can discover how often their track was used on TikTok. This integration covers both the playcount / views of videos including the sound as well as the number of uploads including the track which will be shown on screen. Combined with the newsfeed, this will ensure you won’t miss when there’s activity around one of the artist’s tracks on TikTok – even if it’s just a few hundred creations to start with.
An “influencer” screen shows users the influencers and channel owners that have promoted or used the artist’s music on YouTube, Spotify, and TikTok as well as blogs on Hype Machine. It’s a great way to get an overview of who is supporting the artist organically – and connect with them for potential future partnerships.
The “comments” screen is offers an interesting functionality: the platform will fetch all comments around a song from all connected sources, in real time. Richling stresses that this is something you can’t manually do – this streamlining of comments helps stay on top of fan communication. A great comment can be tapped and shared to social media – like a positive quote – this can be used to drum up excitement after launching a new music video, for instance. Richling says “There’s an underlying idea that we want to help artists engage their audience in a very easy way. Timing is the most scarce resource of an artist because they have so many things they have to take care of. You really want to help artists save time and be more effective so they can focus on making music.”
Another unique feature is ForTunes’ recommendation engine. The team believes that many of the third-party Spotify playlist recommendation services available often charge for playlist placements – which first and foremost goes against Spotify’s terms of service, but also does nothing for building an artist’s career. So ForTunes’ service helps their users reach out to third-party playlists organically by looking at the type of music a playlist typically features, and taking artist metrics into consideration – comparing the follower size of a ForTunes user to those of artists on a particular playlist.
On top of that, it takes into account the audio features of a track – BPM and mood and so on – and make playlist recommendations based on all of this. Where possible, the platform provides contact details, and ForTunes collaborates with SubmitHub and Groover.co to provide links to curator’s profiles. Users can then decide if they want to pay for to submit their song, or reach out themselves.
Crucially, ForTunes claims that they talk to every playlist on their recommendation system to make sure they don’t take money for placements – although they sometimes take a small fee for the time investment needed to listen to the music. The recommendation system uses machine learning to collect user feedback on the recommendations quality, and continues to learn to make recommendations better. A caveat here is that a majority of these playlists will be focused on electronic music, given the sheer volume of third-party playlisters focusing on this genre – although there are also playlist recommendations for other genres available.
Try ForTunes for yourself here.
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