Musical artists are in many ways like business startups. They create, publish, sell, negotiate, deal with payments, do marketing…just like a new business. It can be tough to find relevant performance indicators for artists, but what’s true for businesses is also true for artists. Let’s take a look at Soundscloud’s success indicators and see what they really mean.
Vanity metrics are the kind of numbers that you would tell your friends to impress them. They are often manipulated and supposed to make a song appear better than it is. Plays could be considered a vanity metric. They are not the best indicator to determine the popularity of your song. Music is an experience, so in order to determine the quality of it one has to listen to it. It says nothing about the intention behind this listen or if the listener actually liked it, recommended it and so on. Other engagement types are better indicators.
Likes and Reposts
The more effort and time it takes a user to perform an action in response to a song offering, the more engaged a user has to be. By this definition, likes are cheaper than reposts. They only require a single click. A repost is a much stronger response because the reposted song can be found on one’s profile, it clutters the timeline, and represents the respondent vouching for a song with their good name and reputation.
Comments and Followers
A comment is the most time consuming action because it requires typing, thinking, and sometimes even grammar… By this definition, comments represent commitment, reputation, and of course, effort. This could make comments one of the strongest indicators for hyper-engaged fans.
However, Followers are the most important metric and the hardest to obtain in large numbers. Your followers number is the single most important statistic. It represents a direct measure of your fanbase. It is your pipeline to success for each song premiere as your loyal followers are the first line of promotion of your music.
The truth is, every artist should work to develop all metrics in a good balance to show strong engagement from fans. This is the best way to look at metrics. In a future episode we will talk about what ratios of plays to likes to reposts Soundcoud considers best.