The music business is tuning up for a new score. The data universe has paved new avenues for an entire sector that is quietly reinventing its image. Data analysts, sync managers and web content video editors play a crucial role in the professional life of an artist and can therefore gauge whether he or she is successful or not.
“Now that we can measure absolutely everything, an artist’s musical project must be evaluated through data to assess whether it is going in the right direction or not. Music, however, cannot be measured in cold figures, since it engages emotions and feelings. It is and will always remain part of the human essence”, points out Claudio Ferrante, CEO of Artist First, a music distribution platform that has been representing artists such as Ghemon, Fulminacci and Gazzelle since 2009.
There is now a noticeable difference between a record label and a distribution platform. ”Artist First is, first and foremost, a company that not only distributes to the physical trade and digital platforms but also renders a wide range of services to nurture emerging and even established artists. We’re unique in that we always strive to retain the human connection with both artists and platform editors. A record company, meanwhile, is a subsequent step, investing in an artist and accelerating the knowledge process by allowing him or her to flourish”, explains Ferrante.
Though murky to begin with, the boundary between label and distributor tends to get even blurrier, as Artist First, now also a record label, is certainly demonstrating. “This was an inevitable step, and also a result of the need to adapt to changing times. We have, for instance, added data specialists to our team so that we can understand how to grow the music projects we care most about. Today, understanding how to steer a particular musical project from the outset is the first step towards making an artist successful”.
We added data specialists to our team to better understand how we can help grow the music projects we care the most deeply about
Author: Claudio Ferrante, CEO of Artist First
The new professions
The number of specialists working on a particular singer or band has thus grown. This is why new hybrid figures have emerged in recent years to help take better care of the professional aspects of an artist’s career. Starting with the fans.
“Even listener support is nowadays quantifiable to some extent. While we have a platform for gauging fan support, there is also a new figure, the fan engagement manager, who is constantly ‘creating interest‘: this role brings fans together with both face-to-face and online appointments, looking for ways to inspire people to participate”, says Ferrante.
On top of that, there are all the data-related figures, a completely new world for music that has made it possible for so many new professions to emerge: one of them is the streaming platform data analyst. “Data analysis is really the only job, yet there is clearly one specific task here: it entails analysing data from the platforms to get an immediate understanding of the behaviour of the fans roughly two or three days after the release of an artist’s song or album, thus gauging its commercial success”.
There are also lots of jobs related to dealing with streaming platforms, advertising and new media. “Many new professions are also springing up here. One of them is the sync manager, the person who manages an artist’s synchronisation rights, placing his or her tracks within advertisements or film soundtracks. The curation manager, who selects the most interesting tracks for the streaming platforms from the week’s offerings, is also worth mentioning”.
They are not the only ones. “New professionals have sprung up in relations with both old and new media. The web content video editor is certainly one, as this role renders soul to web and social projects and can weld audiovisual files, editing them in various ways to create useful storytelling. Then there is the YouTube video content manager, who understands whether the video is monetised or not, the person who manages user-generated content for the artist or company”. Finally, there are also professions to deal with relations with the artist. “An artist development manager is now a very popular figure, someone who would once have listened to dozens of cassettes and now deals with ‘new proposals’, which may come to him or which he searches for independently on the Internet, trying to help them develop and grow even further”.
Even listener support is nowadays quantifiable to some extent
Author: Claudio Ferrante, CEO of Artist First
The future of music
Such a scenario outlines a panorama that has already evolved beyond the recent past. Even after a pandemic, new changes inevitably seem to be around the corner. “In a world of numbers, the essence of a project, its soul, also counts: which is why artists and music must be given time today. And after a period like the one we’ve been through, I think there’s a great desire to get back to the content, to the roots of our music. That’s why I’d bet on singer-songwriters, on the return of the most vintage thing in the world”, says Ferrante.