Music ranking and charts have been evolving ever since digital became a viable consumption method. From physical to downloads and downloads to streaming, video is now taking hold as a strong indicator of chart ranking among labels and artists. YouTube’s definitively made itself the premier destination for streaming video, but also one of the best sources of music discovery. Billboard has been including YouTube rankings in its weekly top charts for the past couple of years now, and SiriusXM has entered the fray with its YouTube 15 radio show. Now YouTube has launched its own take on music charts with Music Insights, bringing with it some interesting opportunities.
Music Insights aggregates viewership and demographic data on a track level to display an artist’s top songs on YouTube. This is different than just tracking view counts on a music video. Each song’s viewership stats are a sum of both official music videos from the artist’s channel as well as fan uploads containing the track. This allows for a clearer picture into a song’s popularity and an artist’s overall presence on YouTube. Music Insights is currently only showing data for a subset of artists, but will be rolling out to all artists soon. If you’re not seeing your data yet, reach out to your Orchard client manager and we’ll put in a request for you.
Demographic data in Music Insights takes the viewership information mentioned above and displays each artist’s top songs at the city and country level. Though some of this information is available to channel owners via YouTube Analytics, this is the first time that it’s presented as a ranking based on song performance rather than video performance. This allows artists and their teams to hone in on regions that may love their music and possibly discover demographics they’ve yet to tap into.
So how do you make the most of Music Insights? The fundamental concept of Music Insights was to link popular tracks to the locations where they’re being consumed. This could ultimately inform decisions on how tours are routed or which fans to engage with. Savvy YouTube artists should take this a couple of steps further and target their uploads to some of these territories. For example, if you’re an American artist, but your #2 location in Music Insights is Mexico City, you might want to translate lyrics and calls-to-action to Spanish and engage with fans locally.
Another key to harnessing the data in Music Insights is to compare it with other stores where your music is being distributed. Fans discover and consume music differently around the world. Some stores may not be available in countries where YouTube is the #1 platform for discovery. Use Music Insights and your Orchard Workstation to compare top tracks in these locations with your other top stores. Tracking stats across platforms could be the key to informing your strategy for future releases.