Guest Blog: Toni Malyn (EmuBands)

EmuBands is a digital distribution company that allows independent record labels and unsigned artists to sell their music through major online and mobile content providers. Toni Malyn, head of marketing & customer support at EmuBands has written a guest blog which gives an insight into how data can be used to help route and plan tours. Toni will also be taking part in our 'Data Rocks' panel at Wide Days this Friday... 

Imagine the following scene…

It’s time for your first tour; consisting of three gigs, one of which is your home city, and the other two are sort of nearby. You choose them because you have the venue booker on Facebook, despite having never met them.

You load the van you borrowed from your mate’s Dad – it’s filled with more biscuits and Cassette Tapes than actual music gear, and you head off. You arrive at show number one. You unload all the gear (you leave the biscuits in the glove compartment), and start setting up for sound check.  Sound check goes well. You manage to catch the promoter in the hour or so that follows.

“How did sales go?” you ask.

“…We’re expecting a really big walk-up!” says promoter.

Seven pm arrives. Doors open. There is no walk-up, unless your cousin, who goes to Uni in the town and his plus one, counts.

You end up playing to them both, your mate who is doubling as your TM and driver, and the barman. A roaring success, and show number 2 is the same.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

When planning a tour, knowing where your fans already are is important. Back in the day, this sort of information was only really available to major labels and physical distributors – they were able to see where a band’s physical product was selling the most.

There’s usually a correlation between the number of people in a city who listen to your music, and the number of people in a city who want to go to your gig. It’s usually an extremely high correlation.

Thankfully we’re now in 2017, and the data that once was only accessible to a few is freely available to you.

Social Media platforms like Facebook allow you to view a wealth of data about the people who ‘like’ your page, and view your posts. The Facebook ‘Insights’ tool allows you to break down this data and view where your fans are based (you can filter country or city), what age, and gender they are.

Music-focussed apps like Bandsintown, and Songkick can also integrate with Facebook, allowing you to spread the word of your gigs/shows to those in each city specifically, as well as providing great insights into where your most engaged fans are, which shows are selling well, and which shows aren’t – this is particularly useful as it means you’ll be able to focus your efforts on cities where ticket sales are slow.

Bandsintown has around 30 million users, and they mostly experience the app through Facebook.

Songkick has around 15 million users. Songkick is integrated with a number of DSPs, including Shazam, Spotify, SoundCloud, Deezer, and YouTube. Songkick’s service for artists, TourBox, allows musicians and managers to market and promote their concerts to their fans. It also automates the process of posting the tour dates to the services listed above.

Digital music services themselves can provide extremely useful information. Remember I said there’s a correlation between people who listen to your music, and people who want to see you play live? Services like Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, and iTunes provide invaluable analytics data to help locate your fans and plan tours.

Spotify Fan Insights

Lets start with Spotify. They’ve been providing analytics since 2013, but they launched their flagship ‘Fan Insights’ tool in 2015.

With Fan Insights, you can track the performance of your tracks, while learning how fans from around the world are discovering and listening to your music.

As well as your very own map of world domination, Fan Insights allows you to break down your monthly listeners by city –

This data is useful for running promotional campaigns, choosing your next single and of course, helping you to determine where to book a tour.

Spotify have teamed up with Ticketmaster & Songkick to feature tour dates on your artist page. As well as this, your followers and monthly listeners will be notified when you’re playing a gig near them via email and within the Spotify app. For more information on Fan Insights, go here -

iTunes Trends Data

iTunes publish daily sales reports, called Trend Reports. As well as giving you an idea of how your tracks are performing in advance of a full royalty report being published, they provide more information not included in your royalty report, such as the purchaser’s post / zip code – which is really useful, for obvious reasons.

You should be able to get this data from most good distributors – at EmuBands we’ve built this into all of our user’s accounts for free.

Soundcloud Stats

If you’re a SoundCloud user, I’d recommend taking a look at their stats and analytics – you have to pay for full access, but they’re excellent. You can easily see top tracks, top countries, top cites, which individual users are listening to you the most, and which websites & apps are referring listeners to your tracks.

Other services I recommend are YouTube’s Analytics and Music Glue.

I would also stress the importance of setting up your own website – if you teach yourself how to use Google Analytics and you’ll be able to learn where your fans are coming from. An option to sign-up to a mailing list on your site will also give you a means of contacting them.

Hopefully the information above should provide a good starting point for using data to plan your next steps as an artist or band. 

For more information this topic, Wide Days are hosting a panel titled “Data Rocks!” as part of their conference this Friday, 21st April.

Toni Malyn

 Head of Marketing & Customer Support, EmuBands

Ailsa Harper