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Streaming music platforms and social media are an open window to the metrics of artists and, consequently, a fundamental support for the analysis of music promoters when deciding which artist or band is the best for you to hire.

Of course, it is very important to be clear how to approach these statistics and understand what they represent if we do not want the numbers to lead our concert to disaster.

In this post we will focus our attention on Spotify as the most popular streaming platform in the world, with more than 381 million active monthly users by the end of 2021.

The statistics on Spotify 

Spotify makes it easy. Just put the name of an artist in the search engine, click and reach his profile to see the number of monthly listeners he has.

A few hundred thousand listeners would probably be enough for many to start negotiating to hire the artist. But beware, we can take some surprises as we will see later.

As long as we face a data, the first thing is to contextualize it. See what is behind it so we can weigh it properly.

And for this it is essential to know the metric that we are going to analyze: what shows us and why, with what logic.

So let’s get to it.

What are monthly listeners on Spotify?

Monthly listeners on Spotify are the only users who listen to an artist’s songs for 28 days.

Therefore, if an artist presents a million active monthly listeners, a priori, the perspectives for hiring them are quite good.

Now then, the fact that it has a large number of listeners does not mean that this artist is a certain value.

In this regard it is important to consider:

FIRST: Those listens can be passive, that is, a song of that artist can be included in an editorial or algorithmic list, and a user has listened to it without much interest, among many others. That listener is one more listener in that monthly count, but he is not a quality listener. He may not have paid attention to the song, or listened to it and did not like it. And, however, he is just another listener.

SECOND: If the artist or song are in fashion because it has gone viral, it is a collaboration or has aroused a great media interest for multiple issues, probably their streams have shot up on the platform. Pay attention to hype. Just because an artist generates buzz does not mean he will sell a lot of tickets.

Also check the statistics of their songs. See that, among the most popular, all have a more or less similar number of listens. If one shows an exorbitant number in relation to the rest, that artist does not arouse interest. Neither does his music.

Just a song that may have appeared in an ad, a series, gone viral in Tik Tok, or as we indicated in the previous point, to have entered an editorial playlist where it is causing minimal impact.

TERCERO: Ese número de oyentes mensuales que muestra la plataforma de Spotify es un dato descontextualizado. No sabemos si el número que nos muestra es positivo o negativo. Si muestra un crecimiento en oyentes, si se mantiene estable o si, por el contrario, su número de oyentes está disminuyendo y para cuando llegue la fecha de tu evento pocos van a tener intención de acudir a él.

THIRD: That number of monthly listeners shown by the Spotify platform is a decontextualized data. We do not know if the number it shows is positive or negative. If it shows a growth in listeners, if it remains stable or if, on the contrary, its number of listeners is decreasing and by the time your event date arrives few will intend to attend it.

The application of Spotify does not allow us to access a history to track its evolution, linking the current data with previous months.

For this there are services such as Drop.Show, with which you can know, among many other statistics, the trend that is following the music of the artist.

Does all this mean that the data of monthly listeners is not reliable at all? Far from it.

If an artist has a million listeners it is clear that a large percentage of them have interest in the artist. But it is important to be clear about all the factors that make up this figure.

At this point you might ask: is there any way to know which of those listeners have an interest in the artist?

And the answer is yes. But not a resounding yes. As always, the important thing is to put the data in perspective.

Emphasizing this, we will take care of the followers.

¿Qué son los seguidores en Spotify? What are followers on Spotify?

Followers on Spotify are users who have clicked on “Follow” an artist to be aware of when he releases new music.

With this action, users show a greater degree of interest towards an artist than the one suggested by the occasional streams.

Spotify understands that this user wants to be aware of the news related to that artist, so they will include their songs in their algorithmic playlists and send communications via email about new releases and concerts near their area.

At this point, the listener is more committed to that artist and his music.

He is a fan, so this metric will be a much more reliable indicator of the interest that an artist arouses compared to the number of listeners.

Of course, a follower does not have to always be listening to an artist. In fact, superstars like Ariana Grande or Ed Sheeran have more followers than monthly listeners. But it is a sign of good engagement. Of fidelity to that or that artist.

An exceptional case, for the strange thing, could be that of an artist who has a high number of followers and hardly has listeners. Which would show the public forgetting.

We must also keep in mind that, as a general rule, the number of followers of an artist will always rise. Otherwise it would be evidence of a major reputation crisis for that artist who is losing followers. It is unusual, but if you come across a case like this, dismiss his hiring immediately.

Let’s look at some current examples:

In mid-December 2021, Ariana Grande has more than 73 million followers and more than 71 million listeners.

gráfica oyentes y seguidores Ariana Grande

 

For his part, Ed Sheeran has over 89 million followers and over 80 million listeners.

gráfica oyentes y seguidores Ed Sheeran

 

Whereas Rosalia, for example, has almost 5 million followers and more than 23 million listeners.

grafica oyentes y seguidores Rosalía

 

Here we see how Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran have a lot of engagement. A committed audience that follows them and listens to their songs.

On the other hand, in the case of Rosalia dominates the hype. The artist has made multiple collaborations in recent years with The Weeknd, Tokischa, Billie Eilish or Travis Scott. Songs that lead the playlists of novelties and accumulate millions of reproductions and listeners, but that do not translate into a greater commitment by the public.

The conversion Spotify

Conversion on Spotify is the metric that establishes the relationship between listeners and followers of an artist.

That is, what percentage of those listeners are followers.

So we can easily compare artists based on their public’s commitment to them.

The conversion is obtained by dividing the number of followers among the monthly listeners.

Followers / Listeners = Conversion

Which will give us a result between 0 and 1. Being 0 a very low interest and 1 a very high fidelity by the audience.

The ideal result of the operation would be 1, as it would indicate that the proportion of listeners and followers is balanced. All listeners would be followers.

Following the previous artists, the conversion of Ariana Grande would be 1.02. A very safe hiring bet.

gráfica conversión Ariana Grande

Ed Sheeran’s conversion is 1.12. The result slightly exceeds 1 because the artist has, at the moment, more followers than listeners.

gráfica conversión Ed Sheeran

Finally, the conversion of Rosalia is 0.21. Which suggests that, although the artist has a strong power of call, the promoter must be cautious not to be carried away by the more than 23 million listeners that shows Spotify. As well as studying the locations of those followers.

gráfica conversión Rosalía

 

In all three cases we see a decreasing trend of coversion. Looking at the charts of listeners and followers we see that it is due to a marked change of trend in the streams. All three are attracting many new listeners as their follower numbers follow a progressive, natural, no-jumps trend.

Consider that a great leap may be due to the fact that an artist has hit very hard and has aroused great interest in a short time, as was the case with Rosalia herself in her day or Billie Eilish, or on the contrary, it can also indicate that an artist or group is buying followers to improve their reputation. Which does not translate into a real number of followers.

Always check the press before hiring. It will be a good indicator if the artist is really generating interest. If you do not have much presence in the media, if you do not find news, reviews, interviews or chronicles of their concerts, even if it is in underground media that contribute sense to the jump of the graphic, distrust.

Conclusion

As we have seen, Spotify can be a great ally when it comes to deciding which artist is the best for you to hire to make your event a success. But we cannot be swayed by the data showing us cold. The data is only data, and it depends on the promoter, you, or big data professionals such as the team that integrates Drop.Show, contextualize them to give them meaning and that they are really useful to us.