2019-05-21 // Technique Tuesday: Curating the Curators

Using data to curate the biggest tastemakers in streaming....chartmetric.com @chartmetric #techniquetuesday #musicindustry #business #data #nerdout #analysis

  • Highlights
    • This Technique Tuesday brings you a fresh way to take a bite out of your data by learning how to curate the curators, the streaming world’s sometimes mysterious movers and doers. 
  • Mission   
    • No, this isn’t Jason with a cold; it’s Chartmetric’s newest voice, Rutger Rosenborg, and I’m happy to be here uploading charts, artists, and playlists into your brain so you can stay up on the latest in the music data world. 
  • Date
    • This is your Data Dump for Tuesday, May 21st, 2019.
  • Technique Tuesday: Curating the Curators
    • On today’s Technique Tuesday, we’re bringing you a fresh way to take a bite out of your data with a spoonful of meta-curation. 
    • Curators are the sometimes mysterious movers and doers of the streaming world determining what’s hot, what’s not, and what might have a shot — and all with a playlist. 
    • It might not be a surprise to anyone that Apple and Spotify are themselves the biggest curators in the streaming world — after all, they control their own DSPs. 
    • Let’s look at the green giant, Spotify,  which has a whopping 7,000-plus self-curated playlists to its name…. with a staggering 1.1 billion followers. How does that work, if its total user count is something like 200 million, counting both premium and ad-based users? Well, users must like Spotify playlists enough to subscribe to tons of them.
    • On the other side of the ring, despite its lower worldwide subscriber count, as a curator, Apple boasts more than twice the number of playlists than Spotify at around 17,500, all said and done.
    • C’est tout? Non, less is more for French streaming service Deezer, which  interestingly features official curators composed of a combination of geographic or genre based anonymous “editors” and face-forward “editors” like Fabio from Brazil, Emilia from Romania, and Stanislav from Russia. While Deezer’s playlist count is low, on the order of 1,500 or so dispersed amongst some 40-odd official Deezer editors, each editor ranges from thousands to multi-millions of followers.
    • There’s also Amazon’s mysterious Music Experts, who dictate all 2,800 playlists in their ecosystem, from “All Hits” to “Country Heat,” and “Pop Culture” to “I Miss the ‘90s.” “Cleaning the House” is a good one too, by the way.
    • But we’re talking macro level here. Let’s get into the weeds. As a curator, Spotify is clearly geared toward frontline pop hits, with its “Today’s Top Hits” playlist absolutely dominating the platform in terms of both listenership, at an estimated 5.7 million a month, and also follower count, at 23.2 million. Apple Music, on the other hand, is a bit more evenly dispersed, with its Hip-Hop, Alternative, and Pop sub-curators sitting at around 1,300 playlists each. Jazz, Rock, Indie, and Country hover between 800 and 1,000. Deezer is a bit more difficult to parse, numbers wise, because its curation focus is more geographic based. Suffice it to say, you’re probably not going to want to hit up Fabio for a Country Western pitch anytime soon.
    • Still too macro? Then it’s microscope time. What about those other curators — you know, the ones who aren’t necessarily funded by billion-dollar corporations.
    • On second thought … Fltr, Digster, and Topsify are three of the biggest third-party playlist curators, and they’re owned by Sony, Universal, and Warner, respectively. While it’s no secret where their curation interests lie, there are still the classic DJ tastemakers like Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike, who boast close to 2 million EDM-focused followers, or market-specific influencers like Hugo Gloss with 1.4 million Brazil-focused followers.
    • What’s clear here is that Spotify and Deezer are somewhat more democratic and accessible platforms for individual tastemakers with some skin in the game. Aside from prominent artists, individual users have managed to rack up hundreds of thousands of followers and exert influence on the playlist game. Apple Music and Amazon Music, on the other hand, have a tighter grip on the curation wheel, making their platforms more difficult to penetrate for third-party tastemakers. 
  • Outro
    • That’s a wrap for your Daily Data Dump for Tuesday, May 21st, 2019. This is Rutger from Chartmetric.
    • Free accounts are at app.chartmetric.com/signup
    • And article links and show notes are at: podcast.chartmetric.com.
    • Have a good rest of your Tuesday, and long live King Bran the Broken!

2019 Chartmetric