Beyond Survey Research: Forecasting via Big Data to Plan Artist Campaigns

Beyond Survey Research: Forecasting via Big Data to Plan Artist Campaigns

At Gracie Management, I have worked with a great team of people to do a myriad of research for artists and labels, along with publishing public-facing reports that you can see again herehere and here. And while we have conducted a lot of primary research that have asked people direct and indirect questions, there is also a lot of direction that an artist/label can get via Big Data. And to be clear, I don’t simply mean volumetric data you get from social media insight programs, which essentially function like descriptive data, rather insight that can help you understand past trends, along with predicting future ones.

There are many tools you can use, but one of the easiest, and I would argue one of the best, is Google Trends. With the ability to examine search data going all the way back to 2004, along with the ability to make estimate into the immediate future, it is a great tool to understand longitudinally what has happened with a brand, topic, etc. and where it is going. So, for example, what if you wondered for your fledgling record label if now is a good time to sign a new Electronic Dance Music (EDM) artist. By examining the musical genre as a term, we see starting around November 2012, there is the start of a huge increase in interest around it, with its peak in April 2014, right after the Ultra Music Festival, and trends since show that interest remains fairly high, once again peaking in 2015 around Ultra (side note – a good future predictor of the highs and lows of the commercial success of the genre can also be tied to monitoring discourse around the festival itself).

Google Trends

As we look to forecast, i.e., predict the future, the expectation is interest in EDM will reach record peak in April 2016, so for that label owner, this genre is far from dead. If the owner can get to market with signing an act and having a campaign live by later Winter/early Spring 2016, the climate would be very favorable to foster interest in a new artist, but also to gain equity from general sentiment and excitement about the genre during this time,

Okay, so we except the EDM trend will continue for some time, but how do we help ensure that our new label signing will get noticed and the band’s audience to expand quickly? In theory, a good publicist should be able to do this based upon his/her contacts and a half-decent strategy, but there are tools that a band/label can use on their own today that use network analysis (click here for a quick primer on it) to identify conversations around topics, who has the most influence in those conversations, and how strong and how far those connections go, along with their social media handles for a way to get into contact.



Image courtesy of Large circles represents the size of communities, while the orange dots indicate important influencers in those communities.

In conclusion, whether you are an artist going a pure indie route, a PR rep for a band, or a band’s marketing director, the use of big data in these more creative ways can help take a campaign much farther as they help  you to a) forecast, b) messaging and c) messengers.  As society continues to produce more and more data each day, it should become easier for someone willing to take a little time and effort to understand forecasting and network analysis to find their niche audience and to build outward from there to become mass if they so desire.



Chasson Gracie

11-Time Award Winning Marketer

Founder and Chief Strategy Officer


Phone: (503) 610-8458

Skype: graciemgt