The Insanity Of Tracking Music Sales In A Shazam World

Ok, get ready for a quick but windy road. No pot of gold at the end, but I promise to make you think.

Last night I watched an old episode of Californication through Showtime On Demand on my Time Warner Cable. I heard a song track at the end of the episode and wanted to find out the artist. I used the Shazam app on my iPhone 4 to find out it was 3 Rounds & A Sound by Blind Pilot. I used the Shazam app to email myself and my girlfriend the info, as she liked the song too.

This morning, I checked the email, followed the iTunes link to buy the song and voila. Blind Pilot got a sale by being featured on a 3 year old tv show. They likely have no idea they are still getting sales from that show. Or maybe they do, but it would only be a hunch.

I imagine iTunes knows that the song came from a Shazam link. And hopefully that data is being passed on to the artist. But beyond that, they have no idea if I was at a bar, a friend’s house, or watching a raunchy yet incredibly well written premium channel TV drama.

In a world of digital cable and mobile phone apps and video game commercials (which could cause a 550% overnight jump in sales) the game of marketing music is very much a wild west.

Social media monitoring and iTunes metrics and Google Analytics and Nielsen tracking data can all give you glimpses of the consumer path I have outlined above. But they would not get you the whole story line.

As it was with marketing before the rise of the internet, we are often playing a game of educated guesses and hunches in proving the success of marketing.

Word of mouth and eyeballs on your product (or in this case ears) are as important as ever.

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