This is interesting, potentially important research, essential reading for independent minded musicians.
A study by a Microsoft researcher, Nancy K Baym, examines how musicians and the music industry can use social media metrics to analyse and identify an audience for specific performances and products. Nancy has been talking to successful players of online media, such as the world’s most-followed cellist Zoe Keating and the singer-songwriter, Erin McKeown.
Zoe Keating has learned from hard experience how to differentiate and discount click-stats: ‘I know that all of those people are not really following me,’ she says, ‘I’m certainly under no illusions that they are all my fans.’
The English solo bass player Steve Lawson says:
|I’ve had people with millions of followers on Twitter recommend me, and it result in 70 clicks through to my Web site. And I’ve had people with a couple of thousand followers recommend me on Twitter and it result in 300 clicks. […] I could stand on a couple of buildings shouting at the entire town and if they ignore me it doesn’t matter, but I can, you know, sit on a park bench and talk to three people and if they’re listening then it can change things. Attention is the currency, not the number of people you’re throwing the information towards.|
Baym concludes that it’s too early to offer a precise formula how to turn online followers into an active audience but… we’re getting there. Here’s a summary of her research and here’s the full paper.