Data is the new currency. The more that can be learned about and your habits, the more companies know what to do with the stuff that they want to sell. Microsoft is all over this.
Big data, well-assembled, can provide a comprehensive picture of a business’ current landscape. It’s the smart business, however, that can manipulate that data and put it to work for them in the future.
The music industry had to smarten up before many other industries. They learned to repurpose an unprecedented amount of customer data to evolve to a changing marketplace, reimagining their marketing strategies. Today, for many businesses, there is much to be learned from the trail those music companies have blazed over the last ten years.
The music industry was one of the first hugely impacted by the Internet, with large-scale file sharing that affected music sales. After several years of fighting this change, the music industry embraced digital music sales—and to use the data produced to offer their customers what they want.
What do your listening habits say about you? That’s one of the most important questions the digital music industry is asking as it develops new technology for highly targeted advertising.
The biggest players like Spotify, iHeartMedia and Pandora are developing technology to serve ads to listeners, and they all see value in targeting based on musical tastes. A fan tuned to a rock station fits one profile for iHeartMedia. A subscriber playing a workout mix gives Spotify a consumer to sell to real-time marketers.
The music platforms are in the middle of building ad machines that take advantage of this rich data. Just this week, Spotify launched playlist targeting that amasses like-minded listeners for advertisers. Earlier this month, iHeartMedia, launched a programmatic marketplace for advertisers to buy radio spots, piecing together local stations to accumulate a national reach.
“Using music as a proxy, Spotify has great insight into what people are doing,” said Jeff Levick, Spotify’s chief business officer.
Should you be concerned? Probably not. At the very worst, you’ll no longer be exposed to advertising that’s irrelevant to you. But now that you know you’re being watched, pay attention to what sorts of things are being served up at you.