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There’s a New Music Research Platform That Could–COULD–Shake Up What You Hear on Canadian Radio

Earlier this year, I was on a panel at a conference set up by the CRTC designed to investigate the state of the Canadian music industry. Joining me were Steve Kane, the president of Warner Music Canada and Paul Tuch, who works for Nielsen Canada. Nielsen offers all kinds of metrics when it comes to how well music is performing and what consumers are doing. They, for example, are the people behind SoundScan, the point-of-sale counting regime that allows the industry to know exactly how many copies of each record is sold.

When the conversation drifted deeper into new consumer behaviours in the era of the Internet, I brought up how radio programmers often worked in the dark because the data we traditionally use to make music decisions had become inadequate. Sales numbers hardly tell the whole story anymore. Consensus airplay–looking what other like-minded radio stations are playing–isn’t helpful, either. Unless stations are spending big dollars on audience research with things like weekly call-outs, you end up with nothing more than a big echo chamber.

“There’s so much more we need to consider,” I said. “What about YouTube views? I’d like to know how songs are streaming, but the streaming charts that are available aren’t segregated by format and genre. Speaking of which, I know on a good week that a Bieber song will stream 3 million times–which, I guess, is good. But what about a new track from Kings of Leon? How’s it streaming? And is that number good or not? Then there are all the other metrics. Spotify/Apple Music plays, for instance. And I don’t want to know just how many times certain songs were called up. I want to know the skip rate on songs. What about SoundCloud? Should that factor into any measurement stats? What kind of sharing is happening on Facebook or Twitter? Even social media mentions would be helpful in determining what new songs/artists are blowing up.

“Sure, I could get all this data myself, but it would require me to visit dozens of sites and take hours to compile every week. My wish is that all this information could be unified into a single dashboard so I could check on the health of any song with a glance.”

Paul just smiled. “It’s coming,” he said.

Today, Nielsen announced Music Connect Canada, “an innovative and intuitive platform that leverages Nielsen’s trusted data and insights to provide the Canadian music industry with a comprehensive view of music consumption information. Music Connect delivers in-depth and up-to-date data across multiple measurement metrics including streaming, airplay, sales and social media activity for artists, albums and songs all on a fast and user-friendly dashboard.”

Let’s continue.

“Nielsen continues to lead the industry in its ability to measure consumers’ interaction with artist content, and Music Connect is the next step in that progression,” said Paul Shaver, Head of Nielsen Music Canada.  “As the music industry landscape continues to evolve, it is paramount that all stakeholders have access to reliable data and insights that can help drive more informed business decisions.”

Music Connect offers all levels of the Canadian music industry – from label executives and managers to promoters, agents and brands – the unique opportunity to search for data in 72 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs); monitor music trends on a national or market level; directly compare and benchmark metrics across different albums, artists, and songs; and access over 100 charts including the Billboard Canadian Albums and Billboard Hot 100 charts.  Users can also easily navigate between Canadian and U.S. music consumption information all within this one platform.

Okay, I’m in. Hey, Paul! Wanna give me a free evaluation trial?


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38324 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “There’s a New Music Research Platform That Could–COULD–Shake Up What You Hear on Canadian Radio

  • If it means the local alt-rock station will stop devoting 8 hours a day to Metric, I’m sold.

    Nothing against Metric but “today’s hottest new music” should involve more than a single band.


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