Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Market Research 2.0: Soundout

In the current economic climate, it is inevitable that as budgets get squeezed any sort of investment within the creative industries must increasingly become science-like. As
Peter Drucker once said, "what gets measured gets managed."

Soundout is a new web application developed by Slicethepie which enables labels, publishers, artists and broadcasters to anonymously subject users to their music and receive demographic profiling and consumer insight stats on their recordings.

I think this is a great idea, and an affordable solution for artists big and small. However, one caveat is that market research can sometimes be too clinical and miss out on freak accidents of success and chance.

A well-known example of this is Kenna. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell illustrated how a number of very influential tastemakers tipped the artist for huge commercial success. Initially this did not materialize due to poor feedback from radio airplay research reports. However, artist and tastemaker alike have been vindicated now that Kenna has been nominated for Best Urban Performance in the 2009 Grammy's.

As a music fan I wouldn't be too happy knowing that if everything I listened to had gone through rigorous market research prior to being released. It's somehow fine if this is done organically by Hype Machine but the anonymous aspect of Soundout isn't open enough for me. Music discovery should be about chance and randomness.

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