Next Big Sound Tracks Online Music Discovery and Sharing

Analytics provider Next Big Sound has released its State of Online Music report, which provides a detailed look at how social networks, streaming services, online radio and digital downloads are impacting the way consumers discover and share new music. Online growth was staggering in 2012 with a 45 percent increase in new plays, 67 percent increase in new fans and 6 percent increase in new profile views.

“It would take close to 100 Gangnam Styles on YouTube to make up the number of online plays in 2012,” explains Next Big Sound.

While the report suggests that it can be challenging to identify the most successful strategies for releasing and promoting new music today, it’s worth noting that social network activity was up across the board, and certain channels saw more growth than others.

“As for where it is best to place your social focus, we found that YouTube/VEVO, Twitter, and Facebook activity for an artist had the highest correlation to both debut and peak chart position on the Billboard Hot 100,” indicates Next Big Sound. “Fan activity on Soundcloud tripled in 2012, making it the fastest growing social service for music.”

The report says that artists on major record labels were responsible for three quarters of all music sales in 2012. However, that doesn’t necessarily translate directly to social activity. “Unsigned/independent artists represent 2x market share in social compared to sales,” according to the report.