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The Insights Evolution: Why Only Obsessing About Sales Is Holding You Back
Connecting Data in New Ways is Key to Achieving and Measuring Success
By Mi2N
(more articles from this author)
2014-03-13
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Nielsen's 2014 SXSW presentation, "The Insights Evolution: Why Only Obsessing About Sales Is Holding You Back," focuses on the benefits of building awareness through web/social activity; driving discovery through radio and streaming; and maximizing sales through radio and TV for new song releases in today's digital world.

"Digital consumption has reached the masses, with a majority of consumers in the U.S. streaming music last year," says David Bakula, SVP Client Development & Industry Insights, Nielsen Entertainment. "The change in consumption requires us to continually evolve how we measure and define success."

The following is a sampling of insights associated with today's presentation showing how consumers are accessing content in new ways:
* In 2013, 68% of U.S. consumers streamed music (includes YouTube music videos)
* Music listening via streaming services increased 40% from 2012 to 2013.
- Consumers who streamed music via paid streaming services rose from 4.2% to 4.9%
- Consumers who streamed music via free streaming services rose from 26.8% to 38.6%
* Music on mobile devices is almost as ubiquitous as the car radio.
- 56% of respondents listened to music on the car radio in a typical week; 53% listened to music on their mobile devices during the same period
- 67% of respondents listened to music on the car radio within a 12-month period; 69% listened to music on mobile devices during the same period; 72% listened to music on their desktop or laptop computer during the same period

Nielsen looked at the lifecycles of a sampling of the top songs in terms of commercial success (by sales, On-Demand streams and airplay) in 2013 and analyzed a trended view of sales, radio audience, on-demand streams, and web/social activity for those artists, leading to the following conclusions:
* In many cases, web/social activity before the release of a song drives awareness, contributing to first-week sales and consumer activity.
* Radio can be a vital driver of On-Demand streaming and sales.
* The first 8 to 12 weeks of a new release can present the best opportunity for TV and other exposure.
* Around week 12, consumption typically reaches its peak.
* After 12 weeks, artists should look for crossover opportunities to engage new audiences as consumption starts to decline.
* In the long term, streaming presents the opportunity to lengthen monetization opportunities.

"Understanding how touch-points work both independently and interdependently in driving commercial success for artists is the cornerstone of commercial growth for the industry. The journey may be unique for different songs, artists and genres, but maximizing consumer engagement across various channels from pre-release through to commercial peak in week 12 is the common denominator," added Julanne Schiffer, SVP Insights and Analytics, Nielsen.

Nielsen developed case studies for Lorde's "Royals" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky feat. Pharrell" by analyzing song performance (streams, web/social, sales, radio and TV appearances) over an extended period of time. These two songs out of the gate generated different outcomes — while streaming drove awareness and consumption for "Royals," web/social activity drove awareness and radio drove consumption for "Get Lucky."

Royals
Findings include:
* In April 2013, On-Demand streaming sets off an upward trajectory, paving the way for awareness, with streams almost doubling (85% increase) during that month.
* Web/social activity picked up in mid-May 2013, with Wikipedia views increasing 138%.
* Radio audience picked up in June driving Sales, Streaming and Web/Social activity into high gear.
- On-Demand streams increased an average of 22% weekly, with its greatest single week increase being 118%
- Sales went from 5,700 to 196,000 units, with an average weekly increase of 21% (greatest one-week increase of 89% occurred first week after release)
- Wikipedia views increased 18% on average each week; 53% second week after release

Get Lucky
Findings include:
* From late 2012 to mid-April 2013, web/social activity led the way for awareness, with weekly Wikipedia views increasing from 56,000 to 435,000.
* In May 2013 Streaming and web/social activity reached their peak, while Radio continued to climb steadily to drive Sales to its highest level in mid June 2013.
- On-Demand streams increased an average of 14% weekly (greatest one-week increase was 110% the first week following release)
- Sales went from 113,000 to 205,000 units, an average weekly increase of 9% (greatest one-week increase was 53%, occurring the fifth week after release)
- Radio audience increased by an average of 42% weekly (greatest one-week increase was 150%, occurring the first week following release)

TV appearances on the GRAMMY Awards more than doubled sales for "Get Lucky" (122% increase) and increased sales of "Royals" by 33%.


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