Thursday, May 31, 2012

Grooveshark's Beluga Analytics

Beluga Screen Shot image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
This week beleaguered Grooveshark released its free analytics tool called "Beluga." It's an interesting tool for researching the demographics and music habits of the people listening to a particular artist. Even better, it's free.

What's more, you can even dig deep into the culture and lifestyle, socioeconomics and product affinities of the listeners. And it's free.

Culture and lifestyle provide answers to questions like:
Do you own any of the following gaming systems?
What languages do you speak?
What kind of pets do you own?
How many children live in your home?
Socioeconomics questions include:
What's your current employment status?
What's your annual income?
What cellphone network do you use?
What brands of credit/debit cards do you use?
Not enough? How about some product affinity info like:
What kind of gaming system do you use?
What kind of insurance do you currently have?
What bank do you currently use?
Do you use any of the following websites?
So exactly how does Grooveshark get all of this info just from streaming some music? They've actually been offering opt-in surveys to their users for a while, which allows them to collect a tremendous amount of data on the listener if he/she chooses to answer the questions.

Why is Beluga a free service? On their FAQ page, they'll give you a mumbo-jumbo non-answer, but the underlying reason is that Grooveshark knows it's in trouble in the streaming business, facing some stiff competition from services like Pandora and Spotify as well as the wrath of the major record labels. There's a lot more money to be made in data collection, so Grooveshark is actually positioning itself for life after music streaming, as I see it.

What's the achilles heel? If an artist isn't on Grooveshark, there's no way to determine any information about their listeners. The Beatles aren't represented on the service, so there's no demographic data available as a result.

That said, it's a pretty cool tool if you're an artist and you're on the service (By the way, Grooveshark is about to release an artist's upload tool that will make that easier in the future). By no means do you get a complete picture of your listeners, but it's another piece of the puzzle. Did I mention that it's free (at least for now)? Check out Beluga here.

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