Band Metrics is a new semantic web application, currently in private beta but about to go public, which aims to give musicians the ability to measure the success of their music online. In particular musicians will be able to get metrics showing them who's listening to, sharing and talking about their music across various social networking and blog sites. A recent blog post from the company states that Band Metrics is using "a machine learning framework with natural language processing". Some of the things that musicians will eventually be able to do with the app include trend measurement, sentiment analysis, reputation management, and "maybe one day scratching the surface of the behaviors relative to music."
Band Metrics hopes to release their public beta within a few weeks. So far there have been nearly 7 million bands analyzed and 1.3 million songs. The number of songs is expected to expand 30-fold soon, after the company sorts out a glitch with its data mapping engine - which is "running into some conflicts deciphering [...] misspellings and artist variables" of songs.
Here are a couple of screenshots showing the type of data musicians and music industry professionals can expect.
The first is an example of where a band's fans are hanging out on popular music social networking sites. In the example below last.fm has the largest fan base. This kind of information will be very handy to bands, because it will enable them to target news and interactive features to the social platforms where most of their fans hang out.
The following screenshot shows examples of song stats on a website. The 'total plays' stat is not too disimilar to the 'page views' stats that online publishers track in Google Analytics - and indeed Band Metrics very much models itself after the popular Google Analytics service.
Band Metrics received angel funding in November '08. It is a project of Indie Music, Inc., an Atlanta-based music technology company founded by Duncan Freeman.
Statistics for musicians is an important next step for online music. As a Wall St Journal article about trendy indie musician Bon Iver noted, "exposure on blogs, YouTube, social-networking, marketing and other sites can allow them [musicians] to nurture a following quickly and cheaply." So services like Band Metrics will add an extra layer of granularity to that, allowing the next Bon Ivers to get hard data about their popularity on the Web.