On August 18th, Universal Music Group entered into a long-term music monitoring and information deal with BigChampagne, the leading online music measurement company for North America. BigChampagne will provide Universal with analysis of songs and listening patterns from music fans on social networks and online music services.
“As we continue to expand our services to our artists and partner labels, it’s important to utilize the best research tools available especially when it comes to the proliferation of music discovery and consumption on the web,” stated Jim Urie, President & CEO of Universal Music Group Distribution. “And with the addition of BigChampagne, we provide a comprehensive view of the marketplace, from the radio, online, and retail perspectives, all of which results in more opportunities for our artists and labels.”
By embracing a Web intelligence product, Universal is indicating how important the Internet has become to the music business. It is also a sign to Nielsen’s media measuring company that Universal is not satisfied that they are equipped to provide all the information they need, especially when it comes to the internet.
Soundscan has been the leader in counting music purchases in the United States since 1992. The Billboard charts rely on Soundscan for the calculations. Exact numbers are not available, but it is estimated that Universal paid between 7 million and 8 million a year to Soundscan for their data.
Eric Garland is the CEO of BigChampagne. He said when his company started, people didn’t think there would ever be any company willing to spend money on internet-music listeners. But, today, it is very important.
CNet spoke to Garland who said:
“The Internet has inherited the music business, When you look at MySpace plays, Rhapsody, iTunes, Last.fm, all of that dwarfs traditional music purchasing. Instead of CDs, we paid attention to this sleepy little Internet thing, but it happened when no one was watching. Well, we were watching.”
Last week, BigChampagne rolled out BC Dash, a new browser-based tracking system that allows a user to monitor in real-time song sales or streams at a number of websites, offline locations and peer-to-peer networks. Some of the sources include iTunes, YouTube, MySpace, retail brick-and-mortar record stores and Limewire. They hope that this improvement will give Universal the kind of intelligence that guides strategy.
So, bottom line……..what will BigChampagne do for Universal? In easy terms, the company will collect information about how and where people enjoy popular music and then analyze the information to tell them what titles are most popular, who is interested and why.
The on-line world of music is ever-changing and developing. It is good to see that Universal Music Group is forward looking and continuing to add partners to help them do an even better job for their artists.
It seems that Clay Aiken is in good hands. It will be interesting to see how Decca uses all these new ideas as they work with Clay in the next few months.