2021 is finally here. It’s pretty difficult to ignore the statistics behind your music.
Building your music online and making it viral on Spotify and YouTube means being exposed to the number of times your tracks have been listened to.
While these statistics could be useful to you as an artist to some degree, they’ll additionally do lots of harm.
It’s natural to think that views and stream statistics could totally represent a track’s value, however, that isn’t true at all.
The truth is that streaming stats can’t start to define you or your music. Focusing on them too much will hurt your creativity and make it tougher to reach your goals.
What streaming stats can and can’t say about you and your music
Songs that rack up lots of plays are not necessarily “better” than ones that don’t.
As long as they are accurate—and sometimes they aren’t—public streaming numbers display how many times a particular song was listened to, and that’s about it.
The numbers don’t show your creativity as a music-maker, the potential for success of your songs, or your worth as an artist.
Music is arguably the most powerful and limitless art form in this world, and it could not be summed up by streaming stats.
There are countless great songs that never get heard and loads of popular songs that are rapidly forgotten. Both you and your audience will lose when you let the numbers behind your songs shape your creativity and identity as an artist.
It’s simple to forget that your authenticity and creative curiosity are your most vital assets as an artist. Obsessing over the numbers threatens these assets in a big way.
4 ways streaming stats can’t reflect music’s value
So if public streaming stats can’t show the true value of a track, what can?
It’s a great question to ask, and the answer shall be different for each of us.
One useful way to look at it’s by asking what streaming stats can’t define us about music. This isn’t an entire list, however, listed here are a few of the major factors of value in music that streaming stats can’t reveal:
1. Creative value
The creative value of a track is far too complex to be defined by public streaming stats. It’s because what’s creatively engaging changes for each of us not only as musicians but also as listeners.
A song’s popularity can’t let you know whether it’s honestly creative and innovative or not.
2. Connection with listeners
Streaming stats show us how many times your songs are listened to, however, they can’t define how listeners are engaging with your music.
For instance, there’s a large difference between lots of listeners streaming your tracks once and a few listeners streaming them hundreds of times.
The particular connections your work makes with audiences are the most powerful relationships you will have as a music-maker.
You might not have lots of streams, however, when you are making these connections you are distributing a dedicated following that shall be with you for the long haul.
3. Potential for success
While streaming stats could show us a lot about a song’s momentum, it isn’t a definitive indication of commercial potential.
You can create an incredible track that millions of people would love to listen to, however, it doesn’t mean it’ll get the attention it deserves.
4. Staying power
A lot of streams don’t define anything about whether a song shall be remembered a year from now let alone decades into the future.
What decides whether your music shall be remembered are the connections it forms with listeners, not the numbers it generates.
Streaming analytics can help or hurt you as an artist
This data breaks down who’s listening to your music by age, gender, and location.
Used correctly, analytics could help you make a great plan for your next tour and identify which of your tracks is getting the most momentum.
However, similar to public streaming stats, obsessing over analytics and letting them shape your music is a bad idea.
Over a short period of time, analytics can show you that listeners are flocking to one of your tracks.
That’s clearly a great sign, however, it doesn’t mean you should make an album filled with tracks that sound just like it. And the lack of momentum you see in your other songs doesn’t mean they aren’t enough value.
With technology that permits you to see when and where listeners are streaming your music in real-time, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the numbers related to your songs.
However, if you choose to look past them and make them authentically and on your own terms, you will make your best music.