Tracking Online Music

The world of online music has been evolving and expanding for a long time now. As more people listen and discover more music online, all of our listening, viewing, 'liking', and tweeting creates a mass of data ripe for aggregation and analysis. The volume is staggering. 

Next Big Sound published a 2011 State of Online Music report that estimated there were more than 64 billion plays tracks played online. A counter on their website shows more than 52 million plays today. NBS is a startup that tracks the popularity of music across more than a dozen digital music services and social media websites. There are some notable absences in their list of services, especially Spotify that launched recently in the United States. One site I visit frequently when I'm looking for new music is Bandcamp, which is not yet on their list. 

A great way to hear new music is to stream on Spinner, NPR, and 3voor12 the week prior to their release but those plays are not counted here. I can understand why they don't track those plays as they are just a sampling of the music that you may not suit your musical palate. And there are other streaming sites that are of questionable legality when it comes to copyright that makes sense not track.

It's an incomplete picture of trends in online music but gives you a sense of the scale of our online engagement with music.  BP

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