LASER – the algorithm for Europe’s rising talents
At first algorithms often have a bad reputation. But their invaluable power in organising the world getting more and more complex, making its diversity visible and understandable is undeniable. Also in the creative world of music.
LASER (= Live Artists Search Engine & Recommendations) is an algorithm-based software service that mines data from digital music streaming services and social media to assist live music promoters in discovering and booking European artists. Why is it needed?
No individual’s capacity is able to know what’s really going on in music anymore. That means for music business: What existing artists fit my club or festival? Who are they? And most important: Is there anyone else in this town who wants to listen to their music?
The same headliners return too often
Recently, festivals and associations reported a weakening trend for 2019. Christof Huber, festival director of Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen and general secretary of Yourope, the European Festival Association, says: “My personal view is that the market has been quite saturated for a few years. Also, the same headliners return too often and sometimes play multiple festival seasons.”
It’s comprehensible to rest in safety with big players everybody knows. But it does not represent what’s going on in Europe, future and talent-wise. So how to refresh festival line-ups and get young talent discovered without burning money?
With its newly launched initiative Music Moves Europe the EU Commission wants to get to know the needs of the music industry, to respond to its challenges and to sound out the framework conditions for a possible funding program for this sector from 2021 onwards. In this context, the Berlin tech company and booking platform gigmit was awarded the contract to research streaming and fan data and to develop a first pilot to advance the data-driven strategy.
A tool to assits live music bookers
LASER will be developed, launched and promoted to the European music industry as a tool to assist live music bookers to discover artists that fit their venue’s programming requirements and have an existing and growing fanbase in their regions. It can conversely be used by artists to discover locations in which they have a growing fanbase, and contact venues requesting performance opportunities.
Where comes the data from? Yet such data does exist. Streaming platforms such as Spotify, Deezer, Soundcloud and Apple collect valuable anonymized data about listeners. This can be combined with data drawn from social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to develop a detailed profile of the location and characteristics of the audience who follows a specific artist.
Currently such data is fragmented, partial and incomplete. Anyone attempting to research a specific artist’s listenership would have to visit multiple platforms to collect various data points. Much data is simply not accessible, with some being visible only to specific users. Very little data can be segmented or isolated based on a specific location. Further, this data does not reveal trends over time, such as audience growth.
Promote the visibility of otherwise undiscovered artists
LASER will solve this problem as the digital tool to collect, analyze and present this data in a user-friendly format. This would enable music industry professionals to discover emerging artists that fit a specific profile, such as music genre, audience size, and characteristics, all based on locational distribution.
The objective is to increase the availability of European music by improving the algorithmic curation of live music programming and boosting the discoverability of European artists. This will promote the visibility of otherwise undiscovered artists seeking live music performance opportunities across Europe.