On my first day in a new role a few years back, a colleague asked whether I’d like to see the marketing reports. A little later, they handed me a couple of sheets of paper with sales and streaming figures for the previous day, week, month and quarter. I asked if I could also have the marketing reports they’d mentioned, only to be told that what I was already holding them. Hmmmm …

OK, so knowing your listens and sales is critical if you work in a label, especially in a marketing or accounts role. But those numbers only tell a tiny piece of the story. And really, you already know the numbers …

You know the numbers for every track and every artist. No matter how many releases you have, you don’t need a report to tell you the numbers. Because the numbers are always the same. They were the same yesterday, and the day before that. The same every day, for every track. Just one number that always repeats itself and is easy to memorize. And that number is the number ‘not enough’.

Looking at yesterday’s listens doesn’t tell us anything about tomorrow’s marketing.

Somebody is always going to tell you that the number of streams or the number of sales is not enough. And even if they don’t, you should be telling yourself that.

Looking at yesterday’s listens doesn’t tell us anything about tomorrow’s marketing. The most useful marketing or A&R insight we can ever hope to glean from those figures is that somebody did something right and somebody did something wrong. But it doesn’t tell us what those things were, who did them or what else we could have done. Maybe listeners just hated the track … or loved it. How do you know?

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