Music Industry Data

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Big Data comes to music and entertainment 
studies -
and opens new avenues of research. 

Product Description

Throughout the modern era humanities research has been based on reading the established literature in journals and books, and incrementally expanding upon that knowledge. Research has been based on evaluation and opinion. With the recent rise in access to ‘big data’ and computational research tools, scholars are now seizing the opportunity to use analytical techniques in identifying evidence-based patterns of activity and significance and to make exciting leaps into new areas of theory and commentary.

Computational analysis of data enables researchers to identify previously unseen patterns of behaviour and circumstance. This is the key benefit of the data that is presented in the Music ID platform and surfaced through its analytical tools. These insights keep researchers at the forefront of accurate and insightful scholarly inquiry.

The sources used to obtain this quantitative data ensure its relevance to researchers interested in areas as diverse as business studies, gender history and reception theory, through the use of sales rankings for entertainment media. This concept of pan-disciplinary appeal is at the core of Music ID and the opportunity it represents for further products in adjacent areas.

No expertise in statistics is required to be able to make immediate use of the Music ID dataset. The Music ID interface presents the data to the user in the form of graphs, which can be superimposed across countries, representing any artist. Queries of the data can easily be combined to further quantify the cultural impact of music and musicians.

Music ID
“Quantify the cultural impact of music.”

Music ID is a database which aggregates a wealth of sales data, much of which has never before been available to researchers, and combines it with a layer of powerful interrogation and visualisation tools. It enables researchers to track histories, compare charts, explore relationships and – ultimately – discover new insights. Music ID is the first database to incorporate current and historical sales data from Billboard, Official Chart Company, and other reporting agencies across Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere.
  • Data from over 30 countries
  • Includes over 60 years of coverage
  • Updated weekly
  • Covers all genres from pop to classical, jazz and world music.
The following link highlights sample graphs, used in social media promotions to demonstrate the ways in which Music ID and Film ID can address questions relating to the business and cultural impact of music and film:


Music ID is also supported by a range of supplementary & contextual materials, similarly reaching back to the 1950s, which provide an historical and cultural background for the music of the age, with political events, sports, Nobel prizes, entertainment releases and more. In addition, Music ID links to academic journals from Wiley, Cambridge University Press, Taylor & Francis and more for the convenience of researchers.


"It will make music librarians wonder how we got by without it until now"
‘Note’s review, Music Library Association

"Music ID’s content is tremendously valuable; the charts from which it derives its data go back, in some cases, more than 60 years... the product already fills such a significant need for music researchers." 
                                The Charleston Advisor

"Music ID’s...set(s) itself apart from other online music resources by using analytical tools to gauge the impact of classical, jazz, and pop music all over the world." 
Booklist Online

"Music ID is an indispensable tool in examining chart data for the sales of sound recordings in countries around the world." 
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In short, the database should be of significant value to any institution with courses of study in pop music and history of contemporary Western music. 
University of Hong Kong

"…provides us with a statistical meta-narrative of popular culture…"
University of Northampton

"We set up a trial and have been very pleased with it and its application across the curriculum, not just in music…"
Bowling Green State University

The benefits for institutions and faculty: 
  • Makes new lines of academic inquiry possible 
  • Integrates our unique Sales Rankings with a timeline of World Events to give scholars a complete picture of the impact of music in social, political, and cultural contexts worldwide 
  • Encourages real rigor in scholarly investigations in the humanities 
  • Provides the opportunity to deliver new and inventive courses 
  • Supports the trend towards interdisciplinary academic study 
  • Attracts new students who are looking for data-driven research opportunities

The benefits for students:
  • Links academic study with real world commercial opportunities
    • communication and media (e.g. radio, TV, the printed press) arts and cultural administration (e.g., orchestras, music festivals and institutions)
    • archives and libraries
    • publishing and the recording industry
    • music technology
    • organizations promoting national and international cultural collaboratio
  • Allows students to export data in spreadsheets and to export Sales Rankings
    for use in coursework
  • Provides a fresh, data-driven lens into the musical achievements of musicians, songwriters and composers across countries and cultures.

What does Music ID do that customers cannot do for themselves?
  • Trusted, complete and authenticated licensed data sets. Get beyond individual weekly snapshots on the free Internet. 
  • Flexible platform for analysis across different artists and countries covering all genres of music.
  • Overcome the 'data smog' of the free Internet (Time Magazine). Gather insights across all genres of music in 30 countries.
  • Keep at the forefront of research with authentic ‘big data’ revealing new insights.

What are the benefits of Music ID?

Absolute tracking of Artist success/progress is very useful in identifying trends over time, eg.
  • How long singles remain in the rankings of charts
  • How successful top no. 1 track is each year
Adding items to a personal list (+ function) is good for creating sample specific sets of data.

Ability to arrange data by rankings, peak position, weeks in chart and so on is very useful to identify trends.

Ability to export data sets for further analysis makes the data extremely useful.
  • This enables the use of other tools eg. R Studio, Tableau and so on.
  • This is key for Digital Humanities research

Applications for Research

Tracking rise and fall of music genres over time.

Measuring artist success and its impact on other artists, or across countries.

Comparing longevity of successes of Albums and Artists.

Mapping cultural shifts in popular music.

Mapping trends in Classical music like original instrument performances.

The changes in popularity of music in different countries.

Calculating how long it takes genres/artists to ‘move across the ocean’ and become mainstream outside the US.

Identifying opportunities for labels to target marketing at specific countries
  • Eg. the export of Beyonce from the US to the UK and Japan
  • The impact of Psy from Korea to other Asian and Western countries

Music ID informs research

Data displayed in Sales Rankings

  • View Sales Rankings in relative or absolute relationships 
  • View metadata for each graph point 
  • Add data to a custom graph 
  • Zoom into details of Sales Rankings
  • Sort data by Artist, Writer, Label; First Charted Date; Most Recent Position; Peak Position; Weeks in Chart; Chart Type; Country

Advanced search and scholarly integration

  • Search for Artists, Albums, Singles or by date 
  • Access relevant articles in major academic publications with embedded links 
  • Listen to audio samples 
  • Filter by country and data type 
  • Superimpose any artist’s results on any other, around the world 
  • Export spreadsheets of data and images of graphs 
  • Store work in Research Folders

Make the connections

Provides more context for any artist or group you study, through
  • Bios 
  • Videos 
  • Related artists found by semantic indexing