'Apple Music for Artists' analytics tool exits beta, available for all musicians

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Apple has given all musicians a way to examine the listening habits of their fans, with 'Apple Music for Artists' exiting an extended beta test program on Thursday.

Initially rolled out to a few thousand artists in January 2018, Apple Music for Artists is now available across the board to content creators on Apple Music. Apple's new tool is an analytics platform that breaks down the streams and sales of individual songs in a variety of ways. The dashboard offers up both high-level and detailed views on songs, including analysis using a variety of different demographics that can drill down to the target audience the artist is aiming for.

From the homepage, key data including the number of plays, spins, song purchases, and album purchases on Apple Music and iTunes are provided, complete with notifications for reaching milestones. This data can be narrowed down to a specific period of time, including the last 24 hours and all activity since the launch of Apple Music in 2015.

Users can also refine the data geographically, selecting specific countries from the list of 115 that Apple Music is currently in operation, and can also descend down to data stemming from an individual city. At this low level, artists can also examine the demographics for a city or region and request their music's data specifically relating to that, such as females aged between 16 and 24 based in Los Angeles.

Geographical data mining of listeners can help with selecting the locations an artist could play during a tour. It can also assist to dictate the ideal setlist for each performance.

Other data provided in the service includes a list of all Apple-curated playlists featuring the artist's music, and how songs and the artist themselves trend over time. Apple reportedly did consider adding financial data to the dashboard, but elected to avoid doing so in its launch, allegedly because royalty payments are allegedly complex to calculate.

Apple believes the new dashboard will help independent acts, who typically do not have access to the data provided. Canadian R&B singer Daniel Caesar, who was consulted during the initial build and testing process, said at launch that the analytics tool "helps to level the playing field for artists like myself," noting that small teams don't have the resources of major labels to conduct market research, information which can influence marketing decisions and other important business areas.

While originally limited to the web, an iOS app has launched providing access to the service as well. Both the web-based version of the service and the app provide Shazam data as well.

Apple refreshed the News Publisher dashboard in August 2017 to make it easier to access and understand analytics the service provides. December 2017 saw the arrival of podcast analytics as an iTunes Connect beta, providing granular listener data.