Why Streaming is the Future of the Entertainment Industry

There is always lot of talk in the music industry about streaming. From the artist’s ability to control their music, to profitability to the increase of accessibility for the fans. The platforms for streaming – Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc. – are consistently in the middle of all those conversations. Tim Ingham of Music Business Worldwide reports “the biggest independent streaming services in the US and Europe are losing millions of dollars every month.” But what if they could change the conversation?

I am lucky enough to work at a company that is paying attention to the future of data, data rights and am surrounded by people who truly believe “we can do that.” Over the past few months, as Umbel continues to focus on the entertainment industry, we started looking into:

  1. What sources of data exist in the music space?
  2. How could we help our clients leverage those data points?

With these two questions in mind, we started digging into streaming platforms.


By looking at the first party data being generated by users of streaming, you can see trends, artist affinities, influencers and more. Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube are powerful platforms that event promoters can use to provide a more relevant, personalized experience for fans. Thus, streaming platforms can be powerful marketing channels available for entertainment brands.

There is no better time to serve an ad to a fan for an upcoming show then immediately after they’ve streamed the artist’s music.

In this moment, the fan has context and appreciation for the artist’s work that they might not otherwise have. At Umbel, we are creating a way to go deeper with this concept and give this rich fan data back to the artists, festivals, promoters and labels.

Take festivals as an example. Every festival fan lives for the day that their favorite festival announces its lineup. The day the lineup drops and the fan hits the link they are taken to a page with the headliners listed in big bold print. It’s in this moment where the seeds are planted in the fan’s mind about whether or not they will attend the festival. If everything works out the fan will love the headliners and start to make plans to attend. This process has been the same for the last twenty years.

But what if instead of everybody seeing the exact same lineup, each fan was able to get their own lineup that is presented to them in order of their music preferences? If they love EDM, they see the deadmau5, Skrillex and Calvin Harris. If they love indie rock music, they see Radiohead, Band of Horses and Pavement at the top of the list. By providing a curated lineup promoters will undoubtedly sell more tickets.

This is possible! By adding streaming data into their fan database, festivals can use it to help inform line-ups, target advertisements on platforms to ensure higher conversions and also show the artists a tangible lift in their fans by playing at the festival.

Fans benefit, festivals benefit and streaming data becomes increasingly integrated with the live music experience. With this added benefit, festivals are able to offer the fans something of value and in turn they will gladly grant access to their streaming preference data.

Now imagine being able to combine this data with RFID, social, brand affinity, email and ticketing data. This data set as a whole becomes much more valuable for the festival and in turn makes enhances the experience for the fan from ticket purchase to in-venue and beyond.

By changing the paradigm around streaming, not only can the platforms become more profitable, but also the artists, promoters and festivals will gain more control over their fans’ data and as fans we will gain a richer and more holistic experience.