If Netflix is using user-generated data to confidently launch successful programs like House of Cards, then it’s fair to say it’s been borrowing a page from the digital music industry’s playbook.
Music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer have long been collating data from users to create everything from curated playlists to algorithms that can predict when a song is about to become a hit.
“There are literally billions and billions of data points,” says Paul Smernicki, who was the head of digital music for the UK division of Universal Music for the last 17 years.
Data like how long someone listens to a song, where they are, what else they’re doing and other statistics are all recorded for every single listen on every single track, he says.
This amounts to a staggering amount of data, Paul says, adding that it’s fair to say the big streaming services are “as much data platforms as they are music platforms.”
Over the years, artists have generally come to terms with the way they are paid through streaming services, he says, noting that they also still receive royalties from the record companies that hold the rights to their music.
And as record company executives become younger and more used to the idea of streaming, the friction between the recording labels and streaming services has become less and less. “They’re digital natives,” he says