Chapter 1. Music Science

Music Science Today

Today, technology is an essential part of the music industry:

  • Recommendation engines suggest tracks or artists we might like.
  • Streaming technology replaces music ownership with service subscriptions.
  • Accounting platforms collect billions of playbacks a day, funneling money to the many people involved in a track.
  • Content-detection tools ferret out copyright violations and compensate artists when their works are used by others.
  • Analytics helps the industry detect breakout successes early on and double-down on marketing investment.

Nearly every aspect of the modern music industry relies on big data, machine learning, and analytics to make better decisions faster. At the intersection of digital content and powerful analytics lies a new discipline, one that Saavn CEO Rishi Malhotra and others call “Music Science.”

Music Science is a relatively new field, blending analytics, accounting, psychology, neuroscience, machine learning, and prediction. It’s staffed by data scientists, analytics experts, tastemakers, economists, and even game theorists. And it’s a multibillion-dollar industry.

Music scientists analyze tracks, fans, and artists. Every interaction is a breadcrumb for producers; every upload a potential source of revenue in a Byzantine labyrinth of rights and permissions.

Music science is fascinating in its own right, in part because music is present in everyone’s lives, transcending culture and age. But it’s also useful as a canary ...

Get Music Science now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.