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Industry Insights: A Conversation with Next Big Sound’s Alex White – Part 2

Part 2 of our interview with Alex White, Next Big Sound’s co-founder and CEO, gives us more insight into how the tool can be used in various settings. Make sure to check out Part 1 here.

Go Forth Music: I read about the South by Southwest chart that you all created. There were a lot of artists who were close to the top of your charts who actually got signed and/or garner a lot of attention,  right?

Alex: Yeah, it’s pretty exciting.  It makes sense when you think about it because nowadays the first thing you do when you hear about a band isn’t run to the record store and buy the CD. [First] you look the band up on Wikipedia or you stream some music on YouTube or iTunes; THEN you make the purchases.  So, by the time artists show up on traditional measures of success like Billboard or iTunes charts, they’ve already shown up on our radar because people are seeking them out on lower friction mediums like social media.

Go Forth Music: Cool. So Next Big Sound is pretty good at being a predictor for, well,  the Next Big Sound. That’s pretty awesome.  How are you all working with different brands or different labels?  Are you working actively on behalf of artists or is Next Big Sound a passive analytics tool right now?

Alex: We’re working with people throughout the whole music industry ecosystem.  We’ve already heard that artists are using this in lots of ways we didn’t necessarily anticipate.

Anyone can access and search for any artist and compare any artist. we have heard about bands comparing themselves to three artists that are getting radio play, taking screen shots and bringing that into the radio programmer saying, “Hey, look at this. Our online numbers are so much better than artists you’re already playing, you should give us a shot.” That’s just one example of ways artists can use this data to empower them to prove their case to open for other artists or securing live spots and sponsorships.

We want to be that independent unbiased third party that’s validating these artists’ numbers and helping the industry understand this new digital world. Well, it’s not so new anymore…this “ever-changing” digital world.  [We] help the artists put their best foot forward and use data to make their decisions and advance their career.

Go Forth Music: I definitely appreciate you answering my questions. This interview is going give the Go Forth community an idea of what Next Big Sound is and where it’s going.  We’re definitely looking forward to everything else that you all have to bring to the table, I think it’s a really useful tool. Anything else you want to add?

Alex: One last thing. We have our premier product, which is the paid-for version of Next Big Sound.  It provides context and recommendations around the basic data that we provide on the free site you’re used to.  Users can sync up Google Analytics and see a geographic display of where their fans are located.  There is also a full activity and event stream where we pull in blog mentions, news mentions, and chart appearances. [It's] a much more powerful version of the site.

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