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NEXT BIG SOUND

USER GUIDE

The primary mission for Next Big Sound at Pandora is to empower artists and their teams to make informed decisions using data from Pandora and major social streaming platforms. 

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WHAT IS NEXT BIG SOUND? 

The primary mission for Next Big Sound at Pandora is to empower artists and their teams to make better decisions based on social and streaming data from Pandora and major social streaming platforms to drive their careers and market their music. At the heart of this mission is making data accessible and digestible, contextualized with meaningful benchmarks to better inform the most important decisions made by music makers. 

Next Big Sound has built an extremely powerful analysis platform to give artists and their teams intimate access to their metrics across social platforms, has published groundbreaking research predicting artist success in the music industry, and powers charts for Billboard and Pandora. We’ve been hard at work developing a new suite of tools and data for Pandora’s content partners, and are thrilled to have you on board. 

Simply search for an artist, and Next Big Sound provides a detailed Artist Profile showcasing how an artist is performing. Artists can easily be added to Next Big Sound by connecting sources such as Facebook, Twitter, and many more. This user guide will go into detail about how to get the most of the Next Big Sound platform, whether you prefer simple top-line data sent to you in a weekly email or would like to dig into granular, detailed research reports. 

Outside of our logged-in analysis platform, Next Big Sound offers engaging industry content. This includes in-depth, data-driven articles on music makers on our blog, as well as Billboard and Pandora Charts showcasing artists to watch. These can be viewed and shared freely without creating an account on Next Big Sound.


RESEARCH AND BLOG

Our data science and research teams are constantly hard at work to try to generate as much novel intelligence about the modern music industry as we can. We publish this work in periodic blog posts and news articles that you can find at blog.nextbigsound.com. 


CHARTS 

Next Big Sound powers charts for Billboard and Pandora that showcase the fastest-accelerating and top-performing artists. We gather data across all major social platforms that we combine with Pandora data to statistically predict the artists most likely to achieve success. You can find and subscribe to our charts at nextbigsound.com/charts. 


GETTING STARTED ON NEXT BIG SOUND 


SIGNING UP AND JOINING AN ACCOUNT

In order to start using Next Big Sound to track an artist’s social metrics, you’ll need to create or join a Next Big Sound account. 

Most Pandora partners have set up Next Big Sound accounts already. If you’d like to join your company’s Next Big Sound account, contact your local Next Big Sound administrator for an invite. Administrators can access and manage the users on their account at nextbigsound.com/settings/people. 

If you or your company needs to create a new Next Big Sound account: 

  1. Go to nextbigsound.com/signup 
  2. Enter the required information 
  3. Click “Create Account” 

Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be redirected to your Next Big Sound dashboard. If you need to add other users to your account, you can do that by going to nextbigsound.com/settings/people and adding their names and emails there.


ADDING AND VERIFYING ARTIST CONNECTIONS

Once you’ve created an account with Next Big Sound, a good first step is to verify the connections for the artists you’re working with, or add them to Next Big Sound if we aren’t tracking them already. To do that: 

  1. Search their name in the top-left search bar. 
  2. As you type, a drop-down menu under the search bar will show you a list of results. 
  3. Refine your search by typing additional characters. Remember to check the spelling of the artist’s name. 
  4. If you find your artist in Next Big Sound, click on the artist name in the drop-down menu to view their profile. 
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Edit Data Sources” button. To learn how to connect data sources, see the "Connecting Additional Sources" section below.  
  6. If you don’t find your artist, click the “Add” button at the bottom of your search results. 

The steps above will take you to the Add Artist page. You can add a profile for any artist in Next Big Sound by connecting a social profile: 

  1. Type or paste the URL of an artist’s social profile link to begin to add them to Next Big Sound. We recommend starting with either a Twitter or Facebook profile URL. 
  2. Once Next Big Sound recognizes a valid URL, you’ll be asked to confirm the artist’s name and profile image which will be associated with their profile. Since some artists have similar names, spellings, or even multiple social accounts, you may be asked to create a unique name for that artist profile. To edit an artist’s name, type in the text field under "Confirm Your Profile Name." 
  3. Double check that the profile image and name are correct. To confirm, click the “Looks Good! Create” button. 


CONNECTING ADDITIONAL SOURCES

Now you’re looking at the Artist Data Sources page. It’s a helpful resource for verifying and connecting data sources for artists you’re following, and is always accessible from the “Edit Data Sources” button you’ll see at the bottom of every artist profile. 

You can connect two kinds of data sources in Next Big Sound: Public sources and Authenticated sources. 

Public sources are the public social media profiles that Next Big Sound tracks for every artist and makes available for all users, like Twitter, Facebook, and more. Public sources only require the relevant link. We use them to provide audience insight and benchmark artist performance, track artist success, and predict future potential. 

Authenticated sources provide additional, often more detailed and sensitive context and information on a band’s performance. They need to be connected individually in Next Big Sound and their data isn’t visible or available to anyone other than the users and accounts who connected them. Authenticated sources will require an extra authentication step once you’ve provided the relevant link. Examples are Pandora data, Facebook Insights, and more. 

From the sources page, you can connect both Public and Authenticated sources. Once Next Big Sound adds a source, the source will show as “locked” on the artist page to prevent unauthorized changes. If you need to change or correct locked sources, click on the “Locked” button and follow the prompt to alert the Next Big Sound Support team. Once the artist’s sources are correct and complete, click on the square Next Big Sound logo in the top left to return to your Dashboard and get started using Next Big Sound. 


THE DASHBOARD: YOUR LOGGED-IN HOME PAGE

The Dashboard is your logged-in home page, where you’ll be able to easily jump to any artist you are currently following, create reports to explore data in more detail, or view previously generated reports. The artists you follow will appear at the top of your dashboard in the order they were most recently viewed, and you can find your previously generated reports beneath them. You can view an artist’s profile by clicking on their image, and open existing reports by clicking the “View Report” button. 


WEEKLY EMAILS AND NOTIFICATIONS

By default, all Next Big Sound users will get a weekly email every Monday that contains a digest of the last week’s metric performance for the artists you follow. If an artist appears on one of the Pandora Charts powered by Next Big Sound or if an artist moves up an Artist Social Stage (i.e. from Promising to Established), these updates will be included in your weekly email. 

When we notice that an artist you follow has had a noteworthy or exceptional spike across any of the sources connected to that artist’s profile, we will send you an email notifying you of the spike with some of the recent posts that were published around that date, providing you with some context. 

To follow an artist of interest, navigate to their profile by searching for their artist name in the search bar, clicking on their name in the search bar, and clicking on the pink “Follow” button on the top left side. Your email preferences can always be updated at nextbigsound.com/settings/email-subscriptions.


ARTIST PROFILE PAGES 

The artist profile page provides in-depth reporting and insights on social metrics and performance for a particular artist. Anyone with a Next Big Sound account can view an artist profile page, see public data sources (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and follow the profile to receive weekly email reports. Users with an enterprise account can also generate reports and graphs directly from an artist profile page. 

The artist profile page is broken into nine sections: 

  • Actions and navigation (desktop only) 
  • Artist Spotlight 
  • Weekly Performance 
  • Chart Appearances 
  • Audience 
  • Releases 
  • Reach 
  • Engagement 
  • Data Sources & Data Notices 

Each section of an artist profile is displayed on the left hand side of the page. To quickly navigate to a specific section, click on the section title. Section titles that are not available appear greyed out. 


A. ACTIONS AND NAVIGATION (DESKTOP ONLY) 

Follow an Artist

Follow an artist by clicking the “Follow Button” on the top left. Anyone with a Next Big Sound login can follow an artist profile. Artist profiles that you follow will appear on your Dashboard, and will be included in your weekly email report. To unfollow artists, hover over the pink “Following” button. It will change to a black “Unfollow.” Click the button to unfollow the artist profile. 

Export As PDF

To export an artist profile page as a PDF, click the “Export PDF” button. In the pop-up window, choose which sections to include in the export. By default, all sections are selected. Click the “Download PDF” button. 

Date Range

To change the date range of data visible on an artist profile, click the “Last Week” drop-down menu and select a new range. You’ll see the data update to include new date range aggregations for the Releases, Reach, and Engagement sections. 

Compare Artists

Use the Search For Comparison text field to compare artists on a profile page: 

  1. Type the name of the artist you want to compare in the “Search For Comparison” text field. 
  2. Click the name of the artist you want to compare in the drop-down menu to select. 
  3. You’ll see the two artist’s comparison data displayed next to each other for the Audience, Releases, Reach, and Engagement sections. 
  4. To remove the comparison, click the “X” button next to the artist’s name on the text field. 

Section Titles and Navigation

Each section of an artist profile is displayed on the left hand side of the artist profile page. To quickly navigate to a specific section, click on the section title. Section titles that are not available are grayed out. 


B. ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

The Artist Spotlight, located directly under the artist name, is a collection of insights related to how an artist is performing compared to others. These insights are unique to Next Big Sound and are available for every artist profile. Each insight is displayed as meter indicating size or the extent of the metric. You can view more in-depth information about each spotlight by clicking on each title. 

Audience Engagement

Audience Engagement compares the performance of audience engagement metrics to expected values based on Audience Reach. Engagement metrics are defined as any metrics associated with audience interaction — check out our Metric Glossary to see the full list of engagement metrics we offer. 

Audience Engagement gives context to levels of audience interaction relative to audience size. This score can help you to compare a number of Profiles, to get quick perspective on a new discovery, or to identify areas of strong or weak performance. 

Artist Social Stage

Artist Social Stages identify five common periods of development in artists’ careers. Social Stages are defined by the size of an artist’s social reach compared to typical reach values at common career milestones. You can use Artist Social Stages to compare artists to one another, to understand how well an artist is performing across social networks, and to know how well an artist is performing relative to other artists. 

C. PANDORA AUDIENCE

The Pandora Audience section highlights, front and center, just how many times an artist’s music has been streamed in the last month and how many unique listeners contributed to that number.

  1. Unique Listeners: The number of people who heard any song by this artist on Pandora in the last month
  2. Streams: The total number of times a song is played anywhere on Pandora, across all tiers of service, encompassing both Pandora Radio Spins and Pandora Interactive Plays

Both metrics are shown alongside graphs depicting the daily values for each metric, allowing you to clearly follow how those numbers have ebbed and flowed over the last month.

D. WEEKLY PERFORMANCE

This section illustrates how artists are performing across a variety of different platforms, such as Pandora, Facebook, and Twitter, compared to artists with similarly sized audiences on those same platforms. This helps artists contextualize their data by providing them with personalized benchmarks each week. With these benchmarks, artists can identify if their audience engagement was above, below or in line with expected engagement. 


E. CHART APPEARANCES

This section includes any relevant Chart Appearances on any of Pandora’s three charts: Pandora Predictions, Pandora Trendsetters, and Pandora Top Spins. More information can be found at nextbigsound.com/charts. 


F. AUDIENCE

This section provides an overview of the demographics and geographic breakdown of the artist’s audience data. Composite Demographics represent an average across multiple available metrics. The audience section is based on the last 30 days of data from sources that provide demographic and geographic data. Refer to the Metric Glossary for a detailed breakdown of what kinds of data we get from each source. 

To easily create a demographic report for an artist, click the “Create a Demographic Report” button at the bottom of the Audience section. 


G. RELEASES

This section displays data from Pandora. This streaming data may diverge slightly from data in official sales reporting tools or royalty statements. 

To easily view and compare released content, click on the “Create a Graph” button at the bottom of the Releases section. 


H. REACH

This section presents metrics that measure the size of an audience across multiple metrics. Reach metrics reflect an audience’s scope, where an audience is largest, and its potential impact 

To easily view and compare an artist’s audience across metrics, click on the “Create a Graph” button at the bottom of the Reach section. 


I. ENGAGEMENT

This section presents metrics that measure audience interaction. Engagement metrics reflect what an audience is sharing, endorsing, and interacting with, on- and off-line. 

To easily view and compare an artist’s audience interaction across metrics, click on the “Create a Graph” button at the bottom of the Engagement section. 


J. DATA SOURCES & DATA NOTICES

This section displays a table of all the connected data sources for the artist profile, when they were connected, and a link to view the source. You can edit the data source by either clicking the "Edit" link next to the data source, or clicking the “Edit Data Sources” button at the bottom of the Data Sources section. 

The Data Notices section displays a status notice when an issue is detected. 


DIGGING DEEPER: REPORTS 

Next Big Sound offers a range of report types that let you examine and explore data more flexibly than is available by default on the Artist Profile page. Reports have been designed to answer a range of different questions by looking at different kinds of data, or different data visualizations. Reports can also be shared by email or exported into Excel files so that their data can be more easily shared or used with other internal tools you might have by using the buttons available on the top right of all reports. 

The easiest way to generate reports is to start from an Artist Profile page, but in order to answer specific questions or make specific comparisons between groups of artists, users often need to create custom reports with specific artist and metric combinations. 

Each report is slightly different in the kind of data it can display. Geo reports, for example, can only look at one metric at a time, and Community and Demographic reports do not present the option to look at content-level information, while Graphs and Content reports do. Because of these differences, the steps to create custom reports differ slightly from report to report. In general, though, they all prompt you to select an artist or a group of artists to examine, and then a metric or a group of metrics. You can find detailed steps to generate custom reports of each type in the sections below. 

Finally, you’ll see all the reports you’ve generated populating a list at the bottom of your Dashboard so they’re easily accessible if you’d like to come back to them. All reports you generate can be given custom names and are automatically saved so you never lose your work. 


GRAPH REPORTS

Graph reports are the best way to compare trends or dive into the details of metric performance over time. They display new daily values for a combination of metrics in a line graph, while overlaying events to give the data context, enabling our users to identify key moments and activities that drive engagement, streaming performance, and audience growth. 

Create a Graph report by clicking the “Create a Graph” button on the Reach or Engagement sections of an Artist Profile. By default, the graph will load to show the last 30 days of available data. You can change the time range displayed by dragging out the edges of the time window shown above the graph, or by using the date selector menu available at the top right of the graph. 

 
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Underneath the line graph, you will see the list of data sources depicted, and a range of aggregated data for each. You can copy and edit the data sources displayed with the icons to the right of these rows if you’d like to customize the information displayed on the graph. 

You’ll also see small squares above the line graph. These are the events captured by Next Big Sound, and they correspond with the events visible in the event feed on the left of the screen. You can annotate time series data with event data or post information to help reveal and communicate how social and marketing efforts, live events, blog mentions, and T.V. appearances have driven the artist’s metric performance and audience growth. 

Clicking on an event will add it to the graph as an annotation. If multiple events took place that day, clicking will expand the list of events so you can select the one you’d like to use as an annotation. You can also add events from the left-hand column by clicking on the “+” on the right that appears when you’re looking at event detail (In many cases, you can use this detailed view to get to the original content, too!) You can remove annotations from the graph with the black “X” that appears when you hover over them with your mouse. 

Graph reports can also be used to compare artists, or to look at geographic and content-specific data as a time series. 

To create a custom Graph report, navigate to your Dashboard, and then: 

  1. Click on the “Create a Graph” button on the left-hand-side of your Dashboard. 
  2. Select an artist or group of artists by searching for them in the search bar, or selecting from your followed artists displayed in the window. Once you’ve selected the artists you’d like to see data for, click the “Choose Content >” button. 
  3. The content selection step is only important if you’d like to look at metrics for a specific track, like plays or likes. If you’d like to look at content-specific data, select the content you’d like to see data for here, and then click the “Choose Metrics” button. Otherwise, click the “Skip Content” button to continue. 
  4. Select the metrics you’d like to include in the report. Clicking on a network name will add all of that network’s metrics. 
  5. Click the “Create Report” button to create your report! 


GEO REPORTS

Geo reports visualize how a single metric for an artist performs differently around the world by displaying the relative strength of different geographic areas. They display a heat map, coloring geographic areas corresponding to their level of activity. The more active a region is for the metric being examined, the darker the territory will appear. 

International heat maps like this are frequently skewed by the distribution of the population in highly populous or connected countries. To account for these disparities, you can normalize data in the Geo report to take population or the number of internet users into account in the visualization. To normalize the data, click on the ‘Standard (RAW)’ drop-down menu and select ‘Per Capita’ or ‘Normalized by Internet Users’ to view the different normalization options. 

By default the Geo report loads an international map, but Next Big Sound also gets region data for a number of its geo-specific metrics. Hover over a country to see if we have region data. If region data is available, your cursor will change to a hand, and clicking on that country will change the report to show you region data for that country. 

 
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To create a custom Geo report, navigate to your Dashboard, and then: 

  1. Click on the ‘Geo’ button on the left-hand side of your Dashboard. 
  2. Select an artist by searching for them in the search bar, or selecting from your followed artists displayed in the window. Once you’ve selected the artist you’d like to see data for, click the ‘Choose Content >’ button. 
  3. The content selection step is only important if you’d like to look at metrics for a specific track, like plays or likes. If you’d like to look at content-specific data, select the content you’d like to see data for here, and then click the ‘Choose Metrics’ button. Otherwise, click the ‘Skip Content’ button to continue. 
  4. Select the metric you’d like to include in the report by clicking on it. 
  5. Click the ‘Create Report’ button to create your report! 


CONTENT REPORTS

Content reports make it easy to compare metrics for specific tracks over time for one or multiple artists. 

To create a Content report, click on the “Create a Report” button from the Releases section of an Artist Profile. By default it will show the last four weeks of data for each piece of content in the Releases section, along with percent change between the two most recent weeks, and totals as of the most recent date included in the report. 

 
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Pivoting the report will create a column for each metric included with the most recent week’s data aggregated to facilitate easy comparisons across metrics and artists. You can edit the metrics or content included in the report with the “Edit Report” button on the top left. 

To create a custom Content report, navigate to your Dashboard, and then: 

  1. Click on the “Content” button on the left-hand side of your Dashboard. 
  2. Select an artist or group of artists by searching for them in the search bar, or selecting from your followed artists displayed in the window. Once you’ve selected the artists you’d like to see data for, click the “Choose Content >” button. 
  3. Select the content you’d like to see for each artist you selected, and then click the “Choose Metrics” button. 
  4. Select the metrics you’d like to include in the report by clicking on them. Clicking on a network name will add all of that network’s metrics. 
  5. Click the ‘Create Report’ button to create your report! 


DEMOGRAPHIC REPORTS

Demographic reports allow you to compare the audience age and gender differences for multiple artists and metrics. 

Click the “Create a Demographic Report” button from the Audience section of an Artist Profile to create a Demographic report. By default it will display the demographic metrics available to your account for that artist broken out by individual demographic bucket, for the last four weeks. 

 
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Like the Content and Community reports, the Demographic report will show four seven-day weeks of data, percent change between the two most recent periods, and, if available, totals current as of the most recent date included in the report for the various metric/demographic buckets. You can pivot the table to view each demographic bucket as its own column, with the various data sources displayed as rows. 

To create Demographic reports that compare artists or look at select subsets of demographic metrics, navigate to your Dashboard, and then: 

  1. Click on the ‘Demographic’ button on the left-hand side of your Dashboard. 
  2. Select an artist or group of artists by searching for them in the search bar, or selecting from your followed artists displayed in the window. Once you’ve selected the artists you’d like to see data for, click the “Choose Metrics >” button. 
  3. Select the metrics you’d like to include in the report by clicking on them. Clicking on a network name will add all of that network’s metrics. 
  4. Click the ‘Create Report’ button to create your report! 


COMMUNITY REPORTS

Community reports allow users to aggregate top-line numbers for a large number of artists across multiple metrics. This type of report is best used for consistent weekly reporting for a large set of competitive artists or for a large roster. 

Like the Content and Demographic reports, Community reports aggregate four seven-day weeks of data, alongside the percent change between the two most recent weeks, and totals where available. Community reports can be back-dated by adjusting the date-selector at the top right. 

 
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Community reports are designed to look at big groups of artists and compare their performance across a large number of metrics. To facilitate easy comparisons, you can filter the table using the text entry box above the table to search for metric or artist names. The table can be re-sorted at any point by clicking on a column header to easily rank included artists by any of the metrics displayed. 

Community reports are also especially useful for weekly reporting. By clicking the “Share” button on the top right, they can be set up as weekly emails that can even include the table as an excel attachment.

To create a Community report, navigate to your Dashboard, then: 

  1. Click on the “Community’”button on the left-hand side of your Dashboard. 
  2. Select an artist or group of artists by searching for them in the search bar, or selecting from your followed artists displayed in the window. Once you’ve selected the artists you’d like to see data for, click the “Choose Metrics >” button. 
  3. Select the metrics you’d like to include in the report by clicking on them. Clicking on a network name will add all of that network’s metrics. 
  4. Click the ‘Create Report’ button to create your report! 

SUPPORT, RESOURCES, AND LINKS 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) can be found at Next Big Sound’s Help Center: help.nextbigsound.com. 

If you still have questions after reading through our online materials, you can contact the Next Big Sound team directly at support@nextbigsound.com. 


QUESTIONS? Visit our Support page.