The music industry runs on data crunched by several platforms to determine whether the song is a hit. Artists often find it challenging to track their presence online, given their involvement with different social media sites. Moreover, monitoring royalties and the income generated can be difficult as well. To bridge the indifferences and set a clear platform to track everything at one place, PlayTreks has a solution for this problem.
PlayTreks is a company that offers a data analytics tool that provides artists all the information on their music ratings, streams on Spotify/Apple Music, purchases made, and many such metrics. Even linking their social media platforms to have an overview of the followers gained, lost, unique visitors, and much more can be easily availed. Venture Mirror had the opportunity to speak with Anjo De Heus, CEO of PlayTreks, to let us know more about the company and its future aspirations. To learn more about the interview, we have provided it below.
What is the startup / product / venture about? Give us a brief description of it.
PlayTreks is for solo musicians, bands, DJs, performers, producers, and YouTube creators who record music at home or in the studio as well as record labels. Besides uploading music to all major stores, the power is in the cross channel data analytic dashboard we offer. We enable users to analyze the acquired data and use them as required. PlayTreks data analytics services can assist in product development, identifying potential market gaps, improve efficiency, extend reach and much more.
How many co-founders are there? Please introduce them and their backgrounds.
PlayTreks was founded by Anjo De Heus, serial entrepreneur, sales & marketing strategist, with a passion for innovation, hence we decided to innovate the data transparency problem in the music industry. In order to understand what was going on, Rob Vroegindeweij came on board, a former DJ and producer turned digital entrepreneur, and to build the Playtreks platform Cristian Prigoana, data scientist, came to the team. Together we grow and develop the company.
How did you come up with the idea? What motivated you to do this?
The idea arose from a meeting in a renowned music recording studio while talking to a bunch of DJ/Producers who complained about not knowing what was happening to their music, and for that reason felt they were missing out on royalties. Once we understood what they were talking about, we started testing ourselves by starting a record label, using many tools in order to get a feel for what the real problems were about. Essentially it comes down to the fact that there are hardly no tools which allow for cross channel (streaming, social and content-sharing platforms) analytic tools for the music industry. Most of the tools provided are first party data only, which means endless logins and many subscriptions. Also the depth of the data provided lacked for making decisions on marketing. We decided to crawl a lot of data, correlate the data accordingly using machine learning and AI, in order to present the full picture to artists, producers, and those interested in understanding what is happening to music. The fact that data gates to these platforms only give partial information makes it hard for artists to understand opportunities, how their music is sold, and where. This brings us to the importance of advertising and marketing for the artists and for their music, which is known to play a critical role in monetizing music. Do It Yourself artists must cover all aspects of their music career if they want a chance to make a living from music, including online advertising and marketing that are getting more complex every year and require highly competent skills and training to perform well. Usually there is a dedicated team of people in record labels who take care of this aspect, which is obviously a huge financial burden for the DIY artist, being all by themselves.
Who is your target market? Why do you think your product will appeal to them?
The rise of the DIY artists, and the consumption of their music, has exploded through the growing availability of Spotify’s, Apple Music’s, Deezer’s, Youtube’s, etc. of this world. And also, for the ease with which music can be distributed (also one of PlayTreks’ strongholds). In the second half of 2020, more than 643 million in revenue was generated by the DIY artists. A growth of 35% compared to the year before.
This transformation is exactly what PlayTreks is capitalizing on, the fact that more and more artists are becoming DIY artists. The flexibility that one obtains through the “self release” model is enormous and provided the income and performance data is correct and relevant, then an artist can generate an income with it, without interference from record labels or other intermediaries. The artist thus becomes his / her own virtual record label. However, the absence of a team which takes care of marketing, the lack of guidance can have a negative impact on the potential revenues.
Not only the enormous revenue number is a signal of the growth, also the number of DIY artists using the self-release mechanism is growing rapidly.
Today the number of DIY artists is estimated to be around 5 million artists.
Who are your competitors? How are you different from them?
Sometimes it seems that there is an endless list of streaming, social media, and digital radio station platforms and that all of these define the music business. The digital world has given artists many opportunities to promote music, connect with fans, and ultimately grow their careers. The flip side of all these platforms is: it is difficult to monitor performance across all platforms and mediums available as they are mostly “First-Party” data only.
Millions of data points are generated every second, and the reason we have created PlayTreks is to monitor, structure and organize all this data. This to make it clear and understandable, and to be able to present in the right form to everyone in the music industry, or at least to those who sign up for PlayTreks.
What we know as a typical music analysis tool kit contains a number of platform specific and aggregation solutions. Some of these tools provide a snapshot of certain stages of an artist career. Other solutions, such as PlayTreks, provide a much more complete picture across many different platforms.
Our competition on the distribution side are well oiled, successful and established companies who mostly have their own dashboard, which displays data, yet “First-Party” data only, about the performance of an artist.
The cross channel music analytic solution collects data from many streaming, social media and content-sharing platforms as well as from other media, to ultimately provide an overview of an artist’s career. Collecting and aggregating this data requires knowledge and time to find out where data can be found, reproduce it correctly, how to capitalize this data, and ultimately convert it into actionable insights. This is the core of PlayTreks, and in this field there are not that many companies right now, and those who started a couple of years ago, are still in growth mode, which makes this area a huge opportunity. Our approach is very innovative, usage of AI, and not having to deal with legacy issues, having started fresh.
What are the future plans with the product/startup? Any new features you are planning on?
We have a well layed out roadmap which is written around questions such as “What happened” “What will happen”, “What has to be done”. These questions obviously could be answered by applying descriptive and prescriptive technologies, and that is what we currently work on, to enrich the “view” on data for our users.