Making sense of metrics in the music industries
Baym, N., Bergmann, R., Bhargava, R., Diaz, F., Gillespie, T., Hesmondhalgh, D., Maris, E. and Persaud, C.J. (2021) International Journal of Communication
This article considers how media workers and organizations make use of the abundance of metrics available in the contemporary online environment. The expansion of audience measurement on digital music platforms, dashboard analytics, and third-party providers raises broad societal concerns about the quantification of culture; however, less attention has been paid to how professionals in the music industries approach, understand, and deploy these metrics in their work. Drawing on survey and interview data, we found that music workers do not take metrics on faith or reject them out of hand; rather, they make sense of them, deploy them strategically, and narrate their meanings to give themselves rationales to make investments and predictions and to persuade others to do so.