Apple Music for Artists beta launches, the first analytics effort from the streaming service

Screenshot by Apple, as provided to Billboard.

Apple has introduced an analytics dashboard that offers insights into listener behavior within the tech company’s streaming music service. Apple Music for Artists is only available to a few thousand performers in the initial rollout. Feedback from these artists made result in tweaks or improvements to the system before its broad launch in spring.

Billboard took a close look at the beta dashboard. It offers the number of plays, spins, song purchases, and album purchases for a musical act. The time frame can be adjusted for a different sense of scale, looking at the past 24 hours or starting from 2015 when Apple Music debuted. The dashboard also includes options for focusing on individual countries or cities, getting detailed listener demographic information, and seeing their placement on all official Apple Music playlists.

Apple is one of the last major streaming players to get in on the analytics game. Pandora and Spotify have both had similar products available to musicians for years. It seems that Apple is taking a slightly different angle on the dashboard, with an emphasis on how the data sets might be of particular use to independent artists.

“As a truly independent artist with a small team, music analytics is something we can’t do without. We don’t have the luxury of deep major label market research to rely on to help us make important decisions like where to perform and how to advertise the things that we make,” said Daniel Caesar, an R&B singer from Canada who was one of the performers involved in consulting during the analytics hub’s build-out. “Apple’s analytics tool helps to level the playing field for artists like myself.”

It’s also worth noting that Apple recently introduced analytics tools for podcasts. Apple’s Podcasts app is a critical source of listening for many, if not most, shows. As with streaming music, Apple was a little slower out of the gate with providing data transparency to the people and companies using its platforms. Given how central it is to the consumption of both music and audio, the more data it is willing to share, the better off those creators will be.

Anna Washenko