Apple today launched a new dashboard that will allow artists on Apple Music to track fans’ listening and buying habits, and view a variety of analytics about their music, according to Billboard which had the launch exclusive from Apple. The dashboard, called Apple Music for Artists, is currently available only for select beta users ahead of a broader launch planned for later this spring.
The move is clearly a competitive measure against Spotify, which has been steadily ramping up its products for artists over the past year.
Last April, it launched its own artist dashboard out of beta, allowing artists to dive into streaming insights and analytics, manage their profile, and more. In October, Spotify debuted a dedicated app for artists with access to similar data, including real-time data on new releases. That same month, it also announced the launch of its emerging artist program called RISE.
Pandora has a dashboard for artists, too, and offers tools that allow them to connect with fans using short audio messages, or to alert them about new releases, live events, ticket offers and more.
Apple, clearly, needed to catch up.
Apple’s advantage with its new dashboard is that it track both streams and purchases at a granular level.
The dashboard shows the current number of plays, spins, song purchases and album purchases in its interface, going as far back as the 2015 launch of Apple Music itself. An insights panel reveals other milestones, like all-time number of plays and purchases for specific songs, or cumulatively, reports Billboard.
There’s also a global map that artists can click on and drill down to the city level to see how their music is performing in that location and user demographics. (The map supports clicking into the 115 countries where Apple Music and iTunes are available). This could help artists better plan their touring schedule and other live events.
Apple will begin testing the dashboard with beta users who will provide feedback ahead of a public launch. Apple Music for Artists will open publicly later this spring for Apple’s several million artists.
Of course, it’s unlikely that artists will use only Apple Music’s dashboard at this point. Given that Spotify is driving music trends and getting added to its playlists can make an artist’s career, it’s still going to be one of the first places artists check to track their music’s performance.