The Need For Better Indie Music Intelligence
Despite thousands of sites about independent music, one major component lacking that could give it more cultural impact is there really isn't a central pipeline of information about it. Radio acts as a pipeline for major label music, but most indie music often gets unheard by audiences that may enjoy the music if they heard it. Indie music intelligence gathering simply hasn't been part of anyone's big agenda so far this century.
One of the reasons songs become hits is because promotion people at the label spread the word about the recordings they are paid to promote. They talk with radio and retail personnel, which becomes a conversation about stats. Every recording tells a story based on its stats. Even a recording that has never been released for a CD or download, but is posted on YouTube, generates online stats, based on views. The music and radio industries are both very data-intensive.
While stats about performance are important, they don't necessarily have to be part of the story of why a certain indie artist deserves attention. I've found on my other site Playlist Research that it has more fans than the average radio or major label artist website. Based on Alexa's rankings, it outranks a majority of radio and artist websites, as it has consistently ranked near the top 100,000 sites in the United States. The site attracts over 100,000 visitors per month, without any promotion. One of the most popular sections on the site is song themes.
The concept of song themes is an avenue for indie artists to explore. You can define a niche by writing about songs with certain themes and then making them available online. It may help you gain an advantage in search rankings with unique keyword phrases. Fitting into playlists based on song themes allows indie artists to reach a target audience easier, due to reduced competition.
The overall intelligence of local music should point to whether or not the artist has great talent and material that can improve the musical and cultural landscape. What indie music also needs is a filter to separate the true talent with commercial potential from the bigger group of musicians who are doing it for the wrong reasons (chase fame and fortune instead of contribute to artistic cultural vision).