Twitter wants to help the music industry unearth the next Katy Perry, whose career trajectory is matched by the rocketing number of her Twitter followers.
To that end, the Silicon Valley micro-blogging service is pairing up with Lyor Cohen’s latest venture, 300 Entertainment. In the announcement, made at this year’s Midem music conference in France, the two companies talked about developing “tools” to help music industry scouts sniff out new artists and detect trends early.
What those tools look like and how they would work weren’t entirely made clear. So we turned to Bob “Moz” Moczydlowsky, the recently appointed Head of Music at Twitter and former Senior Vice President of Product and Marketing at Topspin Media, to explain the nuts and bolts to us. The following is an edited version of the conversation.
Billboard: Why is Twitter doing this?
Bob Moczydlowsky: What we’re going to create, is something that everybody in the music business can benefit from… The 300 deal is the first place where we’re showing what that practically looks like.
Lyor Cohen On New Twitter Partnership: ‘We’re in the Business of Discovering Artists’ (Q&A)
What does that look like?
We’re developing a data set specific to music. I know that sounds like a very nerdy thing. But Twitter is like a fire hose of data. There’s a ton of new information and conversations about music that we have never let of out of the building before. Some of that data have to do with timing or geography. This can valuable data for things like targeted marketing and A&R. It has the potential to help the industry figure out how to best invest in artists or how to direct their marketing campaigns.
Why partner with 300 Entertainment if Twitter already has the data?
Well, we don’t do A&R. We needed someone who does that and who can help us organize that data into something useful. 300 Entertainment has Travis Rosenblatt, who is a quintessential data-driven A&R guy. He spends all day looking at trending data and profiles of tastemakers and correlates that to other behaviors related to music. Twitter data can be essential to A&R. We need someone who wants to sign artists who can help us package the data and tell us if it’s valuable enough.
Can you give us an example of the types of questions you’ll look to answer?
The idea would be, is there a guy in Chicago who, when he tweets about artists it makes a meaningful impact on the growth or size or exposure of that artist. Is there a tastemaker or a venue or a fan, a consumer in a specific location who’s Tweets about artists are more meaningful than others? Who genuinely are predicting the future success of these artists. I’m not saying that’s in the product, I’m saying those are the types of questions that will get asked.
What’s the timeline for when we can see the next phase of this project?
In six months we will have the data set that anybody can license directly, that’s the raw data. In about a year, you should be able to go to a provider and say, “Hey I want access to that data and I also want it in an interface that you provide” and you know, we’ll have a third party by then who will have that data integrated.
Lyor said that 300’s partnership with Twitter is “exclusive” for a year. Can you explain what that means?
They’ll see the data six months before the raw data is available to everybody. At that time, anybody can license the raw data directly from us. We are investing the same things for music as we do for TV content. There will be more to come on that.
NOW WHAT 300 ENT. HAD TO SAY…
Billboard caught up with Lyor Cohen, the former Warner Music head and founder of new music venture 300, at Midem hours after he had made a major announcement during his Keynote Q&A concerning a new partnership with the massive social media platform Twitter. Here, Cohen discusses the new venture, his specific role and the symbiotic nature of the partnership.
Billboard: Please explain what the new partnership with Twitter is about.Lyor Cohen: We’re in the business of discovering artists. We recommend to the entire artist community to engage with Twitter and not just tweeting, but also photos and videos. And we are going to work with Twitter, with their immense data, to help create tools that help artists get discovered and that’s what we’re doing. Twitter values the creative community in such an unbelievable way and has not gotten the credit for the amount of artists they have helped discover. The partnership is to create tools for the creative community that allows more artists to be discovered and more successful.
And why did Twitter come to you?
Everybody in the digital space, digital distribution and social media, knows that at Warner I was the advocate for being the chief experimental officer. We wanted to experiment; I believe in experimenting. I believe our industry has been schizophrenic one second thinking all these new models were foe and then the next they’re friend. I only look at them as friend, because over time I’m convinced that the value of artist creation will hold up and will be well represented.
In your role with at Twitter, will you be directly work with Twitter or will this be through your new music venture 300?
This will be with 300.
Are there any upcoming artists currently signed to 300 who will be a part of this venture?
No, not yet.
Twitter has tried to put out a music platform (Twitter Music) that did not work and they withdrew. Is there a plan for a new music platform you know of or are hatching something?
You should ask them.
What are the parameters of the partnership?
It’s an exclusive partnership for a year. We have access to the data and building tools for artists in the creative community for them to be discovered and amplified.
Have they given you a title?
So many people use Twitter as a measurement tool — artists and TV and other industries. People look to Twitter as a metric.
Yes, they do and they have not received the credit that they deserve.
So if you’re monitoring the data and you see that Joe Blow is trending, what happens?
I’m gonna sign him.