Really want some honest feedback on your music? Well, here’s how you can get it great detail, but be warned you asked for it.
Okay, I am kind of kidding because if you have really good music, then there’s probably nothing to worry about, but if your music is sub-par, the people on this service will have no problem giving you the brutal truth.
The service is called Audiokite. (http://www.audiokite.com) and they provide just that; Honest and unbiased feedback on any music that you’d like to submit.
This is my review of their service.
Not only do you get people’s personal descriptions of your music, but you get a lot of useful data such as the demographics of people that liked or didn’t like your music. The listeners also answer a list of survey questions about your music such as “How likely would you be to purchase this song after hearing it?” and “How likely would you be to recommend this artist to a friend.”
The participants can answer with “not likely”, “somewhat likely”, or “very likely.”
Each element of your music, such as vocal performance, lyrics, and sound quality, is given a rating between 1-10 and your scores are compared to the Audiokite average score as well as the Billboard Top 100 average.
The listeners choose the emotion that best describes your music and even suggest in which movie genre the song would be most appropriate.
Overall there really is a lot of data, and honestly, it’s pretty fascinating to see your music dissected in such detail.
I submitted my song on Thursday, November 19 and got my report back on Tuesday the 24th. So, a 5-day turnaround, which felt like a long time but was within the 2-5 days they said it would take.
Here’s a link to my report: Audiokite Report
Here’s a link to the song I submitted so you have some context: Free Again by The Salesman
The company uses Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, which, if you’re not familiar with it, is a platform where people are paid by companies to perform computer-based tasks that require a human brain (i.e. can’t be handled by a computer program) such as answering surveys, writing a description of a video, or in our case, listening to music and answering questions about it.
Using this platform the company is able to maintain a large pool of participants that will listen to your song for a minimum of 40 seconds (listeners averaged 1:28 on my song), answer the various questions about what they heard and then have the option to provide a written response or decline that option.
Out of 100 participants, only 17 people provided a written response for me, but everyone is required to answer all of the other questions. Again, the data is plentiful, especially in comparison to the practically non-existent market research that goes into most independent artists’ music.
It’s all wrapped up nicely with one aggregated rating that pulls from all the other survey answers.
My song got a 6.7 out of 10.
The Audiokite average is 6.3 so I felt ok about my slightly above average rating.
When you order your report and upload your music to the site, you’re given a list of genres to choose from which will determine the participants that listen to your song.
The Audiokite listeners are asked which music genres they are fans of, and when you upload your song and choose its genre, only the Audiokite participants that have said they are a fan of that genre will be shown your song.
Some songs may fit into more than one category, so this part can be a little difficult because theoretically, the survey results can differ drastically depending on which genre of music fans you choose to have listen to your song.
Then there’s the cost. I paid $28 for my report, which showed the data from 100 people that listened to my song. (Normal price for this report is $35 but I received a 20% discount that Audiokite will give you for taking a survey before ordering a report.)
A couple of the other lower-tier pricing options are available (at the time of writing this post).
There is also the option to purchase an Audiokite Pro membership which is $9.99/month but you would still have to pay $20 for the same report that I got. Probably more appropriate for labels and marketing agencies but doesn’t seem cost effective for an indie musician with a low budget.
So, what are you supposed to do with this information?
I’d say that depends on your personal music goals but here are a couple of ways to use the Audiokite data:
- Improve your craft
Besides the obvious benefit of getting a general idea on whether people like your music or not, you can use the data to improve your craft. The listeners rate specific elements of your music such as lyrics, instrumental performance, and song structure. If you were already doubting your vocal performance or the recording quality, this kind of a survey can tell you if other people actually notice whatever it is you were worried about or if it’s only noticeable to you.
It’s easy to obsess over every detail when you’re recording a song, and there are a lot of little things that you might notice and cringe at but nobody else does.
On the other hand, it can confirm your worries or suspicions too. Say you felt like you’re vocal performance lacked emotion; well if people rate your vocal performance below average and make specific consistent comments about it in the survey, then you may want to go back and fix it.
- Market Your Music More Effectively
This report will ask all 100 listeners for a written response to the question “what did you like or dislike about this song?”
If you are marketing your music in any capacity, you should incorporate the actual words that people use to describe your music into your marketing.
In advertising and marketing, words matter, and this type of report is practically writing your Facebook Ad headline, or if you are emailing music bloggers, your email subject line for you.
For example, this is one of the written responses that I received:
“This song is allowing me to forget everything around me and relax.”
I could use that almost verbatim in a Facebook Ad, maybe changing it to “Listen to the new release from Chris Egan, Forget everything around you and just relax.”
That paints a nice little picture, helps people visualize the experience associated with my music, piques their interest, and may get them to take the action to click on my ad and actually listen to it.
The next obvious way that this report helps with marketing is the demographic information. I don’t think I need to go into much detail on how this is helpful. But in short, the better you know your audience the more effective you can market and sell to them. Plus, when you know the type of person that is likely to enjoy your music, you can spend your time trying to get your music in front of those people rather than wasting time marketing to the wrong people that are less likely to enjoy it. It’s about optimizing your time and working smarter not harder.
To wrap things up, I’d definitely recommend the service. It was easy to use, delivered everything as promised and did so in the amount of time promised. Not to mention, it was an incredibly interesting experience.
If you have the budget to get reports on more than one song, you could look for trends your music data. For instance, if your sound quality is regularly being rated poorly you may need to look into a new recording engineer, studio, etc.
Regardless, in a world where everybody gets a trophy and everyone thinks they’re the next “American Idol,” it can be quite useful to get some honest and unbiased feedback.
Maybe you’re not as good as you thought you were or maybe you don’t give yourself enough credit.
If you put the data to use, it is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to learn more about the kind of people that are likely to enjoy your music and optimize your marketing campaigns.
If you don’t have a use for the data, I’d still recommend it because honestly, we are all at least a little self-absorbed and it’s a fun little self-experiment to run.