White’s company is the one doing the tracking. Think Moneyball , but for music. Next Big Sound takes all the data spewing into the ether–Pandora spins, Facebook likes, digital downloads–and packages them into one central dashboard. For $20 per artist per month, the Billy Beanes of the music world (managers, concert promoters and label executives) can access the service in hopes of finding the next Nick Swisher (or Justin Timberlake).
The music business is ripe for disruption. According to one study, artist discovery and development is a $4.5 billion industry, and Next Big Sound removes some of the guesswork. For example, the company has found that musicians who gain 20,000 to 50,000 Facebook fans in one month are four times more likely to eventually reach 1 million. With data like that, Next Big Sound promises to predict album sales within 20% accuracy for 85% of artists, giving labels a clearer idea of return on investment.