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Hunting the Digital Buzz

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We Are Hunted is a rapidly thriving website on the mission of becoming the epicenter of music buzz charts. The site (http:/wearehunted.com) collects the top 99 songs and artists of the day, week and month by online presence and presents them in a 3X3 grid with pictures of the artist being the forefront. We Are Hunted is a collaboration between Australian news aggregation site WotNews and digital music marketers Native Digital.

Since premiering in April, the site has already expanded its service to organizing charts for Spotify and Twitter as well as offering charts for remixes and by genre; all of which has inspired much promise and potential. But what can all of this potential lead to and how does it affect the industry?

In times where more music hunters are relying on blogs with unknown credentials (or intentions) rather than long-standing music magazines or respected music critics, We Are Hunted poses an interesting situation of musical collective intelligence. Utilizing blogs, social networks, P2P networks, forums and message boards to create these playlists, many are touting it as a chart ‘for the P2P generation’.

The charts appear to be quite useful not only for cool-hunter/Hype Machine addicts who need new music, but also for the industry to test the strength of tracks and to grasp a better definition of the ‘worth’ of new acts.  For example, looking at the month’s hottest tracks, MGMT’s “Oracular Spectacular” was released over a year and a half ago and yet they still have 3 tracks in the top 50, while La Roux who dropped her self-titled effort in June only charts twice in the bottom half of the list.

However, there is an ambiguous search function. Type in any artist or song and a profile shows up, listing articles mentioning them as well as charts measuring “volume” and “sentiment” for media coverage. With limited space discussing the actual music and focusing much more on what is being said, could this groom and breed elitism and eventually limit inspiration?

Another thing is the global scale, aggregating every music-related site together can skew the charts and prove difficult for creating cohesive data, like trying to track P2P downloads (more less-attentive fans downloading mass-marketed tracks only to delete it after one listen versus missing a potentially hardcore (and more likely profitable) fanbase listening to certain niche tracks constantly).

Since the site is still in beta it’s difficult to tell what angle We Are Hunted is going for, but so far they’ve done a good job at keeping things neutral. Tracks on the charts are streamed through the site via blogs and YouTube, artists are linked to Spotify, and buy-to links are supplied for iTunes, Amazon and InSound.  Their press release when they launched stated, “The WAH team is developing a service that will provide record labels and band management insight into what people are listening to today. Clients can login anytime and track the real time buzz about their artists”.

Options for such accounts have not yet made their way to We Are Hunted’s site, nor has it come out of beta so it’s hard to tell whether it’s going to be a consumer-focused or industry-focused. Is it a service for fans to discover and recommend new music or a metrics service for the industry to keep an eagle eye on its artists’ online presence? With recent new sites like Twitter and Spotify constantly coming under scrutiny for what it is and isn’t doing there is the question of whether the industry will allow them to stay neutral for long.  It’ll be interesting to see what direction We Are Hunted goes from here.

Author

  • Wayne Rosso

    Wayne Rosso has worked in music and technology for decades. He has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Public Image LTD., Beach Boys, Phillip Glass, Fkeetwood Mac, Rick James, New Kids on the Block, Slash, Evanescence and scores of others.

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