Daily Music Data: Lessons from the first 30 days

​​One month ago, I launched Daily Music Data — a new Instagram series from Water & Music that shares one curated music industry data point each weekday, along with a brief analysis on why it matters. What began as an experiment has become a critical part of my daily routine, and a bootcamp in disciplined content strategy and market research. You can see the full list of DMD stats and data sources for May 2024 at the bottom of this article.

As a researcher, consultant, and educator, I see it as my responsibility to be up to speed with everything I post on the account. Running the channel helps me prepare to talk about a wide range of topics in music and tech, and how they interconnect. Evidently, it helps others, too: In its first month, the account has attracted over 1,200 followers, from C-Suite execs to independent artists, managers, and promoters.

Here are my key takeaways from running DMD so far:

Music data is abundant — and overwhelming

Daily Music Data did not repeat a single data source in its first month.

From day one, I made a conscious effort to avoid bias and ensure that we were representing a diverse range of perspectives on the music industry. In May 2024 alone, we cited:

This is only a fraction of the hundreds of available data sources on the music industry, across different verticals, scales, and geographic territories. DMD’s overarching goal is to help people cut through this noise, and find what truly matters in the business now.

Curation — and rejection — is 90% of the work

I built DMD around tight constraints, limiting every post to only two graphics and ~300 characters of analysis. (The only exception so far is our post on music-tech startup investments, which included an additional graphic listing the top 20 music-tech funding rounds of all time.) The original announcement post for the series promised “actionable, concise insights that you can digest in five minutes or less,” and I believe we’ve achieved this goal.

Respecting our audience’s time also means posting only the most pertinent data, even if it means discarding the majority of sources we encounter. For every data point we post, at least two others don’t make the cut. Some sources are too complex to condense for Instagram; others are outdated or biased. We avoid speculative reports, surveys with unclear methodology, and one-off case studies that are not widely applicable.

This research and filtering process constitutes the majority of the work behind DMD, and is deeply integrated into our wider research process at Water & Music. After that, writing and batch-scheduling content is the easy part, taking just one afternoon per week. (We give paying Water & Music members an exclusive preview of our DMD posts one week in advance.)

The best stories are in between the lines

A core journalistic reporting principle I learned early on is that “the headline is never the story.” Rather, the real insights often lie between the lines and numbers, requiring original analysis of what is both said and unsaid.

The same principle applies to music industry data. For example, Suno’s recent $125M funding round to scale creative AI tools for music raised many eyebrows. But it wasn’t just a big deal for the company; investigating Crunchbase data reveals that it was also the largest music-tech investment in years, pointing to macro trends in how the sector has matured over time.

Similarly, CISAC’s annual report showed global music collections revenue growing over 25% year-over-year in 2022 to 12.07 billion euros. Yet, collections revenue from China, with over 700 million digital music users, hit only 53.2 million euros that same year. A quick analysis of this discrepancy revealed a significant story for DMD about China's severe under-monetization in the global music business.

Connecting dots matters more than chasing news

Many industry data sources are siloed and over-analyzed in isolation during a news break. For music and tech, the real value comes from understanding how core music-industry infrastructure works on a deeper, systemic level, and then analyzing data over the long term to show meaningful trends and wider ripple effects.

Many of our most popular DMD posts so far have highlighted long-term trends and evergreen power dynamics in music and tech, not just short-term headlines. Examples include:

We also consolidate related data points into dedicated Story highlights for specific topic (streaming, AI, rights, live, etc.), making it easier for followers to identify connections across events and over time.

We plan to expand DMD incrementally in the next few months with new features like reader Q&As and topical deep-dives. Our north star remains the same: Using accessible education to make crucial industry data more connected and approachable, empowering smarter decisions and ultimately creating a better music business.

Check out @dailymusicdata on Instagram and let us know your thoughts!

May 2024 music data

Streaming & startups

Live music


Rights & licensing

Asia spotlight

*Data points marked with an asterisk are original to Water & Music — i.e. derived through our own calculations or by uncovering overlooked details in reports, making them unique to our channel and not previously reported in any financial, trade, or company publications.