With the overwhelming omnipresence of the internet and everyone’s love of music, information regarding radio airplay is priceless for anyone seeking to build their music brand. Radio airplay tracking is the perfect tool for any individual or company in the music industry to expand and reinforce their audience. DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc. is a private U.S. based firm that has developed a user-friendly platform which provides music clients with lucrative and creative marketing research initiatives. The company also provides insights that are personally designed to help music related companies all over the world drive profitable growth and expand to new heights. DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc., also known as DRT, is a premier radio airplay broadcast monitoring solution that tracks radio airplay of songs on over 5000+ radio stations around the globe. These stations are comprised of: Terrestrial FM (Commercial & Non-Commercial), College, Satellite as well as thousands of streaming Internet radio stations. DRT has customized an all-inclusive, superior tracking technology software that monitors radio airplay detection of songs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. This innovation is coupled with online real-time powerful and invaluable airplay information that is revolutionizing song tracking.
This amazing technology requires no special encoding or finger printing. The system’s unique database logs songs that are played on all the radio stations that DRT currently monitors. DRT captures the version of a song and records the date and time it is played. Other monitoring companies have never provided this level of information leaving clients unaware if a different version of their song(s) is played. DRT has filled this need within the music industry because its system can detect all versions of songs played. DRT’s website also provides music charts of songs played on a national level for the current week for Pop, Hip-Hop/R&B, Country, Christian/Gospel, Rock and other genres of interest.
“Success in the modern–global-business arena means having the right tools to measure success,” says DRT’s Michael Matthews. “We provide the right analytics to our clients for them to adequately assess their target audience, making it easier for them to plan their marketing campaigns and increase sales!” The DRT system can detect all versions of songs aired on radio. DRT’s system not only provides a voice to the small internet radio stations that tends to be overlooked by other monitoring companies, but captures songs played on major broadcasting networks. DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc. tracks and records millions of songs that are played each week and compiles the information for chart creation as well as DRT Reports for its clients. A DRT Report provides information about a song that received airplay on a specific station, the exact time of day/night it was played and most importantly, it displays the amount of times the song was played.
Recently in an interview, Michael Matthews gave us some more insight about the start and development of DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc.
1. Let’s start from the beginning. Where are you originally from, and what were you doing before you started DigitalRadioTracker?
Michael Matthews (DRT): I was born in Newburgh, NY and I currently reside in Houston, TX. I started off in the music industry as an artist manager. I did professional artist management for 25 years. During that time, I built a lot of relationships and decided to launch a marketing company called Dominion Global Marketing. After retiring from artist management, I focused on radio promotion for a while. As I saw technology changing the music industry, I went on to create the internet radio campaign taking the same model from Commercial FM promotion. A couple years later I was led to form the music monitoring company, DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc.
2. How and when did the idea for the DigitalRadioTracker come about?
Michael Matthews (DRT): It all started one day as I was talking to an associate. We started to notice that more and more of the songs that we were promoting were being played on digital radio. At the time, it was referred to as Internet Radio. As we began our research, we discovered that no one was really monitoring the activity of songs on digital streaming radio. As a record promoter, you always want to know what is going on with the songs you are promoting and be able to illustrate to your clients that you are working for them. In talking to some of the main monitoring companies, we found out that they were not interested in monitoring airplay on digital radio as well as some small-market FM stations. These stations are known to support new and developing artists and are much easier to garner airplay from. Being that this was a void in the music industry, we thought if no one wants to do it, maybe we should try and develop something. What started off as an internal software to show our clients that their song was being played at various levels of radio, has now turned into a global monitoring company – DigitalRadioTracker.
3. How long did it take you from the initial idea to the actual launch of the platform, and what was your major difficulties at first?
Michael Matthews (DRT): It took about a year before the initial launch happened and then a few years of fine tuning. One of the biggest obstacles in the beginning was finding believers. I had so many people tell me, “No one is paying attention to internet radio, there is no value there, no one is listening!” It was very discouraging to hear. I think when you are a forward thinker and a visionary you are going to get a lot of that. Not everyone can see your vision. It was extremely hard to get help, acceptance and financial partners. In some ways it is still that way to this day. The music industry as we all know is exceedingly difficult to break into. And when you are disrupting a space, no one is going to just jump on the bandwagon. A big part of overcoming it is simply time. You must find a way to stick it out. Over the years as technology evolved, DRT has seen more and more individuals embracing digital streaming radio. Through this and perseverance we were able to convince the industry of our viability and that there is a lot of value in what DRT offers. Like anything, you must find those initial believers and grow your brand to becoming a credible source.
4. Were you forced to acquire any new skills in successfully getting DigitalRadioTracker off the ground and running?
Michael Matthews (DRT): Being that I have a radio promotion background, creating the vision for DRT was simple. I thought about the voids in broadcast monitoring and the information that artists and record labels wanted to see on reports. The real challenge was the technology aspect of DRT. I had the overall concept for DRT, but needed the right development team to create the software for tracking and database management. This was our biggest hurdle to cross and it took several years for us to perfect the technology and get everything running smoothly.
5. Who is DRT platform aimed at?
Michael Matthews (DRT): DRT is utilized by artists, publicists, managers, promoters, radio station programmers, DJs, music industry executives and more! The global airplay data that DRT collects is extremely useful to artists and record labels because they can use the information to book shows and tours, set-up interviews, sell merchandise or promote their songs to other radio stations to secure more airplay. Artists and record labels can also use the airplay information to assist in collecting royalties on their music and increase their fan base. Or they can use the data to develop promotional strategies and learn which markets to further promote and market their music. Before now, there was no other monitoring source providing this level of analytics for new independent artists and record labels to be able to monetize their brand.
6. Could you give us a simple explanation of how DigitalRadioTracker actually works?
Michael Matthews (DRT): DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc. has customized a technology that monitors radio airplay detections of songs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. The system’s unique database logs every song that is played on all radio stations that DRT monitors. A timestamp of the date, time and which version of the song is being played is recorded by DRT’s system. This data is compiled in our database and DRT Reports and Charts are generated.
7. Does DigitalRadioTracker have any credible competitors today, and what do you think sets your service apart and above the rest?
Michael Matthews (DRT): We like to say, “DRT is competition to no one, but value for everyone!” We are in a space of our own. Other monitoring companies predominately monitor the top 200 metro market Terrestrial FM stations in the U.S. DRT’s focus is monitoring global digital streaming radio stations. We all monitor some of the same radio stations in the U.S., but DRT also monitors radio stations worldwide. We produce global airplay charts whereas they produce charts based on U.S. data only. DRT prides itself on being added value to the music industry. If an artist/record label really want to understand what their song is doing at radio and have a complete picture of the airplay story, they will want to look at not just DRT, but multiple monitoring company reports.
8. On the DigitalRadioTracker website, the word “FREE” appears often. The question is, why would anyone create such an extensive service and then give it away for free. Could you clarify the meaning of “FREE” on DigitalRadioTracker for potential clients?
Michael Matthews (DRT): DigitalRadioTracker is the only company in the world to provide a FREE artist/song/broadcaster searchable database to our users which contains over 45 million song titles. Users can research if their song titles or any other song titles are receiving airplay. This has been an invaluable resource tool for independent artists. All other monitoring companies charge to access their database.
9. What type of reports does DRT provide its subscribers?
Michael Matthews (DRT): DRT offers 5 types of reports: A DRT Report provides information about a song that received airplay on a specific station. It displays the exact time of day/night a song is played and most importantly, the number of times its played. DRT also offers historical eight-week reports which list the history of airplay detections during the previous eight-weeks on all our monitored stations. In addition, DRT provides comprehensive reports which outlines the exact time of day/night a song is played on each of our monitored stations as well as any remix versions. Since the conception of music monitoring, no other company has provided this type of specialty information. Other broadcast monitoring companies usually merge all the information into one report making it impossible to determine which version of the song was played. Broadcast Raw Data Summary Logs and Broadcaster Comprehensive Reports are also available for anyone wanting to know the playlist data for a specific radio station.
10. Does DRT have a charting system? If so, where can one find it?
Michael Matthews (DRT): Yes, DRT Airplay Charts can be found on our website www.DigitalRadioTracker.com. DigitalRadioTracker compiles data to produce nine weekly song charts. These charts are DRT Global Top 200, Top 150 Independent, Top 25 International as well as Top 50 Pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, Country, Gospel/Inspirational, Adult Contemporary and Rock. We have published these charts consistently for the last 9 years. The DRT Charts are a great measuring tool on the amount of airplay exposure a song is receiving on a global level. Unlike other industry charts that simply focus on airplay in the U.S., DRT is compiling data globally and from all different classifications of radio stations. Although we mainly focus on digital streaming radio, we also monitor a vast array of Commercial FM, Satellite and College Radio stations around the world. This has enabled us to give independent artists and labels a louder voice as they are receiving global airplay and representation on DRT Charts.
11. Putting aside the accolades or criticisms that the industry or the media may afford DigitalRadioTracker, what’s the one thing you think people overlook, misinterpret or underestimate most often about your services?
Michael Matthews (DRT): The one thing I would say people overlook, misinterpret or underestimate is the value of information. DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc. understands the importance of keeping pace with modern technology, but is also aware that there will always be doubts when it comes to embracing the unknown. Being a leader in the digital radio space, DRT has seen firsthand the growth of this sector and the impact it is making on the music industry. As a service provider, DRT’s mission and passion is to provide accurate digital tracking information to the music industry because of the importance of knowing who, when, where and how often a song is played. Even though the changes in technology can be scary at times, DRT will continue to develop better solutions to assist major and independent artists and the music industry around the world achieve sustainable success.
12. Describe to artists how important it is to have their music tracked by a service like yours & how they can get started.
Michael Matthews (DRT): It is vital for an artist to have their music tracked by third-party monitoring companies such as DigitalRadioTracker. I cannot express the importance enough. In the music industry, one of the hardest things to obtain is validation as an artist. A song’s analytics is one of the main ways the music industry determines whether an artist is trending or not. It can also be used to determine how successful an artist or song may become. DigitalRadioTracker is the only monitoring company in the world that does not require any special encoding or fingerprinting. By using its proprietary software, DRT can track songs from the first time it is played! Other monitoring sources cannot monitor a song unless someone sends the song to them to be encoded first. This is especially important as spins are often missed on songs which can affect promotional strategies and royalties on a project. One of the unique things about DRT is that we also track different versions of a song such as a feature or remix. Other monitoring companies simply merge the song detections under one file. DRT has simplified the process in getting a song tracked. Get your song played at least one-time on any of the 5000+ stations that DRT monitors and a DRT file will be created on that song. Register for a FREE DRT Account on our website and then login to our web portal to generate a DRT Report at any time on your song. It is that easy!
13. What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why?
Michael Matthews (DRT): I think my favorite part of monitoring music is when I hear an artist or record label say, “I didn’t know I was getting played on the radio in other parts of the world”. Often when MP3s are shared on social media and e-blasted to DJs, no one knows where it will end up or who will actually play it. That is one of the main reasons why DRT was invented. DRT enables us to know what is going on with that song and if anyone is playing it around the world. As for my least favorite, that will always be data management. With data mining there is a lot of moving parts. There is no sense of holidays, weekends or even the difference between day or night. Data management is a 24/7/365 maintenance business that includes a ton of stress. My new best friend is a bottle of hair dye…lol
14. Are you personally involved, in a hands-on way, with the daily DigitalRadioTracker functions, or are your duties strictly administrative?
Michael Matthews (DRT): Yes, we are all hands-on deck here. Everyone is involved in all aspects of the company.
15. Are your services available worldwide?
Michael Matthews (DRT): Yes, DigitalRadioTracker understands that technology has changed the landscape of the music industry. We are now in a global industry. It is no longer about a song’s local reach. It is all about what a song is doing globally. DRT monitors over 45 million song titles a week in more than 125 countries around the world! Music industry professionals can access DRT’s database from anywhere in the world via our user-friendly web portal.
16. Could you tell us something about your DRT Plaque program, and how it has been received so far?
Michael Matthews (DRT): The response has been overwhelming. Our DRT Certified Plaques are some of the highest qualities in the music industry. They are hand-made using 100% Italian solid wood frame, superior quality printing on plexiglass and 3D raised inserts. DRT is the only company in the music industry to use Augmented Reality technology in our plaques. This feature allows you to scan your plaque with your phone or tablet and it will play the artist’s music video! To qualify, an artist must have a single charted on any of the official DRT Charts for a minimum of one week. This can be at any chart position from 2014 to present. For many of our independent artists this is their first accolade and we are honored that they can display their success and enjoy a lifetime of memories with their DRT Certified Plaque!
17. Are there any particular requirements necessary for an artist or radio station to be listed on DigitalRadioTracker?
Michael Matthews (DRT): For the artist, all they need to do is simply get their song played on any digital streaming stations we currently monitor. For radio stations, they just need to stream their Api through a major broadcasting network to be monitored by DRT.
18. Outside of DigitalRadioTracker, are you actively involved in the music business in any other way?
Michael Matthews (DRT): I still operate a music marketing company (Dominion Global Marketing) and speak at numerous music industry events throughout the U.S.
19. What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
Michael Matthews (DRT): The best advice I could give to anyone looking to pursue music is, stay true to your artistic craft. Focus on building your brand by any means necessary. Do not allow anyone to tell you that you will not be successful because you do not have this or that. And most importantly do not allow the politics of this industry to discourage you from obtaining your success. An incredibly wise person once told me, “When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do!”
20. What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to see DigitalRadioTracker achieve within the near future?
Michael Matthews (DRT): DRT understands the importance of knowing who, when, where and how often a song is being played. That’s our mission and passion which creates the nucleus of who we are as a service provider. It doesn’t matter if you’re a multinational enterprise or a small start-up; we believe innovation is the key to success in both what is created and how one markets a product or service. DRT will continue to develop better solutions to assist artists, songwriters, publishers, producers and music related companies around the world achieve sustainable growth for their business and develop a clear mission to combat the ultra-competitive marketplace. Also, as technology continues to expand with devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, DRT plans on monitoring more digital streaming stations on these devices. Internet Radio are being installed in millions of cars today and DRT will focus on monitoring more of these streaming stations. DRT’s goal is to be the first broadcast monitoring company to track specialty shows such as DJ mix-shows, ministries, talk shows and more!