If you’re a music lover or an emerging musical artist, chances are by now you’ve discovered We Are Hunted (www.wearehunted.com). Since 2008, this innovative website has been scouring the web for the music, artists and bands that are being talked about, blogged about, and listened to, and compiling that information into simple, intuitive charts where music fans can easily connect with their favorites (and find new favorites, as well). Streamlined and easy to use, We Are Hunted has quickly become one of the most popular new music discovery sites on the planet.
There can be little doubt that the Internet has drastically altered the way fans connect with music, and conversations about bands and artists through blogs and other sites are now a driving force in helping emerging musicians find their audience. We Are Hunted has placed itself at the forefront of this aspect of the new music industry, not simply by tracking sales, but also by effectively tracking conversations online.
Richard Slatter, co-founder and General Manager of We Are Hunted, handles much of the business aspects of the site, as well as participating heavily in product development and improvement. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.
MIMO: What is the primary goal or vision that has driven the formation of wearehunted.com?
Richard: The vision was something we started with about three years ago and we’ve tried to stay true to it – tried to keep getting better while never straying too far away from the original idea.
It’s pretty simple. The traditional popularity metrics (primarily sales) weren’t working anymore for obvious reasons. Because of the Internet people were engaging with music differently. It was time for a difference set of metrics. There had to be a better way.
People’s conversations and activities around music are a much more accurate measure of quality and engagement. The conversations and activities (streams, downloads, torrents, blog posts, tweets, likes, et cetera) are out there on record.
We Are Hunted is about making sense of this data and presenting it in a gorgeous, simple way to users. Our goal is to be the place users come back to every day for their hit of amazing new music.
MIMO: How are the charts populated? Is it a fairly automated process, or do you have lots of humans involved in tracking discussions on the web?
We are primarily a technology company. The site is an automated beast. It scours the web, or to be precise, particular nooks and crannies of the web, gathering data – evidence of what is new and what is hot.
It’s completely dynamic with the charts changing all the time. But we never release the raw chart to the World – it’s a little too raw. What I mean by that is this: For each artist/track on the chart, the system will find and present (in an admin interface) imagery of the artist, URLs of where the track is playable across the web, and the evidence (the data) as to why it’s in the chart. Our editor (yes – a real life human being), who is really more like a fastidious curator, will check the audio links, clean up the imagery or even select a more flattering image if required, and check that the evidence for the track’s chart position is spot on. Rinse and repeat…He works through the chart until it’s perfect, at which point he makes it live.
We think this combination of machine and human working together is the optimal combination for delivering the best experience for our users.
MIMO: How frequently are the charts updated?
Richard: Certainly at least once a day. Often more than that – depending on how much work is involved as described above and whether the raw chart has moved so much in the day that we think it warrants a new release.
MIMO: How would you advise music fans just discovering wearehunted.com to get the most out of the experience?
Richard: It’s pretty easy. Hit the emerging chart for starters. Auto play through the whole lot. When you find something you love, dive into the artist page. Find out more about the artist, check out some of their other tracks that have been on the chart before.
And most importantly, click through to buy from iTunes or Amazon and buy a ticket through our partnership with SongKick. Our purpose is to put awesome new emerging artists in front of our audience – to help artist and fan connect with one another. If you love the artist, then support her by spending some money!
MIMO: What advice do you have for bands and artists who want to see their music charting on We Are Hunted?
Richard: Two things. First–write and produce great music. WIthout that there’s nothing. Second–Get it out there! Share it, make it available, talk to your fans, get your fans talking, get reviewed, get written about across multiple blogs. Get your stuff on Youtube and Soundcloud. Engage with your audience and the influencers [whose advice] the audience listens to. All of this activity is data, and if it’s out there, Hunted will find it. If we find enough of it you will end up on the chart.