Michael Matthews is changing the internet radio monitoring game with his company, Digital Radio Tracker.com.
We caught up with Michael to talk all things DRT and why internet radio monitoring is such an integral part of the music industry today.
Bridge:Tell us who you are…
MM: My name is Michael Matthews and I am the founder of DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc. DigitalRadioTracker also known as DRT is a leading global internet radio monitoring company which tracks radio airplay of songs played on over 5000+ radio stations around the globe. These stations (major to independent) are comprised of an array of FM Terrestrial, Satellite and College as well as thousands of digital streaming radio stations.
Bridge:For those who don’t know, tell us why the services your company offers are integral to the music industry…
MM: 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. DigitalRadioTracker is used by artists, managers, record labels, radio marketing companies, publishing companies, radio station programmers, DJs and other music related companies! It has also been used by college students doing research on songs trending. We have created a music database for everyone to use!
Bridge: That blows my mind! You can basically collect every bit of information available for a song!
As a new artist myself, I have a couple songs out right now and a small (but big to me) radio promotion budget. How can your services help me and my label to grow my brand?
MM: By utilizing the analytics within a DRT Report, artists like yourself can monetize the information by setting up interviews, booking shows or tours and exploring PR opportunities. Artists and labels can also expand the promotion of their brands into other territories around the world. Artists can see a rise in royalties as they utilize DRT’s analytics to promote their music to other radio stations. For artists that have been able to achieve chart recognition on the DRT Charts, have seen an increase in streaming numbers on Apple Music and Spotify. Many individuals use the DRT Charts for new music discovery as well as a research tool. And lastly, several record labels have discovered talent by investigating which independent artists are gaining traction on the DRT Charts!
Bridge: I hope my manager is reading this. (laughs)
So, what would you say sets you apart from other companies offering similar services?
MM: We like to say, “DRT is competition to no one, but value for everyone!” We are in a space of our own. Other U.S. based monitoring companies predominately monitor the top 200 metro market Terrestrial FM stations in the U.S. However, 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. DigitalRadioTracker is the only company in the world to provide a FREE artist/song/broadcaster searchable database of over forty-five million song titles without any obligation to purchase. This has been an invaluable resource tool for independent artists. Other monitoring companies charge to access their database.
Bridge:Free? That is right in my price range ! I’m trying this out as soon as this conversation is over!
Surrounding yourself with all this music, I’m curious, do you have roots in music yourself or are you just a music lover?
MM: I cannot carry a tune if my life depended on it, but I sure do try to when I am in my car (laughs.) I am just a passionate music lover. Like many people, I grew up listening to music and enjoying live entertainment. The business of music was something that I kind of fell into. I found that I have a knack for marketing so I decided to take something that I love to do and combine it with something I am passionate about.
Bridge: I feel like that is the ultimate goal in life, combining those two things.
What do you find is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
MM: For me it is about lives. I think the most rewarding aspect is knowing that what we do is having a positive effect in so many lives. It is such a wonderful thing to see the careers of artists grow over the years and the lives that are touched along the way. Think of all the jobs that are created and all the opportunities that comes from someone dreaming of being a superstar. Many times, we do not think about all the individuals behind the scenes that work hard to help grow and develop the artist we all love to listen to. It is an awesome feeling to know that what we do is making an impact by creating opportunities for those who may not have had one. DRT is giving a voice to the many artists which allows them to be discovered. Also, for so many years small broadcasters around the world have been deemed irrelevant and no one wanted to monitor them and give them a voice. No one has allowed their data to impact music charts or accepted the artists they are playing to be recognized within the industry. I am proud to say that DRT is a “game-changer” in the music industry and have given a voice to the independent artists and smaller radio stations.
Bridge: I find that extremely refreshing. In my short time in the music industry, I have felt like a number on a page and at times like an after thought. Just another artist. So it really means a lot to me to hear you say that you care about making a positive impact on people’s lives.
Okay, back to DRT. I found that most tracking companies seem to only offer 1 report of their findings, but I saw that you offer way more than that! What are the different kinds of reports that you provide clients?
MM: 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 amount 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.
Bridge:Tell us about the DRT Plaque program, what is the most exciting part of that for you?
MM: The most exciting part about DRT’s plaques has been the reactions from artists and record labels when they receive their plaques. We receive many emails and videos from artists expressing how much they appreciate them. For many of these artists it is their very first accolade, so it brings a sense of affirmation into the music industry to them and we are delighted to be a part of their accomplishment. Our DRT Certified Plaques are some of the highest quality in the music industry. They are 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! It is an awesome conversation piece and we are excited that they can display their success and enjoy a lifetime of memories with their DRT Certified Plaque!
Bridge: I have to say, the first time I saw the pictures of the plagues I wanted one!
You’ve done so much already with DRT, what are your long-term goals for the company?
MM: 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!
Bridge:All this talk of music, I have to know, who are your favorite artists?
MM: For me it is about legacy and artistic ability when it comes to my picks for artist of all time. So, I would have to say Michael Jackson, Madonna, Garth Brooks, Metallica and Lionel Richie. Also, several current artists that I have met who have really moved me with their song writing abilities are Kane Brown, Luke Combs and Cole Swindell. And I was really impressed with Billie Eilish personality and artistic ability.
Bridge: Sounds like we have very similar tastes in music!
If you could pick any song to be the anthem for your company, what would it be?
MM: That is a great question. I think the anthem right now would be Firework by Katy Perry. There is a lot of challenges that you must deal with when operating a broadcast monitoring company in today’s industry. I love the line in the song that says, “maybe a reason why all the doors are closed, so you could open one that leads you to the perfect road”. Sometimes it feels like I am going down a dark unknown road, but I have learned that if I keep walking the darkness will eventually fade away and that perfect path is ahead of me!