Brett Justin Leftwich

Major: BBA MIS
Graduation: May 2015


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          In today’s business world, it goes without saying that data analytics plays a huge role in decision making within companies. In fact, it is downright essential if a company wants to remain relevant and competitive. One emerging topic that has been making headlines in recent years within this field is the use of “big data”. The problem is that a lot of people are unaware of what this even is. Simply stated, big data is a collection of vast amounts of data, the size of which goes well beyond the scope of common analytics software and tools to manage.

          The source of big data can come from anywhere; it is all data that exists, whether structured or unstructured. Why is this topic important? Well, to start, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every single day. When one considers just how astronomical that amount of data is over the course of time, they would realize the potential to make use of it all. Not surprisingly, though, managing big data is difficult. That is why companies have been formed that have built their own internal tools to analyze big data, usually catered to specialized areas for specific reasons. They can then provide services to clients who then wish to utilize this data for their own agenda. One of these companies is Next Big Sound.

          As the name implies, Next Big Sound specializes in tracking “more data for more bands online than anyone else in the world”. The data they provide on artists helps to create contextual information that can be utilized by third parties to impact the industry. This was tested in late 2012 when a case study was conducted using their software. The purpose was to show the impact of social media, such as FaceBook and YouTube, on digital iTunes sales. It was found that the numbers generated from these sites (“views”, “likes”, etc) directly correlated to sales. YouTube music videos, for instance, were linked to strong single sales, while Wikipedia articles, on the other hand, were linked to strong album sales. This statistical proof (all viewable on their website in-depth) legitimizes the potential use for big data, and in this specific example could go one step further to, for example, reel in record labels and band managers to certain artists based strictly on the data generated.

          As a student currently enrolled in MIS 2502, this topic and its concepts are extremely relevant to my studies. The course devotes a lot of time on the teachings of database management, the retrieval of data, interpretation of results, making inquiries, and other related topics that all directly have to do with big data. The only difference between what we use in class and what real-life big data comprises of is the size of the data. It would be too massive to analyze using in-class software such as Excel (retrieval and organization of data), MySQL, and SAS (multidimensional analysis and others), but the underlying methods that we use (extract, transform, load to normalize data from different sources; decision trees to make business decisions; pivot tables for general analytics) are still used behind-the-scenes in the utilization of big data, just on a larger scale. All in all, big data is important, and companies should start paying attention to it if they haven’t already.


Works Cited

Hu, Victor, and Liv Buli. “Next Big Sound.” Blog. Next Big Sound, 05 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 May 2013. <>.

“IBM What Is Big Data? – Bringing Big Data to the Enterprise.” IBM What Is Big Data? – Bringing Big Data to the Enterprise. IBM, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013. <>.

Kotenko, Jam. “Who Needs Simon Cowell? How Big Data Can Predict Music Superstars.” Digital Trends. Digital Trends, 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <>.

“Next Big Sound – Analytics and Insights for the Music Industry.” Next Big Sound – Analytics and Insights for the Music Industry. Next Big Sound, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013. <>.

Viswanathan, Venkat. “Fueling Your Startup With Big-Data.” AllAnalytics. N.p., 04 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <>.

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