Social networking has spawned an algorithmic cloud that measures almost all our online engagement… and now our music joins those ranks, as veteran chart-maker Billboard launches the Social 50, a weekly ranking of musicians on social networks.
MTV fave and avid tweeter Rihanna scored top spot on the magazine’s first chart, followed by Justin Beiber, Eminem, Lady Gaga and up-and-comer Nicki Minaj.
Rounding out the inaugural top 10: Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Linkin Park and Shakira. Next Big Sound is compiling the data for the Social 50 — which is pretty barebones in terms of design or information in its launch iteration, and will be updated every Thursday on Billboard.com and Billboard.biz.
“We continue to adapt the way we chart the changing landscape of music. The Social 50 is yet another step in the evolution of Billboard and an important response to our changing times,” comments editorial director Bill Werde.
Billboard's Social 50 weekly rankings are based on how many fans the artists’ official pages added on social sites including Facebook, iLike, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube; weekly song plays on those sites; and total number of fans, friends, and followers on each social platform.
It's validation of an established trend, in terms of how social media savvy helps up and coming artists bypass traditional gatekeepers and build their own audiences to virally help catapult them to fame.
In an era where the music industry has been eroded by the web, not to mention traditional record/distribution deals and the old school route of radio play/album sales game, the web offers savvy artists — now tracked by the Social 50 — a platform to engage fans, generate sales and define their personas through inventive and aggressive viral marketing.
“Marketing for the music industry has forever changed, and studio/artist marketing budgets will be proportioned in favor of Social Media; mark my word,” blogs Aaron Schoenberger, founder of The Brainchild Group. Word, marked.