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Fifty-three years ago this week, Billboard launched its “Hot 100 Chart,” which at the time tracked top singles based on radio play and sales. A lot has changed since 1958 when it comes to measuring the popularity of tunes. Namely, now there’s this thing called the Internet all up in the music business’s business.

Granted, the “Hot 100 Chart” has been anything but stagnant over the years. Since it proclaimed Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” tops on August 4, 1958, it has introduced alterations such as the addition of streamed and on-demand music to the chart’s forumla. The chart ranks the week’s most popular songs across genres based on radio airplay audience impressions as measured by Nielsen BDS, sales data as compiled by Nielsen SoundScan and streaming activity data provided by online music sources.

Although the chart is still a major indicator of musical success, there’s now a bevy of other tools that take into account the social aspect of a song’s popularity. Read on for four ways you can track musical success based on social media clout.

Next Big Sound

Next Big Sound launched back in March 2010. It gauges the popularity of bands and artists via fan activity on a variety of social networking sites, as well as traditional sales data, radio plays, traffic to an artist’s website and P2P activity.

The website is basically a tool for fans, artists, music industry professionals and journalists to track the popularity of an artist across sites like Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Soundcloud, ReverbNation, Pure Volume, etc. Casual users can sign up to get weekly stats about their favorite bands sent to their inboxes and even compare bands’ social clout on the site. More hardcore users — like bands and labels — can sign up for the premiere service for even deeper data mining.

NBS also recently partnered with Billboard, in order to bring you the second entry on on our list …

Social 50

The “Social 50” is Billboard‘s newly minted chart. It measures an artist’s popularity every week based on social networking activity mined from Next Big Sound.

Like NBS, the Social 50 ranks artists using such metrics such as weekly additions of friends, fans and followers, artist page views and weekly song plays. Rankings are also influenced by measuring the ratio of pageviews to fans. if you’re more of a curious fan than a hardcore music head, this is likely the chart for you. It’s also usually packed with more mainstream acts, so if you’re looking for more esoteric fare, you might want to check out …

We Are Hunted

We Are Hunted is both a music chart and a community. At its core, the site features a chart that tracks songs’ popularity every day based on blog activity, mentions on social networks, buzz on message board and forums, Twitter talk and movement on P2P networks.

It also features the ability to build your own charts, which you can share with friends and other music lovers, and a “Discover” tool, which helps you find new music based on what you like and dislike on the site.

Recently, We Are Hunted has been rolling out a bevy of apps, including an iPad app for music discovery and a number of offerings that integrate music intelligence company The Echo Nest‘s API, including the appropriately blasé Pocket Hipster.

MTV Music Meter

As part of MTV’s quest to put the “music” back into “MTV,” the network recently released its Music Meter, which seeks to highlight up-and-coming artists by ranking them based on their social media status.

MTV worked with music intelligence company the Echo Nest to develop an algorithm that combs through blogs, social media, video and more traditional metrics (like radio plays and sales) to determine which bands are receiving the most attention on any given day.

MTV also rolled out an app for iOS and Android iteration, letting users go mobile with their music discovery.


Image courtesy of Flickr, craigCloutier

More About: Billboard, billboard-hot-100, mtv-music-meter, music, music charts, next-big-sound, social media, social-50, wearehunted

In the same way that bar codes don’t have to be boring, quick response codes can also be creative. Thanks to a 30% tolerance in readability, you can have some real fun with clever designs. Besides looking good, this can also make them more successful.

“Designer QR codes are not only a way to make your 2D barcode stand out, but they also add a more human element to the otherwise cold and techie appearance,” says Patrick Donnelly, QR code designer and expert. “This could be the difference between someone scanning your code or not.”

Take a look through the image gallery for 15 brilliant designs created for a range of businesses from big names such as Disney, little names such as local restaurants and even conceptual ideas. Let us know in the comments if a clever design would make you more likely to scan a code.

1. Ayara Thai Cuisine




Designed by Paperlinks, a charming elephant drawing adds a dash of Asia to this LA restaurant’s QR code.

2. True Blood

HBO’s True Blood season 3 was the first TV series to get a designer QR code in an ad, thanks to a collaboration between Warbasse Design, .phd agency and SET Japan.

3. Magic Hat Brewing Company

This clever code from Patrick Donnelly is made up of bottle tops and links to the beer company’s mobile optimized Facebook page.

4. Help Japan Now

Chances are you’ve already seen SET’s “Help Japan” design. As well as extending the code to make an instantly recognizable red cross, the faux parts of the code contain related symbols for an arresting overall effect.

5. Louis Vuitton

Another SET creation, QR codes get playful with a dose of Takeshi Murakami-influenced design for Louis Vuitton’s mobile website

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6. Corkbin

Cliffano Subagio spotted these awesome Disney codes in Japan where QR is a well established marketing tool.

8. Discover LA Tourism Bureau

This Paperlinks code is both cool and calm with made-you-look palm trees that add a special design touch.

9. Pac-Man

An experimental design from Patrick Donnelly, we love the witty, retro appeal.

10. Greenfield Lodge

The dots from Greenfield Lodge’s floral logo are replicated throughout the design to great effect.

11. M&Ms

Anther concept design from Patrick Donnelly, we like the idea of arranging real-life objects into a scannable code.

12. The Fillmore Silver Spring

Paperlinks added musical instruments into this concert venue’s design, a neat way to tease consumers into reading the code.

13. Burtonwood & Holmes

Artists Tom Burtonwood and Holly Holmes have fun by extruding the classic code design with a code-within-a-code concept.

14. The Wine Sisterhood

As well as integrating elements from the group’s logo, we like how Paperlinks made the design appear painted with wine.

15. TIME

Patrick Donnelly is such a QR code enthusiast, he spent months on Farmville “growing” a design!


More About: barcodes, design, gallery, List, Lists, MARKETING, QR Codes, trending

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If your favorite part of July 4 celebrations is the fireworks, then we’ve got a fun gallery for you. We’ve found five tools that offer virtual fireworks you can enjoy right at your desk.

Whether you want to send someone an animated message, play around to create a mesmerizing browser show or add fireworks to your own site, we’ve found web sparklers to suit.

Light the touchpaper, stand at a safe distance and rocket through the gallery. You can find out more about the tools by clicking on the blue title text at the top left of each slide. Let us know which ones you like in the comments below.

1. Enjoy Canvas Fireworks




This hypnotic HTML5 Canvas experiment offers three different shapes of fireworks that you can control with your mouse for a 3D wow experience.

2. Write a Message in Fireworks

This is tons of fun. Compose your own message and see it written across the London skyline in fireworks. You can also share it with an automatically generated tiny URL.

3. Add Fireworks to Your Own Site With Fireworks.js

You can add fireworks to your own site with this nifty Javascript animation experiment. Or if you’re just firecracker-curious, you can play around with it on the dev’s site.

4. View Augmented Reality Fireworks

Simply print off the marker, fire up your webcam and you can enjoy your very own miniature augmented reality fireworks show.

5. Go Old School With Fireworks Just For You

Dating back to 2002, this particular desktop show is perfect for kids, offering mesmerizing fireworks generated by the click of your mouse.

BONUS: Join the HTML5 Fireworks Festival

If you’re handy with HTML5 then join the “Hanabi fireworks festival” by forking the sample code, or creating your own from scratch. The resulting entries will then be revealed as an online spectacular on July 7.

More About: apps, fireworks, HTML5, july 4, List, Lists, software, web apps

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On this day in 1974, Clyde Dawson made history as the first consumer to buy a product that had been scanned into a till by its Universal Product Code. The product was a $0.67 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum purchased at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The UPC went on to become more commonly known as a “bar code.”

Now ubiquitous in the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, the bar code has not changed visibly in the past three decades — a boring monotone patch around which packaging designers must maneuver. Many don’t realize, however, that as long as a bar code is still scannable, you can have tons of fun with creative designs. Although popular in Japan, custom bar codes for product packaging haven’t gone significantly mainstream in the west, except for a few notable examples, such as Amazon’s Kindle packaging.

We’d like to see more bar code creativity, so to celebrate the UPC’s birthday, we’re taking a look at 10 brilliant designs from experts in the designer bar code field — Japanese company Design Barcode and New Jersey-based branding and packaging design agency Miller Creative‘s Vanity Barcodes.

1. Beer Pouring

In this design, we especially love the numbers pouring out of the bottle.

2. Piano

Noodles

This would make a great graphic for photography product packaging.

5. Sneakers

This gorgeous design imagines the bars as rain.

7. Surfer

The iconic tape cassette becomes a music-themed bar code.

9. Cup

Umbrella

Mac, iPhone and iPad

The results are in for the Doodle 4 Google U.S. competition. Matteo Lopez, an aspiring space explorer, has come out on top.

The second-grader from California won a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for his school for his doodle, which played on the theme “What I’d like to do someday.” More than 107,000 U.S. school kids grades K-12 entered the competition, the fourth of its kind in the U.S.

“I want to wear a space suit, fly in space, walk on the moon and make friends with aliens (on) other planets,” he wrote by way of describing his entry.

How would you render the iconic logo if given the chance?

More About: Google, google-doodle-4, social media, space

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The second Sunday in May is when the United States, Canada and a great many other countries around the world honor their mothers, celebrate motherhood and thank moms for all they do.

Since 2000 Google has marked the occasion every year with one of its infamous Google “Doodles,” transforming the classic homepage to a tribute to moms everywhere.

We’ve looked back this Mothering Sunday over a decade of mom-themed Doodles. Take a look through our gallery below and let us know which Doodle you’d like to dedicate to your mom in the comments below or via one of the share options to the top left.

2011

For this year, Google goes with a lovely yet simple design.

2010 — United States

Last year saw a great Google homepage for the United States made up of quirky glass vases…

2010 — Global

…While the rest of the world enjoyed a tulip-themed effort.

2009

The logo was pretty in pink in 2009 with a lovely bunch of blooms making up the “l.”

2008

This sweet scene sees a mother duck and two chicks decorating the famous logo.

2007

Children’s hand-drawn pictures are a cute touch on 2007’s Mother’s Day Doodle.

2006

Google said it with roses and entwined “os” back in ’06.

2005

The search giant keeps the floral theme going in 2005.

2004

A single pink rose adorns 2004’s offering.

2003

Another Mother’s Day, another vase of posies, again neatly taking the place of the “l.”

2002

A single red rose was Google’s offering to moms everywhere in 2002.

2001 & 2000

The original Mother’s Day Google Doodle appeared in the year 2000 and remained unchanged the next year. It linked to a tribute page to the then Googler’s moms.

A Tribute to Our Moms

And here is a grab of part of that page, still live today at Google.com/moms. With the sweet statement that “no search could find better moms than these,” Google illustrated the lyrics of Howard Johnson’s song M-O-T-H-E-R with portraits. Aw!

More About: design, galleries, gallery, Google, google doodles, List, Lists, logo design, logos, mothering sunday, mothers day, trending

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Threadless is more than just a T-shirt company; it’s known for its culture of hipster-flavored creativity and its focus on great design.

In this video, we get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most important aspects of the Threadless website: the pics, man, the pics.

Far from being SkyMall-reminiscent catalog work (soccer mom hair and khaki pants all the way), the Threadless photos display real youngsters (employees and friends) in the Threadless office and around the headquarters’ Chicago neighborhood, goofing off in the company’s signature T-shirts.

In this interview with Threadless’s in-house photog Sean Dorgan and creative director Sean Donohue, PhotoShelter founder Grover Sanschagrin gets in-depth info on how, when and where Threadless’s eye-catching photography gets done. Ecommerce website designers, take note, and in the comments, let us know how you have handled or would advise clothing-store clients who need to uniquely display their wares.

More About: ecommerce, photography, threadless

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Happy Valentine’s Day to all you romantics out there! Google has set the mood on its infamously sparse homepage today with a brand new Google Doodle to mark this special day of lurve.

Google’s first Valentine’s-themed Doodle appeared way back in 2000, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to take a look back at the search giant’s efforts through the years.

Have a meander through the gallery below to see the evolution of Google’s V-Day Doodle over the past 11 years and let us know your favorite design in the comments.

2011

Pop artist Robert Indiana is the inspiration behind this year’s Doodle, with the search engine’s logo emulating Indiana’s iconic “love” sculpture.

2010

Last year Google pulled double duty with its Feb 14 logo. Marking both the Winter Olympics and V-Day, Google picked pairs skating as the sport to highlight with a heart carved in the ice to the right of the logo.

2009

Most of the world saw love birds perched on a gold band in 2009…

2009 (U.S.)

… While the U.S. got a decidedly more modern “X” and “O” to represent some hugs ‘n’ kisses.

2008

A sweet old couple holding hands appealed to your sense of romance in 2008.

2007

Google goes naughty and nice in 2007 with a chocolate dipped strawberry.

2005

Hearts and flowers in 2005 make a pretty twist on the classic logo.

2004

A year later and the Google vowels are puckering up for a smooch.

2003

Google integrated hearts as the “Os” in the logo to celebrate V-Day in 2003.

2001

Google stayed cute in 2001 with a teddy-themed doodle.

2000

Google chose a cutesy Cupid to grace its first ever Valentine’s Doodle in 2000


More Google Resources from Mashable:


HOW TO: Change the Google Logo to Your Favorite Google Doodle
10 Great Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses of Google [VIDEOS]
5 Must-See Google Easter Eggs
10 Must-See Google Street View Sightings
10 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Google

More About: gallery, Google, google doodle, valentine’s day, web design

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Everything is more fun when there’s a monkey involved. That’s just basically a fact. That’s why Paul Frank’s Julius Dance Machine is a must for your next wild party.

Paul Frank — oh! maker of colorful, neon things — partnered with audio manufacturer SpeakerCraft to create this little Zenned-out creature, which works with all iPod devices.

We had a chance to play around with the Dance Machine here at Mashable, and, honestly, the sound quality isn’t all that different than that of your average iPod dock (so if you’re an audiophile, this isn’t really for you).

No, aesthetics seem to be the bigger aim with this dock; designed so that Julius cradles the iPod in his lap and his ears function as the volume controls, this item is all about whimsy.

Julius features a rechargeable NiMH battery, which means you don’t have to tie the monkey down in order to listen to your jams, and it can play for up to six hours without needing another charge.

If you do decide to pick up this $99.95 creature, I suggest powering him up and unplugging him so he can join the dance party, which, naturally, should kick off with “Mickey’s Monkey” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.

Photos by Jehangir Irani

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Side

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More About: gadgets, ipod, music, paul frank, pop culture, tech




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Fans of the web’s snarkiest MC, rejoice! Daniel Tosh, host and brain behind Comedy Central’s tosh.0, has just launched a new site for all things “Tosh.”

The site, appropriately named “tosh.0 blog,” features a slew of interactive features like a caption challenge, “rename the video” challenge, an iPhone app and featured tweets from fans. More than just a rehash of the show, the site aims to extend Tosh’s typically snide, endearingly offensive commentary on the mishaps and happenings of digital pop culture.

The launch of the vertical is actually a big step for tosh.0, explained Steve Grimes, SVP of Comedy Central Digital. Grimes was quick to point out that the success of the show drove Comedy Central to give tosh.0 its own vertical, a distinction shared by a small number of the network’s most popular shows like The Colbert Report or South Park.

The tosh.0 blog has taken advantage of the web more so than its cohorts. “It’s the back and forth that we’re seeing between the show and the online experience,” Grimes said. “The fact that the blog is feeding the show and the show is feeding the blog.” Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the show is geared towards the digital crowd, regularly featuring viral clips and online celebrities. “We really felt that, more than any other show, tosh.0 is where the fans are a part of the show,” Grimes said.

While Tosh doesn’t write every single post on the site, Grimes assured me that Tosh does have a hand in developing the content, including a weekly live tweet of the show as it airs. This is part of a way to distinguish Tosh (Daniel) from the show (tosh.0) as separate but related entities. This was crucial while Tosh put the show on hiatus for a brief comedy tour. During that break, Grimes said traffic to the blog increased without it being featured on Comedy Central. Grimes said the show’s Facebook Page now receives between 10,000 and 15,000 new fans every day.

Fans of viral aggregation sites like thedailywh.at might find some similar concepts behind tosh.0 blog’s approach. It is set apart, however, by the distinctive voice of its comic-in-chief and a renewed emphasis on social media interaction.

The site still needs to work out a couple of kinks, but head on over and let us know what you think. Is this a big step for Tosh and Comedy Central, or just another TV show site? Should Tosh be writing all the content? Is that impractical? Let us know in the comments below.

More About: Comedy Central, daniel tosh, social media, television, tosh, tosh.0, video, website