music image

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