A Step in the Right Direction

I do a lot of talking about the Billboard charts and I am a person who questions their current formula for determining what is a hit song. Times are changing so rapidly. The current formula still puts a large focus on radio, because according to Nielsen research 91% of people are still listening to the radio (though mostly in the car). I don’t know how accurate that is but satellite radio has been big business for quite some time.  How much does XM and Sirius and webradio like Pandora factor into the current formula? I have no clue because Billboard doesn’t really make their sources easily available & they don’t show their numbers either. So, I still have a lot of criticisms when it comes to how Billboard figures out what a #1 is.

Today, Billboard has added a new chart to their listings and I must say that it’s a step in the right direction. The chart is called the Social 50. It ranks artists (not songs) by their web presence. The formula measures new followers to their social media pages; weekly song plays and page views. And the best part is that it uses Next Big Sound. NBS is very clear about where it gets its info. I can go to the NBS website and clearly see they use Last.fm, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and iLike. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s clearly a great step to really figuring out what a hit record is in this day and age.

For instance, who is Christina Grimmie? The Social 50 ranks her right alongside Usher, Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson. She doesn’t have any “hit records” but she has a huge internet fan base (and a pretty good voice, I have to say). People are listening to this girl on YouTube. If she has a song that gets thousands of views in a week, that fits the definition of a popular song. But it’s not a conventional release….but we are in an unconventional time. The Social 50 is going to make things interesting in the land of Billboard.

The Social 50: http://www.billboard.com/charts/social-50?tag=chscr1

Next Big Sound: http://www.nextbigsound.com/


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