Today, Billboard and Twitter officially launch the Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts. These new, interactive charts are projected to redefine how fans interact with and influence popular content by ranking the most popular songs being shared on Twitter. The major goals of this initiative is to drive popularity and chart ranking.
The first of the real-time charts is the BillboardTrending 140, an up to the minute ranking of songs shared in the U.S., measured by acceleration over a sixty minute time frame and Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists chart which is a ranking of the most shared songs on Twitter in the U.S. by up-and-coming artists ranked by the number of times each song was shared over a 24 hour period. Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists is presented as a seven-day/weekly round up on Billboard.com and in print in Billboard.
According to Billboard, song shares are tracked and incorporated into the Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts by a variety of means such as, the use of, or the inclusion, a link to the song via music listening platforms, such as Spotify, Vevo and iTunes, various track sharing notations, such as the hashtags “#nowplaying” or “#np,” along with song/artist name and use of various terms associated with the song and song playing, such as “music,” “song,” “track,” “listen.” (Sounds like a new job opportunity for the semi-tech savvy)
The launch of these initiatives are touted as examples of Billboard staying at the forefront of tracking music consumption and continuing to empower music fans and consumers. Consistent placement in the high rankings of the real-time chart can help artists gain placement on the two weekly versions of the real-time charts, which will be found in print each week in Billboard magazine.
Ken Johnson, OM/Music Formats for Cumulus Birmingham states, “As PD’s, we can see what people are truly interested in and not what the label is pushing. It’s also another tool to see what people are gravitating towards musically and how artists are trending on social media platforms. As long as this new chart doesn’t integrate with the airplay chart, it’s a good thing.”
Singer/songwriter Avery Sunshine’s CD “The Sunroom” drops today. She shares, “It is amazing and encouraging that fans today are being empowered to have a major and direct impact on the charting of artists. The technology has allowed us artists to get closer to our fan base and dialogue with them in ways that were not previously possible. It is an exciting time.
George Littlejohn, Co-CEO of Purpose Music Group, a company that primarily works with indie artists such as Anthony David and Lil Jon Roberts says”I actually just found out about this minutes ago and my gut reaction is, it seems that the Billboard Twitter chart could be an opportunity for passionate fans to impact potential exposure for the artists they support. This might encourage fans to be more aggressive in their support realizing that an established brand like Billboard is taking notice.”
From an artist perspective, Ann Nesby (The Queen of Inspirational Soul), who’s new CD “Living My Life” drops on June 3 adds, “Let’s be real. One challenge is that we (as adults) don’t spend a great deal of time on social media, but the good part is that this can level the playing field for indie artists a bit more. The only thing that may be a drawback is of “paper” starts getting passed around to increase exposure of a song.”
With that said, is this a situation that will primarily benefit a certain segment of those who listen to, and have a true love for music? There’s no doubt, Pop, Country and Urban (mainstream) factions who primarily drive social media will probably see immediate results. Another faction that may benefit is the often ignored independent artists who communicate with their dedicated fans via multiple social media platforms. The $64,000 question is, will adult and classic formats enjoy the same outcome?