Marketing Achievement

Published on April 25th, 2011 | by Hugh Hession


Tracking up and coming artists with Billboard’s Social/Streaming charts

Bending the ear of the music industry used to be narrowly defined around album sales. An act that could sell 5,000 units and above would normally garner attention. I know this from personal experience. As we all know, file-sharing and loss-leader tactics from big box retail changed the attitudes of what music consumers were willing to pay for music. There is a significant differentiation between the record business and the music business. The first being virtually obsolete, the latter being re-positioned to reflect the entire entertainment value of a music artist. It’s no longer solely about album sales. That has become a secondary component of the artists entire positioning.

Although there are a variety of ways that the music industry tracks up and coming artists, Billboard Magazine is the industry barometer that tracks the success of an artist through radio airplay and sales as measured by Nielsen BDS and Soundscan. To an aspiring artist trying to get in the draft gap of the majors – charting in Billboard was nearly impossible in the past.

Nowadays, Billboard tracks the success of music artists and bands not only through radio airplay and album sales, but also monitors fan activity over all major media social music sites and online streaming through their Social/Streaming charts. These charts level the playing field for indie artists, giving you the ability to compete with the majors provided the numbers are there. Yeah, I know it’s still not easy, but at least now, it’s possible.

The Next Big Sound, a website that tracks fan activity and metrics across all social media platforms, plays a major role in the monitoring of these charts. They give statistical support to the Uncharted Top 50, The Social 50 and especially, the Next Big Sound 25, which shows what they term “the fastest accelerating artists during the past week, across all major social music sites, statistically predicted to achieve future success.”

(Speaking of success, a site that is getting industry buzz (particularly from NBC’s The Voice), is TalentWatch. As the new Music Industry Liaison for the company, I believe that it’s going to have significant impact on the discovery of new, up and coming music artists of all ages).

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About the Author

owns and operates Emerging Artists Entertainment Marketing & Consulting, LLC - a company devoted to cultivating aspiring music artists, He is also the head of Hession Entertainment Group, LLC (artist management) and the Music Industry Liaison for the artist discovery site, TalentWatch ( He has over 25 years experience in the music business as a performer, composer, producer and artist manager. Hugh holds a BA in Marketing and is a professional member of NARIP and a voting member of The Recording Academy. He often speaks at seminars and workshops on artist development.

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