Music Business

Billboard Adds Twitter Charts, Teaches You How To Game Them

Game-of-thrones-board-gameTwitter's own efforts in music haven't taken off but lots of music discussion and sharing happens on Twitter. So it makes sense that Billboard and Twitter would collaborate on charts to gauge shares and discussions of songs. But the concepts of sharing and discussing have been watered down by social media to mean links and references. And as the charts shift from tracking sales/downloads and radio plays/streaming to tracking more ephemeral actions, they become even easier to game. Bonus: Billboard shows you how!

Beyond the issue of gauging this or measuring that, Billboard's new Twitter charts are a great move in terms of creating entertaining content in the form of ever-changing lists of songs and artists. The integration of Spotify and a link to "play the chart," multiple marketing elements and links to tweet back out to Twitter make these charts a deceptively simple example of smart digital publishing.

Billboard Introduces "Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts"

Yesterday Billboard announced their new Twitter song charts:

image from"The Billboard Twitter Trending 140, which is exclusively presented by McDonald's, summarizes the songs that are being talked about in real-time on Twitter, measured by acceleration during the past hour. This chart can also be filtered to present a view of the most shared tracks over the past 24 hours, with a weekly summary presented in the Billboard Twitter Top Tracks chart, on and in print weekly in Billboard."

"The Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists chart, exclusively presented by Hollister, measures, in real-time, the songs by artists that are on the rise on Twitter –- those artists without a Billboard top 50-peaking song on the Hot 100 and fewer than 50,000 Twitter followers — based on the current total volume of track sharing over the past 24 hours. Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists is also presented as a seven-day/weekly round up on and in print in Billboard."

So not only are they introducing real-time elements to the charts on the site but also producing weekly summaries that fit their more traditional presentations of weekly updated charts online and in print.

Billboard's also basing a weekly video show helmed by editor-at-large Joe Levy focused on the Billboard Twitter Trending 140 chart.

Charts are sponsored and McDonald's is exclusively sponsoring the Billboard Twitter Trending 140 chart and is the sole or main sponsor of the related video program.

An additional marketing angle was a planned pop-up show in New York by Austin Mahone to "launch the charts" with the performance of a track off his upcoming EP.

Overall nicely done.

So Where Do We Learn To Game Billboard's Twitter Charts?

As is necesssary and expected, Billboard has a Twitter Real-Time Charts FAQ that explains more about what kind of tweets are counted for chart purposes:

How are songs shared and/or mentioned on Twitter?

Song shares are tracked and incorporated into the Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts by:

  • the use of, or the inclusion, of a link to the song via music listening platforms, such as Spotify, Vevo and iTunes.
  • the use of various track sharing notations, such as the hashtags “#nowplaying” or “#np,” along with song/artist name.
  • the use of various terms associated with the song and song playing, such as “music,” “song,” “track,” “listen.”

That may be a bit confusing so Billboard includes examples of tweets and estimates how likely they are to affect the charts.

But, like those anti-drug flicks they played at school that taught kids all the right terms and techniques for using drugs, this much-needed explanation also tells marketers exactly what to do to ensure that their tweets are more likely to be counted.

In addition, the charts themselves have links to post tweets on Twitter that, when hovered over, say "Tweet 'name of song' to help boost its rank." The resulting tweets include elements to ensure they're included in the counting.

Of course, one human's gaming is another human's influence.

So let the Billboard Twitter Real-Time Chart influencing games begin!

[Thumbnail: Cover image of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game.]


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) is also beta blogging at DanceLand. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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