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Billboard tracks artists' social-media popularity

Billboard has added a new chart to track an artist's popularity by examining their fans and followers on several different social networks.

The first Social 50 music chart from Billboard.
The first Social 50 music chart from Billboard
Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Billboard has unveiled a new chart, the Social 50, that ranks artist popularity on social media. To calculate the 50 most popular artists each week, Billboard uses the number of weekly additions or subtractions in followers, as well as page views and song plays on artist pages on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, iLike, and YouTube.

Billboard Chart director Silvio Pietroluongo said in a statement today that the goal of the Social 50 is to provide users with information about "the artists that music fans engage with the most in the social arena, which in today's world is a significant validation of their investment in an act."

Rihanna tops the inaugural Social 50 chart, with Justin Bieber, Eminem, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj rounding out the top five.

Billboard has been in operation for 116 years. And over much of that span, the company has been the go-to place for determining the top songs, artists, and acts in the country. But in recent years its influence has arguably waned, as Apple's iTunes store has become the top place in the U.S. to buy music. Users shopping on iTunes can simply look at the store's best-selling titles to see what's hot at any given time.