In an unprecedented move to recognize new and developing artists who do not have the volume of sales or airplay that have traditionally defined success, the all-new Billboard Uncharted ranking brings undiscovered talent to the revered Billboard charts for the first time. Launched today on Billboard.com, Uncharted gives a vast market of emerging talent the opportunity to be ranked and discovered. Billboard's Uncharted is part of its new Dreamseekers initiative that will include not only the Uncharted ranking but also Billboard Pro, a comprehensive tool to help artists manage and grow their online fan base.
Occupying the No. 1 slot on the inaugural Uncharted ranking is hip-hop solo artist Traphik, a Long Beach, California-based Thai-American rapper known for his comedic YouTube videos and rhymes. Other artists in the top five include DJ BL3ND, Colette Carr, Javier Jofre and the Deadlies.
With a universe of millions of artists creating and sharing their music on digital platforms to amass an audience, many are serious about a career but have not arrived on the mainstream music scene. They may not have a retail story or a radio story, but they have leveraged the Internet's powerful role in music consumption and have a noteworthy following. Uncharted is an artist discovery tool for the music industry's ecosystem of recording labels, talent management, concert promoters, music publishers, radio, film, television and advertising executives as well as passionate music fans.
"Uncharted is about launching careers. We want to serve as a conduit for artists to step onto a broader stage, ultimately topping one of the major Billboard charts," said Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde. "Record labels, publishers and other music companies are always looking for ways to make smarter bets on emerging talent, and we think the Uncharted ranking will be a significant tool for those who would invest in music."
The Uncharted ranking is based on Billboard's own Heat Score, a formula of online exposure incorporating streamed plays, page views and fans according to MySpace Music as well as sources tracked by online aggregator Next Big Sound, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, iLike and Wikipedia among others. Uncharted will capture 50 artists across various genres of music (i.e. Country, Rock, R&B/Hip-Hop, Latin, etc) who must be registered MySpace Music artists and have not previously appeared on specifically outlined Billboard charts (more than 80 overall) in order to be eligible.
Traphik landed in the #1 spot on Uncharted this week with more than one million YouTube views, 1262 MySpace Music plays, 1569 new Twitter followers and 3401 new Facebook fans. He attempts to break down stereotypes in his rhymes, especially of Asian Americans, for example from this verse in "First Asian Boy:"
Ahem, let me introduce
Myself cause I know that you ain't used
To an Asian dude stepping to you like me
But hey, give it a chance, I just might be
Just the refreshing squeeze of lemon
You need in yo life when it gets depressin'
Come with me and decrease the stressing
A new type of dude lemme teach ya a lesson
Billboard will champion its Uncharted artists through integration across many brand platforms, reaching industry influencers and millions of music fans:
--Dedicated editorial coverage in the magazine each month, including a breakdown of artists' performance on various online platforms
--A weekly column, "Uncharted Territory" on Billboard.com with features and background on the artists
--Links to listen to and purchase music by Uncharted artists on Billboard.com
For a list of all 50 artists on Uncharted visit www.billboard.com/uncharted.