When Kendrick Lamar performed on one of the last episodes of The Colbert Report in December, he debuted an "untitled" song. That track still hasn't been named or released officially. It's not streaming on Spotify. But the conversation surrounding Lamar's performance shot that unnamed song to No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140.
The Billboard + Twitter Real Time Charts are designed to capture the most talked about songs in music right now. Often, these songs are remixes, live versions and covers that sometimes never see an official release.
Today, in order to make the Billboard + Twitter charts a more engaging experience for music fans, Billboard has integrated the music streaming aggregator Bop.fm into the charts. Bop.fm will power playback for the diverse and constantly shifiting ranking of the most shared and mentioned songs on Twitter by pulling from multiple different music sources.
"The Hot 100 itself is not going to have everything available on Spotify or Rdio," says Bop.fm co-founder Shehzad Daredia, citing Taylor Swift and Beyonce as examples of artists witholding or windowing their music from streaming services. "For Real Time, that is even more prevalant," he adds.
The Y-Combinator-backed startup plays music from the best available source, including YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Soundcloud, Deezer, Rhapsody, Xbox Music and Beats Music. This allows consumers to enjoy music in the quickest and easiest way, regardless of the platform. "We do all the heavy lifting under the hood and just expose the nice clean song," Daredia told Billboard in a prior interview.
Daredia cites DJ Earworm's yearly "United States of Pop" mashup as an example of a popular track that will likely never be released commercially because of the samples, but is available to stream on YouTube and Soundcloud (the 2014 remix reigned at No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists chart for several days in December).
The integration of Bop.fm onto the charts will also help facilitate discovery of new artists. The Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists chart (which features artists with fewer than 100,000 Twitter followers who have also not appeared as a lead artist in the top 50 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 or in the top 50 of the Billboard 200) is often full of unfamiliar names. By integrating a universal play button, fans will be able to quickly listen to new songs directly from the chart. "That [Billboard] even has a chart like that is such a testament to looking out for up-and-coming artists," says Daredia. The Emerging Artists chart has featured songs by artists from Ryn Weaver to Bobby Shmurda, before they comercially released any music.
Bop.fm recently launched a mobile app (with over 50,000 downloads in the first few weeks) and saw song plays through Bop increase 111% month over month in February. The company's investors include Charles River Ventures and Y Combinator.