Taylor Swift's Birthday Boosts Her to No. 1 on Social 50 Chart

 Diane Bondareff/Invision Exclusively for Billboard
Taylor Swift is presented with a birthday cake at the 2014 Billboard Women in Music Awards on Friday, Dec. 12.

It pays to have famous friends -- or, in Taylor Swift’s case, friends with large online followings who will tweet about attending your 25th birthday party.

An array of A-listers (like Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez, Lorde, Haim and more) did just that on the night of Dec. 13, spreading online birthday wishes and generating enough social buzz to send Swift to the No. 1 position on the Social 50 for the third time.

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The Social 50 ranks the most popular artists on YouTube, Vevo, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Wikipedia, Myspace and Instagram. The chart's methodology blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with artist page views, song plays and reactions as measured by music analytics company Next Big Sound.

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The last time Swift topped the Social 50 was in April 2013, the week following the Academy of Country Music Awards where she took a fan battling leukemia as her date to the show. While the weeks surrounding 1989’s release were peppered with appearances on just about every morning and late night television show (including The Ellen DeGeneres ShowGood Morning America and The Voice), Swift only managed to make it as high as No. 2, kept at bay by Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande who experience exceptionally high weekly gains.

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The celebrity chatter about Swift's helped cause a 117 percent increase in mentions of her handle in the week ending Dec. 14 (according to Next Big Sound). Swift was also retweeted over 280,000 times, a 22 percent increase in activity over the previous week. Swift's posts on Instagram -- which featured appearances by Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Jay Z -- received a staggering 10.8 million likes for the week, up 5.4 percent.

Elsewhere in the top 10, Grande slips 1-2, while Bieber climbs 5-3. Gomez and Nicki Minaj both descend one rung (down 3-4 and 4-5, respectively), while Katy Perry climbs two slots to No. 6. Beyonce and Demi Lovato both vault back into the top 10, as Bey zips 14-7 and Lovato runs 13-8. Rihanna (7-9) and One Direction (11-10) round out the top 10.

Farther down the chart, rapper J. Cole -- who debuts atop the Billboard 200 with 2014 Forest Hills Drive -- makes his Social 50 chart bow at No. 24. Cole debuts on the Social 50 primarily due to reaction on Twitter (up 131 percent in mentions for the week) and Wikipedia (up 76 percent).

J. Cole also garnered notice on the Billboard + Twitter Tracks chart, following his performance of the album's "Be Free" on the Dec. 10 edition of CBS' The Late Show With David Letterman. The song re-enters at No. 9 on the Dec. 27-dated list, just under another J. Cole track, "Apparently" (No. 8, the week's top debut).

J. Cole also set a new record on Spotify, where 2014 Forest Hills Drive receives the most first-week streams for any album in 2014 after receiving 15.7 million global streams in its debut week (according to data provided by Spotify). That beats the record previously set by One Direction, who received 11.5 million global first-week listens after their album Four was added to the platform in November. This accomplishment makes Drive the biggest debut for a hip-hop album on the platform in more than a year. On the On-Demand songs chart (where Spotify remains the biggest contributor), a total of seven tracks from the album debut on the Dec. 27-dated tally.


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