Bob Dylan Is the Oldest Artist to Chart on Social 50

Bob Dylan performs at Bayfront Festival Park
AP Photo/Duluth News, Clint Austin

Bob Dylan performs at Bayfront Festival Park on July 9, 2013 in Duluth, Minn.

Dylan is one of a handful of over-50 acts who have landed on the youth-driven chart.

Glancing at the Social 50 chart each week reveals that the artists on the list tend to skew young. For example, the oldest artist in the top 10 on the latest chart, dated Oct. 29, is Beyonce at 35 years old.

That’s not surprising, since younger acts tend to be more fervent users of social media -- which powers the Social 50. (The Social 50 is powered by data tracked by music analytics company Next Big Sound and ranks the most popular artists on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud, Wikipedia, Instagram, Tumblr and Vine. The chart's methodology blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with artist page views and engagement.)

Further, artists who are over 50 tend to only appear on the chart because of online buzz about their deaths, rather than, say… their Twitter usage. Bob Dylan bucks that trend, as the 75-year-old debuts at No. 40 on the chart -- becoming the oldest living solo artist to reach the tally. His bow comes after he was named the newest recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature on Oct. 13.

The chief source of his chart points come from views to his Wikipedia page, with 611,000 total views earned in the tracking week ending Oct. 16, according to Next Big Sound, though the singer also received 42,000 Twitter mentions.

Dylan is one of only a handful of soloists to reach the Social 50 chart over the age of 50 while still alive. Previous to Dylan, the over-50 Social 50 crowd included David Bowie (in 2013 -- three years before he died), Susan Boyle, Juan Luis Guerra, Madonna and “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Meanwhile, in 2016 alone, an array of acts over 50 made their maiden appearances on the chart, but only after their deaths. Among them: Glenn Frey, Prince, Merle Haggard, Natalie Cole and Juan Gabriel.


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