Sam Smith Back Atop Billboard Artist 100

Austin Hargrave
Sam Smith photographed January 25, 2014 ar Siren Studios in Los Angels by Austin Hargrave.

Brit singer returns to No. 1, while Nicki Minaj blasts into the top 5.

Sam Smith remains the only artist to have led the Billboard Artist 100 chart for multiple frames (over the list's first six weeks), as he rebounds 2-1 for a third cumulative week at No. 1.

The list provides the first-ever weekly ranking dedicated to measuring artist activity across Billboard's most influential charts, including the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard 200 and Social 50, among others. The Artist 100 is modeled after the formula utilized to compile Billboard's annual Year in Music Top Artist list (as well as the Billboard Music Awards Artist of the Year category), blending information from album and track sales, radio airplay, streaming and social media fan interaction to provide a weekly multi-dimensional ranking of artist popularity.

The U.K. pop singer/songwriter returns to the top with radio airplay the biggest driver (30 percent) of his total chart points. Helping fuel his rank, his pleading love song "Stay With Me" rises 2-1 on Radio Songs with a 6 percent gain to 173 million in all-format audience, according to Nielsen BDS. 

Sam Smith Settles In For A No. 1 'Stay' On Adult Contemporary

With an identical 2-1 jump on Adult Contemporary, "Stay" reaches the summit in its 10th week, completing the quickest climb to the top for a debut hit (by an act in a lead role, and excluding holiday hits, which have their own sped-up seasonal timetable) since Bob Carlisle's father-daughter ballad "Butterfly Kisses" soared to No. 1 in just its third week on May 24, 1997.

Smith (who returns to reign despite a 5 percent drop in overall chart points) dethrones last week's Artist 100 leaders Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The band tumbles to No. 27, as its new album Hypnotic Eye deflates by 74 percent, to 34,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, in its second week. The set became the group's first Billboard 200 No. 1 last week.

MAGIC! Still No. 1 On Hot 100, Nicki Minaj Debuts

Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj vaults 17-3 for her first week in the Artist 100's top 10. Digital song sales account for the largest slice of her chart points (58 percent), led by "Bang Bang," with Jessie J and Ariana Grande, and her own "Anaconda," each of which sold approximately 141,000 in the week ending Aug. 10. The songs rank at Nos. 9 and 19 on the Hot 100, respectively. A fairly even split of airplay, social activity and streaming also contribute to her lofty leap.

Rounding out the Artist 100's top five, Iggy Azalea returns to her No. 2 peak (3-2), Grande holds at No. 4 and MAGIC!, atop the Hot 100 for a fifth week with "Rude," reverses course and returns to the region (7-5).