Niall Horan Makes History as First Artist to Debut at No. 1 on Social 50 Chart

Niall Horan
Meeno Peluce

Niall Horan

The former One Direction member’s solo start sends him right to the top.

Niall Horan’s solo career isn’t even a week old, and he’s already making a huge splash. The singer debuts at No. 1 on the Social 50 chart (dated Oct. 15), becoming the first artist to ever enter at the summit, dating back to the chart’s 2010 inception.

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, Wikipedia, Tumblr and Vine. The chart's methodology blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with artist page views and engagement. (The Oct. 15-dated chart will refresh to Billboard’s websites on Oct. 4.)

Horan’s debut comes on the heels of his first solo release, “This Town.” The track was released on Sept. 29 to digital retailers and streaming services. Horan also premiered a recorded “1 Mic, 1 Take” video performance of “This Town” on Vevo and YouTube.

Earlier in 2016, Horan's former One Direction bandmate Zayn opened at No. 3 on the Social 50 chart (dated Feb. 13), and peaked at No. 2 the following week. Like with Horan, Zayn’s start was due to the proper launch of his solo career, with the single “Pillowtalk.” (The remaining three members of One Direction – Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson -- have yet to chart as individuals.)

Niall Horan's 'This Town' Debuts Atop The Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 Chart

As a group, One Direction ruled the Social 50 for eight nonconsecutive weeks, the last of which came in a three-week stretch in August and September of 2013. After Zayn departed the group in March 2015, the band announced they would take an “extended hiatus” in August of that year, following the November release of their fifth album, Made in the A.M.

While Horan takes the crown on the Social 50, “Town” is off to a fast start on the Billboard Hot 100. The single debuts on the ranking at No. 63, with only one day of sales and streaming tallies and four days of radio airplay within the tracking frame. (The sales and streaming periods ended Sept. 29, the same day the song was released, while the radio period for the chart closed on Oct. 2.) “Town” also begins at No. 6 on the Digital Song Sales chart, selling 48,000 downloads in its first day.


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