Uncharted Territory: Traphik, Tyler Ward, Teen Hearts and More
Five weeks in, Southern California rapper Traphik is still not budging from the top spot of Uncharted, Billboard's weekly ranking of emerging artists who have yet to appear on a major Billboard chart but are mapping new territory in online fan engagement.
With more than 1.3 million YouTube channel views during the chart week, Traphik, who combines clever rap with vlogging and comedy sketches, exemplifies a winning model for the new music industry: producing regular, compelling content that extends beyond just recorded music into multimedia entertainment that viewers need to share.
However, Traphik's hold on the top spot doesn't mean that new, savvy artists aren't making their way onto high positions on the chart. Debuting last week at No. 12 and shooting up 10 positions to No. 2 is Banda Supertoy, a Brazilian pop-rock group who released a new EP at the end of January. Leveraging MySpace for the release, Supertoy earned more than 500,000 song plays over the week.
Debuting on Uncharted this week at No. 7 is Tyler Ward, the Denver-based singer/songwriter who played football for the U.S. Air Force Academy before he started writing and recording music. Also a fixture on Billboard's Social 50 chart, Ward has opened for acts including the Jonas Brothers and the Fray, and his strong YouTube following earned him more than 365,000 views for the week of videos including an acoustic cover of Katy Perry's "E.T.".
Also new to Uncharted this week at No. 11 is is Sungha Jung, a 14 year-old South Korean fingerstyle guitar prodigy. Jung taught himself to play guitar by watching internet videos, and earned more than 200,000 views on YouTube during the chart week for videos of his interpretations of songs including Bruno Mars' "Grenade" and ABBA's "Mamma Mia". Jung is preparing for a Japanese tour beginning in May.
After a few weeks near the top of Uncharted, California power-poppers Teen Hearts dropped out of the rankings, but squeak back on this week at No. 50 after their Feb. 11 release of EP "Maybe Someday". The band, which has been gaining attention in the online press, also just released a myRMX iPhone app allowing fans to remix their music.
We bid a farewell and good luck to two Uncharted bands who graduated onto other Billboard sales and airplay charts: The Pretty Reckless, fronted by Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen, debuted this week on the Billboard 200 at No. 65 and on the Rock Albums chart at No. 18 with "Light Me Up," and Mindless Behavior, a quartet of 13 year-old MCs who earned the top debut on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at No. 75 with "My Girl".
To discover new music and get a head start on following the careers of these emerging artists, find the rest of this week's chart on Billboard.com or in Billboard Magazine, and check in with Uncharted Territory every week for more.