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One Direction Nips at Justin Bieber's Heels on Social 50

Diana Levine
7:04PM: The boys walk backstage at the mall to take a break between signings.

The five piece juggernaut that is Britain's One Direction is unwavering in its march up the Billboard Social 50 chart. Striding to two spots to No. 2 this week, the group is now nipping at the heels of the social king himself, Justin Bieber (No. 1). One Direction has yet to hit the top of the Social tally, but has swiftly moved 6-4-2 in the past three weeks.

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The Social 50 chart ranks the most popular artists on YouTube, Vevo, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, using a formula that blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with weekly artist page views and weekly song plays.

A litany of buzzworthy activity following the group's "Saturday Night Live" performance on April 7 launched One Direction into a very active week. On April 12, the group announced via a YouTube video (370,000 views and counting) a 2013 North American Tour. Tickets go on sale April 21. In the clip, Harry Styles urged fans who want to get their hands on tickets before anybody else to keep an eye on One Direction's Facebook page. No surprise, the group gained 341,908 Facebook fans (58% over last week) during the charting week, bringing their total audience on Facebook up to a 4.7 million.

The decision to reveal its tour to fans through a video and over Facebook is consistent with the band's promotional strategy that relies heavily on using videos to communicate to fans and social platforms to spread the message.

On April 13, the act posted an interview with "first verse man" Liam Payne (400,000-plus views on YouTube), who talks about what it's like to perform in front of millions of fans and offers a tip to aspiring performers, "don't forget the words!"

One Direction's 74% increase in overall social activity from the previous charting week was due in part to a 150% increase in YouTube views (no doubt due to the releases already cited above), a 19% jump in VEVO plays (the band's channel that features official videos, clips and interviews) and a 20% rise in Twitter followers.

Elsewhere on the Social 50, Tiesto re-enters the chart at No. 44 as a surge in social activity surrounds the release of his new album "Club Life - Volume Two Miami." The teaser for the album's first single, a remix of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" was released on April 14. The single was released exclusively through Beatport on April 16 and on iTunes the next day. Beatport is a community-driven music listening and discovery platform that focuses on electronic dance music. The platform has risen to popularity since its launch in 2004 with the increasing rise in popularity of electronic dance music in America.

Wiz Khalifa jumped from No. 36 to No. 32 after a 62% increase in overall social activity from the previous charting week. His social jump was spurred by collaborations with Chris Brown and Maroon 5. On April 11 Brown debuted a new single entitled "Til I Die" that features Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa on SoundCloud. Then, five days later, Khalifa appeared on NBC's "The Voice" with Maroon 5 and debuted their collabo, "Payphone," which will likely make impact Khalifa and Maroon 5 on next week's Social chart.

Chris Brown, however, despite releasing two new singles -- "Sweet Love" and "Til I Die," experienced a drop on the Social 50 this week from No. 16 to No. 19.

Back in the top 10 of the Social 50, Rihanna remains steady at No. 3 as Adele jumps 8-4 while LMFAO falls 2-5. Katy Perry slips 5-6 as Skrillex climbs from 10-7. Nicki Minaj drops from 7-8, a drop that will likely continue into next week due to the artist deleting her Twitter account this week. Gaga experiences a decline from 6-9 and Taylor Swift drops one spot moving 9-10.