It's not just about popularity, but the mechanics of the modern record business.
What other acts could follow Beyonce and her surprise self-titled album release last December? Well, just about anybody. But who could do it and find tremendous success — like Beyonce? (2 million sold in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.) That’s a different story.
So, Billboard looked to its charts to determine the top five acts -- based on their weekly performance on the Billboard 200 albums chart and the Social 50 -- that could, effectively, pull a Beyonce.
We recapped the top artists on the weekly Billboard 200 going back five years, along with the top performing artists on the Social 50 (which measures the most active artists on social media) from the chart’s launch in December of 2010. Justin Bieber is the highest-ranked act on both recaps, followed by Taylor Swift. (They are two of five acts that are among the top 10 artists on both charts, followed by Eminem, Lady Gaga and Adele.)
The assumption is that the higher ranked the artist is on both chart recaps, the more likely they have a super-engaged online fan base that would purchase full albums (instead of individual tracks, or, opt for streaming songs).