Ariana Grande is the top artist in the U.S. this week, as she vaults 4-1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart, marking her first week atop the ranking. She also becomes the first female artist to lead the list.
The Artist 100 (which launched six weeks ago) provides the first 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.
Grande takes over at the Artist 100 summit with a 54 percent surge in overall points, and with digital song sales the biggest driver (47 percent) of her total weekly activity. She boasts three songs in the Digital Songs chart’s top six: “Bang Bang” (with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj; 131,000 sold in the week ending Aug. 17, according to Nielsen SoundScan); “Break Free” (featuring Zedd), which blasts 14-4 with a 54 percent gain to 116,000 after its video premiered on Aug. 12; and “Best Mistake” (featuring Big Sean), which bows at No. 6 with 104,000 sold in its first week.
Grande is the only woman to claim three of the top six titles on Digital Songs simultaneously, and the first artist to manage the feat since Michael Jackson following his death in 2009. She also rebounds 15-11 on Digital Songs with her former three-week No. 1 “Problem” (featuring Iggy Azalea) (83,000, up 12 percent).
A fairly even split of streaming, radio airplay and social activity follow Grande’s song sales, with sales of her nearly year-old debut album Yours Truly rounding out her points total. Her second album, My Everything, arrives Monday(Aug. 25). (The standard edition features all of the songs above except for “Bang Bang”; the deluxe version includes the triple-diva treat.)
Grande’s ascent pushes Sam Smith 1-2 on the Artist 100 (down 4 percent in overall points). He remains the only artist to have led the list for multiple weeks (three) so far. (The Artist 100 leaders in addition to Grande and Smith since the chart’s launch: Trey Songz, 5 Seconds of Summer and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, all of whom nabbed a week on top.)
Azalea (2-3; up 3 percent) and Luke Bryan (7-4; up 6 percent) follow, with Meghan Trainor splashing into the top 10 with a 13-5 vault (up 30 percent). Her debut hit “All About That Bass” roars 4-2 on the Hot 100, and the song’s sales account for the greatest portion (71 percent) of her Artist 100 points sum. The track tops Digital Songs for a second week with 239,000 sold (up 21 percent). It’s won the Hot 100’s top Digital Gainer award for a record five consecutive weeks.
The song’s streaming marks her next greatest points contributor (17 percent), followed closely by airplay (11 percent). With Trainor not having yet released a major-label album, a relatively nominal amount of growing social buzz completes her Artist 100 profile in the tracking week.
Farther down the Artist 100, Taylor Swift makes a noteworthy re-entry at No. 69 (her highest rank so far). Radio airplay, mostly for her new single “Shake It Off,” contributes 40 percent of her chart points, after the song drew 29 million in all-format audience in its first two days of availability (Aug. 18-19). Unsurprisingly, given her prominent place in pop culture, social activity is her next-best Artist 100 metric (32 percent).
Swift should soar to the Artist 100’s upper ranks next week once a full week of sales, streaming and airplay factor in. According to industry sources, “Shake” could sell a hefty 425,000-450,000 downloads in its first week.
View the complete Billboard Artist 100 chart here and in the new issue of Billboard magazine (dated Aug. 30), on sale on Friday (Aug. 22).