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Bob Marley Hits Top 10 on Social 50 Chart for First Time

The late reggae star earned a boost from a new partnership with ESPN.

Bob Marley breaks into the top 10 on Billboard’s Social 50 chart for the first time this week. 

The Social 50 ranks the most popular artists on YouTube, Vevo, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Wikipedia, Myspace and Instagram. The chart’s methodology blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with artist page views, song plays and reactions as measured by music analytics company Next Big Sound.

This week, the reggae legend vaults from No. 34 to No. 9, off the strength of a new partnership with ESPN.

The television network began showcasing Marley’s music across all of its programming in July, and will make his catalog a major part of ESPN’s upcoming X-Games programming. The exposure has allowed Marley to ascend on the Social 50 for the second week in a row. His prior best ranking was No. 12 in June of 2011.


Marley has one of the largest followings of any posthumous musician. With 44 million Facebook fans, only Michael Jackson has a larger audience (61 million fans) among deceased artists. During the charting week that ended July 14, Marley experienced steady above-average audience growth across both Facebook and Twitter, accumulating 534,000 new fans on Facebook (a 75% increase) and 11,000 new followers on Twitter (up 14% from the previous week), according to data provided by Next Big Sound.

Meanwhile, Jay Z re-enters the Social 50 at No. 40, spurred by his impromptu Twitter Q&A on Monday, July 8.

As a star who remains fairly incognito on social media, his activity prompted a storm which resulted in huge increases in activity after he answered questions from over 100 fans. For the week, he gained over 143,000 followers on Twitter, 60,000 of which were on the day of his Q&A.

Also receiving a boost in the social tally is Britney Spears, who rises 22-8 to re-enter the top 10 leader board for the first time since the April 20 charting week (around the time when will.i.am’s album “#willpower” debuted, which featured his Spears collaboration “Scream and Shout”).

She rises this week with a 68% increase in views to her VEVO channel, thanks to the debut of her music video for “Ooh La Lah.” It helped her accumulate 17 million overall views for the week to her channel.

As for the rest of the top 10, Justin Bieber blocks Miley Cyrus from the top as he holds at No. 1, fending off a rising Cyrus (14-2). The latter surges thanks to the continuing popularity of her song and video for “We Can’t Stop.” Rihanna climbs 4-3 as Taylor Swift (2-4) and Beyonce (3-5) tumble. Jennifer Lopez ascends a position (7-6) over Justin Timberlake (5-7), and One Direction anchors the top 10 after experiencing a two position lift (12-10).