We already know that in 2017, Lil Uzi Vert, Khalid and Kodak Black were a few of the top-performing new artists, based on sales, streaming, social activity and touring revenue. We also know that K-pop band BTS absolutely owned social media, topping the year-end Social 50 Artists chart. But who will be the names we’re talking about next December, who seemingly come out of nowhere and into the mainstream?
That’s what Next Big Sound’s charts try to answer. The Pandora-owned data analytics company has two charts that focus on up-and-coming artists with the Pandora Trendsetters chart and the Pandora Predictions chart. The Trendsetters chart lists the 20 emerging artists seeing the highest number of artist station adds on the platform, while the Predictions chart measures artists’ recent social growth to predict those who are likely to make their Billboard 200 debut in the next year. Charts update on Next Big Sound’s website on Fridays and on Billboard on Tuesdays.
Here’s some of the new faces on the Next Big Sound charts. Considering past charters have included the likes of Dua Lipa and Khalid, don’t be surprised if their names are everywhere next year.
Ten years ago, it would be rather unlikely that a musician residing in a rural town like Waynesboro, Pa. — population under 11,000 — would go on to become a major musical sensation, but Lil Skies is looking to step up to the plate. The rapper debuted on the Pandora Predictions chart on the tally dated Dec. 1 after his track “Red Roses” started going viral, and is currently No. 15 on the ranking.
The rapper born Kimetrius Foose’s social and streaming reach has grown exponentially in a very short amount of time. On Pandora, he’s seen a 600 percent increase in track station adds and a 550 percent increase in spins month on month. His weekly artist station adds are now well over 2,000, meaning it’s just a matter of weeks until he steps up to the Trendsetters chart, which ranks the up-and-coming artists seeing the highest number of artist adds on Pandora.
His social fanbase seems to be expanding most rapidly on Instagram, where in the past month he’s added over 120,000 followers. The music video for “Red Roses,” meanwhile, has racked up over 12 million views in less than two months.
If you tuned into the CMA Country Christmas special on ABC this year, you’d have seen performances from chart-topping country acts like Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson and Lady Antebellum. But in between the slew of big-name artists, you’d also have seen two baby-faced newcomers named Christian and Brody Clementi. The brother duo, which goes by CB30, debuted on the Predictions chart after buzz from the Nov. 27 special. After the show – during which they sang their own version of “The Christmas Song” – CB30 went from seeing one artist station add per week to around 300.
CB30 is still what Next Big Sounds considers Promising – the second of five artist stages based on audience reach. But they seem to be moving up quickly. This month compared to last month, the duo saw an increase in Facebook page likes of over 5,000 percent, an uptick in Twitter followers of over 2,300 percent and an increase in YouTube subscribers of 2,500 percent. And considering the duo plans to release its debut album next year, this good fortune could continue well after the holidays.
The second Lil on the chart is rising rapper Lil Baby, who comes in at No. 4 on the Dec. 8 Pandora Trendsetters chart. But unlike Lil Skies, Lil Baby isn’t exactly a dark horse. He grew up with Young Thug in the hip-hop hotbed of Atlanta, is signed to Quality Control – home of Migos — and already has collaborations with the likes of Quavo.
But the driving force in his recent upswing has been “My Dawg,” which is devoid of any of any high-profile collaborators. While the song has yet to break the Hot 100, it’s currently at No. 62 on Pandora’s Top Spins chart and is seeding 1,600 track station adds weekly on the platform. But there are signs that this isn’t a case of a one-hit wonder; Lil Baby’s artist station adds are heavily outpacing his track station adds. On top of that, other tracks off his <em>Harder Than Hard</em> mixtape – like the Lil Yachty-featuring “Sum More”– are quickly gaining spins on Pandora.
R&B singer IAMDDB is already on her way to household name status in her native U.K., recently making the longlist of BBC’s Sound of 2018 alongside Khalid and opened for Bryson Tiller in London (alongside SZA). Her streaming stats are starting to show serious potential for crossover. This month compared to last month, her Pandora artist station add have increased by nearly 150 percent. (Pandora is not available in the U.K.)
The trend holds up on social media, too. Over the past month, IAMDDB saw over 1,100 Twitter mentions in the U.K. As expected, U.K. leads in Twitter mentions, but she also managed to see more than half of that number – nearly 650 mentions – in the States. The Manchester native born Diana De Brito is currently at No. 10 on the Pandora Predictions chart.