In recent months, many popular artists have struck like bolts from the blue, popping up suddenly on platforms like TikTok. Chartmetric, the music data and analytics company committed to inspiring creativity, wants to show the whole backstory.
To find these trending artists’ tracks right as they take off, the company has created a new weekly TikTok Chart. Among other key features, the chart lets users search by velocity (how fast a track is gaining traction) and by rankings that extend deep into the leaderboard (down to the 1000th-ranked track). That allows the chart to reveal not just the same big names for weeks, but the substrate of fast-breaking new artists who are winning over TikTok influencers and active users alike.
“So many up-and-coming artists who become super popular seem to appear quite suddenly to outsiders, but in many cases, they were not overnight successes,” explains Chartmetric founder and CEO Sung Cho. “You can see that there’s a story, a buildup to their success. The artists on this chart didn’t come out of nowhere. All biggest stars may dominate the top of other charts, but you’ll find many artists right below, millions more. We wanted to show what’s happening for those millions more dynamically.”
TikTok is characterized by a viral pick-up on new trends and tracks that fit the spirit of the moment, regardless of their release date, language, or popularity on the radio or big playlists. A song with the right lyrics or feel can zip from obscurity to millions of TikToks with remarkable speed.
“On TikTok, the artists benefit, but it’s all about the users and what suits their goals, whether it’s getting laughs or nailing the dance they want to do,” says Jason Joven, Chartmetric’s Content and Insights Manager. “Old music is as popular as new music.”
Other platforms and services, like most labels, highlight new releases from top artists as their first priority. But not TikTok, Joven points out, which surfaces tracks of all kinds, including a Kane Brown ballad that couples began using as a soundtrack to aerial gymnastics routines and a vintage Harry Belafonte track that’s become popular among joke-telling TikTokers, both of which popped up on Chartmetric’s radar as they put together their bi-annual report late last year.
In catching these unexpected meteoric rises right as they happen, Chartmetric’s chart reflects the company’s overall commitment to presenting data dynamically and creatively, finding the signal in the noise generated by music consumption, social media, and UGC video. Cho, Joven, and team are as scrappy as many of the influencers and artists they monitor, drawing on Silicon Valley’s rigorous experimentation and using data in ways that both harness and unleash creativity. Bringing a fresh tech approach to the industry’s chaotic data, Chartmetric has worked to let the data speak in ways meaningful to artists and other stakeholders.
“We like to say we’re taming data to keep artists from having to deal with a dozen open browser tabs and dashboards, a nightmare of spreadsheets and notes and other distractions from core tasks,” states Joven. “We want to unearth actionable insights by connecting numbers to narratives.”
The numbers are shifting rapidly on the platforms that matter most, and as artists double down on TikTok, the trends and insights will be all the more important. “TikTok is a dynamic platform, and we wanted to capture that side of the platform more accurately. We wanted it to be easy to learn and to explore the energy and trends,” explains Cho. “We’ve always cared about the dynamic nature of data.”