Judging artists by their social media numbers isn’t a new idea, right from the days when A&Rs and radio playlist bosses demanded to know how many MySpace fans bands had before seeing them as worth a punt. Since then, we’ve moved through metrics including Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube views / subscribers, and SoundCloud listens / followers, to name but a few. Now venture capitalist Fred Wilson has caught on to the idea, after discussing a hip-hop artist’s SoundCloud count with his son’s friends. “For emerging artists, follower counts on the platform of choice for their media type might be the most important metric to asses the state of their career,” suggests Wilson. “Under the radar means less than 1000 followers. Emerging means 1000 to 10,000 followers. Breaking out means 50,000 to 100,000 followers. More than 500,000 followers and you have arrived. More than 2.5mm followers and you are a superstar. Something like that. Maybe follower counts are the new Billboard, Variety, etc of the entertainment and media business.”

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