Machine Shop: Hype Machine Team Blog

The Interactive Twitter Music Chart

We’ve been frustrated by a few things about music charts recently.  One is the issue of chart integrity, the lines between manipulation & engagement and how to keep such a system honest while rewarding the right people.  Another is the terrible quality of most music services powered by Twitter.

Most of them have serious problems.  Some don’t reveal the methods or sources in which they’ve gathered their data, just publishing the chart and hoping people would buy it.  That prevents the web at large from auditing and finding errors in their methods and work.

Others don’t tell us anything new and don’t account for the social and interactive nature of Twitter, lumping it all together as ‘activity’.  So we end up with U2 as the top artist (or Michael Jackson, for the foreseeable future). Finally, the remaining set of tools just implements a file sharing layer on top of Twitter, then allowing others to search for uploaded media.

Given all this, we did what we usually do when there is music/web stuff out there that sucks: we built our own!

Check it out here: Twitter Music Chart

How does it work?
We monitor Twitter for links pointing to tracks on the Hype Machine.  We then give each of those tweets a number of points based on the number of followers (and the ratio of friends & followers) that person has. Finally, we add up all the points and figure out which tracks are tweeted by either the most influential twitter users, or by the largest group.  Simple.

Just tweet a link to any track on the Hype Machine and it will alter that track’s position in the chart. You can also check your Twitter score on the page to see how many points your tweet would add.  Try it!

How is this chart different?
Our interactive Twitter music chart addresses the problems we discussed above.  It’s easy to audit as you can see how many points were added by what users and when.  It also accounts for the social nature of Twitter by carefully weighing more influential users vs. groups of less influential users.  Finally, it presents an easily digestible overview of what’s going on in an interactive way. We welcome everyone tweaking and changing the chart with their tweets – that’s the point!

How is the Twitter user score determined?
We use a formula designed to spotlight tracks tweeted by influential Twitter users as well as those tweeted by groups of people overall.  Here is the actual formula:

round(( 1/3 * (twitter_followers / 10) ^ 0.5 ) * (twitter_followers / twitter_friends) * 10))

The follower/friends ratio in this case has a floor of 0.25 and a ceiling of 3.0 to limit certain extremes.  We really like the results we’ve been seeing with this approach, but we also know there are many serious math geeks out there.  If you have comments on creating a better formula that would better capture the different kind of tweeting activity, let’s chat.

Oh yeah, and one last thing: @hypem will now tweet whenever a new artist or track makes it to the top of any of our popular ranks, so follow us to stay in the loop.

Would love to know what you think!


Hype Machine indexes hundreds of music sites and collects their latest posts for easy streaming and discovery. We're here to help you find the best new music first.

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