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    Billboard to offer chart ranking tweets on music

    Collaboration follows demise of Twitter’s #Music

    The continuously updated chart on music tweets is set to begin in May.
    Reuters/File 2013
    The continuously updated chart on music tweets is set to begin in May.

    NEW YORK — Chatter about music is everywhere on Twitter. Soon there will be a Billboard chart to rank all of it.

    The two companies will announce a deal to create the Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts: continuously updated lists of the music that are being talked about and shared on Twitter in the United States. The charts, to be published on and through the publication’s Twitter feed, are expected to be introduced in May.

    “We have been looking for a way to do a real-time chart for some time,” said John Amato, co-president of the entertainment group of Guggenheim Media, a division of the private equity firm Guggenheim Partners, which owns Billboard. “We couldn’t think of a better way to do that than with Twitter.”


    The deal suggests an effort by Twitter to correct one of its rare public missteps: its #Music app, which was introduced with fanfare a year ago but quickly fizzled. The application was publicized as a way to rank the popularity of music on Twitter and for its users to find the music their friends were listening to. Music is the most discussed topic on the service, Twitter says; of its top 10 accounts, seven are those of pop stars.

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    But the app was unwieldy, and by last fall Twitter executives were admitting privately that a new approach was needed. Last week Twitter finally removed #Music from Apple’s App Store and said it would no longer work after April 18.

    Amato said the new chart would monitor “positive” mentions and filter out negative ones, although the methodology for doing this was not revealed. Billboard, the venerable music industry trade publication, has frequently modified its charts to reflect changes in technology and music consumption. Last year, for example, it began incorporating data from YouTube, which allowed Baauer’s ‘‘Harlem Shake” — a song with modest sales but a huge response online — to become a number one single.

    In a news release, the companies said the charts would include not only the top tracks by popular artists but also “the most talked about and shared songs by new and upcoming acts.’’

    For Billboard, the Twitter deal adds some Silicon Valley cachet as it tries to reinvent itself as a more consumer-oriented publication. Since Janice Min of The Hollywood Reporter took over the magazine in January, a changed Billboard has begun to take shape, with fewer gritty news columns and more space for celebrity and fashion coverage.


    For Twitter the partnership is also a chance to prove its value to the music business after the failed experiment of the #Music app. Bob Moczydlowsky, the company’s head of music, called the Billboard partnership “part of an ongoing effort to make Twitter the universal signal of real-time music measurement.”

    “We want music business decisions to be based on Twitter data,” Moczydlowsky added, “and we want artists to know that when they share songs and engage with their audience on Twitter, the buzz they create will be visible to fans and industry decision-makers.”

    Where the Billboard deal will lead Twitter is unclear. Eager to find ways to exploit its users’ passion for entertainment, Twitter has been increasingly looking to outside partners for help. Last month it announced a partnership with the music company 300, one of several music-tech deals recently that have focused on data as a way to seek out emerging talent.

    In another music-data deal announced Thursday, Songza, which makes thousands of ready-made playlists available for free listening, said it would work with the Weather Channel to customize playlists based on the weather.