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Artist Social Stages

Last Updated: Sep 02, 2016 02:35PM PDT
Artist Social Stages identify five common periods of development in artists’ careers. Social Stages are defined by the size of an artist’s social reach compared to typical reach values at common career milestones. You can use Artist Social Stages to compare artists to one another, to understand how well an artist is performing across social networks, and to know how well an artist is performing relative to other artists.

We rely on five core metrics to power our Artist Social Stages: Facebook Page Likes, Twitter Followers, Instagram Followers, YouTube or Vevo Video Views, and Pandora Artist Station Adds. Each Stage is associated with certain threshold values for each metric — for example, Mainstream artists have between 300,000 to 3,000,000 Instagram Followers. Artist Social Stages follow a first-across-the-finish-line methodology. As soon as one of the three social metrics crosses a threshold, the artist moves up into that Social Stage.

These thresholds are data-driven and are based on the overall distribution of artists in Next Big Sound across these metrics, so they change periodically. The thresholds set out below are approximate values to convey relative scale rather than precise values. 


Undiscovered Artists
90% of artists on Next Big Sound fall into this bucket of unsigned, under-the-radar talent.
  • Facebook Page Likes: Less than 1,600
  • Twitter Followers: Less than 550
  • Instagram Followers: Less than 3,000
  • YouTube or Vevo Video Views: Less than 40,000

Promising Artists
These artists are likely signed and working on their first major release.
  • Facebook Page Likes: Between 1,600 - 120,000
  • Twitter Followers: Between 550 - 50,000
  • Instagram Followers: Between 3,000 - 300,000
  • YouTube or Vevo Video Views: Between 40,000 - 14,000,000

Established Artists
These artists have likely made their first late-night TV appearance.
  • Facebook Page Likes: Between 120,000 - 1,000,000
  • Twitter Followers: Between 50,000 - 500,000
  • Instagram Followers: Between 300,000 - 3,000,000
  • YouTube or Vevo Video Views: Between 14,000,000 - 265,000,000

Mainstream Artists
A Mainstream artist has likely charted near the top of the Billboard 200.
  • Facebook Page Likes: Between 1,000,000 - 9,300,000
  • Twitter Followers: Between 500,000 - 4,800,000
  • Instagram Followers: Between 3,000,000 - 9,500,000
  • YouTube or Vevo Video Views: Between 265,000,000 - 1,150,000,000

Epic Artists
These artists have likely had multiple multi-platinum releases in the course of their career.
  • Facebook Page Likes: More than 9,300,000
  • Twitter Followers: More than 4,800,000
  • Instagram Followers: More than 9,500,000
  • YouTube or Vevo Video Views: More than 1,150,000,000

You can check out your Artist Stage here in our Taxonomy of Artists report. 
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