I don’t think I really need to say it, but I will. Twitter. Is. Huge. Between celebrities, comedians, brands, nerds, jocks, average Joes, and even a politician or two, there’s not a place in the (real) world that boasts such a diverse population of people. OK, maybe Hollywood, but that’s about it.
While it seems like everyone nowadays has found a reason to share their thoughts, 140 characters at a time, there’s perhaps no group better “connected” than musicians. To put it in perspective, let’s take a look at the numbers. On TwitterCounter.com, a third party application for the popular social networking site, you can find a list of the Global Top 100 users based on number of followers, following, or tweets. Keep in mind, Twitter currently has more than 140 million active users.
Of the top 25 on the list of most followers (as of Sept. 16, 2012), a staggering 15 are prominent fixtures in the music industry, including seven in the top 10 alone. The three leading the global pack are Lady Gaga, who has long reigned as the unofficial Queen of Twitter with 29.5 million “Little Monsters,” teen heartthrob Justin Bieber (27.9), and spunky pop star Katy Perry (26.6). Now, there are obvious benefits to building a small army by way of social media, but has that translated into strong ticket sales?
In an interesting twist, the top three haven’t really been touring long enough to even warrant substantial statistics. In fact, according to annual worldwide tour data compiled by Pollstar, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber didn’t crack the top 50 highest grossing concert tours until 2010, while the following year proved to be lucrative for all three, as the trio finished in the top 25.
Over the past four years, while many artists were busy amassing enough digital followers to rival the population of some countries, U2 and Bon Jovi were out raking in some serious dough, in the flesh. The two shared highest grossing tour honors during that span, with U2 claiming the top spot in 2011 and 2009 and Bon Jovi in 2010 and 2008.
They’re arguably two of the biggest and most successful bands of all time, yet neither of their “official” Twitter accounts even comes close to a million followers, let alone the numbers of Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. There are several possible reasons for this, but I suspect it’s mostly because of the major age difference in fan bases, which in turn would affect the number of social media users an artist has.
Since 2012 is too early to come to any concrete conclusions, I think it’s the perfect time to make a prediction for the next decade. Pollstar’s top tours for the first 10 years of the 21st century were: Dave Matthews Band, Celine Dion, Kenny Chesney, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Eagles, Elton John, and Jimmy Buffett. I’d be willing to bet this list for the next decade will more closely resemble the top 10 musicians with the most Twitter followers, which means that list will include: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Shakira, Nicki Minaj, Justin Timberlake, and Selena Gomez.
I guess only time will tell.
Amy is a copywriter at Vivid Seats, one of the largest secondary marketplaces for fans to buy or resell tickets to their favorite sports, concerts, and theater events worldwide.