03 September 2010
Pop star Lady Gaga has become the most followed person on Twitter with over six million followers. The next closest person is Britney Spears with 5.8 million.
To put those numbers in context, the UK Prime Minister has about 1.7 million Twitter followers, Yoko Ono has about a million followers and Stephen Fry (who's used Twitter to connect to a whole new audience) reaches 1.7 million.
Lady Gaga was also the first to have over 10 million Facebook fans, and now has 16 million.
It shows how powerful a medium social networking can be for connecting artists with fans. I've been writing for some time about how you can promote your music on the internet. For a long time it was all about attracting listeners to your content. Now it's about seeding your content where the fans are already, so sites like Twitter and Facebook are key. For pop acts who want to reach more than just hardcore music fans, mainstream social networks are probably more important than places like MySpace and Last.fm which have a focus on music. But then the nature of your content has to change accordingly. It's about what you say and what you look like, and less about what you sound like. Attitude sells.
The other side of this is that fans can connect with their favourite acts without any filter now. Before artists started setting up their own websites, everything was filtered through the prism of music journalism. Now people can use sites like Twitter, as I explain in my social networking book, to keep in regular contact with artists. It's only 140 characters, so most artists update their own Twitter feeds, although a few delegate it to their staff.
Although there's some debate about the future of the music industry, these social networking statistics show that pop music still has the power to move the masses, more than any other artform. Whether that level of interest will translate into a sustainable business model remains to be seen.