Your Take: Uncharted Territory

Karlie Justus Marlowe | January 22nd, 2011

In Friday’s News Roundup, Brody featured a new Billboard chart called – ironically – Uncharted.

The new chart is meant to bring attention to artists not on any other Billboard chart, and was launched on Thursday. Here’s more info from the Billboard website:

With a universe of millions of artists creating and sharing their music on digital platforms to amass an audience, many are serious about a career but have not arrived on the mainstream music scene. They may not have a retail story or a radio story, but they have leveraged the Internet’s powerful role in music consumption and have a noteworthy following. Uncharted is an artist discovery tool for the music industry’s ecosystem of recording labels, talent management, concert promoters, music publishers, radio, film, television and advertising executives as well as passionate music fans.

The Uncharted ranking is based on Billboard’s own Heat Score, a formula of online exposure incorporating streamed plays, page views and fans according to MySpace Music as well as sources tracked by online aggregator Next Big Sound, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter,, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, iLike and Wikipedia among others. Uncharted will capture 50 artists across various genres of music (i.e. Country, Rock, R&B/Hip-Hop, Latin, etc) who must be registered MySpace Music artists and have not previously appeared on specifically outlined Billboard charts (more than 80 overall) in order to be eligible.

Rapper Traphik kicked off the rankings, debuting in the top spot. Additionally, the artists featured will receive editorial coverage in the Billboard magazine, a weekly online column and more. 

Since this new tool is all about artist discovery, give us your take: How do you find new country artists? Do you rely on word of mouth, MySpace or the radio?

What do you think about this new chart? Will it help you find new artists?

  1. Jon
    January 22, 2011 at 11:16 am

    must be registered MySpace Music artists


  2. Fizz
    January 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Isn’t this Uncharted chart just an expansion of what the Heatseekers chart already tries to do?

    The Internet has been the best thing to happen, as far as broadening my musical tastes and allowing me to explore things I would never have heard of if I remained a slave to the radio. And tha tgoes pretty much all across the board, from bluegrass to death metal. People like to gripe and groan about how ‘there’s no good music anymore,” which is such crap. It’s out there! Tons of it! You just have to get off your ass and find it. You can’t count on it being delivered into your lap anymore.

  3. Noeller
    January 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I work very closely with a lot of Indie Canadian Country acts, helping to promote their music, and I’m very intrigued by this.

  4. Stormy
    January 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    At this point I think a You-Tube based chart would be more useful than a Myspace based one.

  5. Stephen H.
    January 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    MySpace still exists?

    I assume that requirement has at least partial rooting in News Corp. owning MySpace as well as broadcasting the Billboard Music Awards through Fox.

  6. Thomas
    January 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    …basically any medium helps to discover new things. some are just more “avantgarde” than others. i think this chart is a good and rather consequent answer to the changing environment that music publishing and distribution faces these days. whether it should heavily rely on “myspace” or another channel is debateable. a weighted mix of the most popular channels might be a more even solution.

    personally, i live to far away from the source in order to be an early adopter. new artist usually only show up on my radar, when they’ve already reached a certain level of popularity. since one can always go back to their beginings, if one starts liking a newcomer, i couldn’t care less about being among those, who always knew it…
    and thanks to stormy, i know that neko case exists.

    last week, i clicked on the youtube clip of “the trishas” here on this site – that was a discovery for me. why these women aren’t any more well-known is beyond me. perhaps this new chart will do the trick and change that.

  7. luckyoldsun
    January 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    This uncharted chart is a great idea. I predict it will do so well that next year, Billboard will introduce an un-uncharted chart for all those great artists who do not make the charts or the uncharted chart.

  8. Michael Stover
    January 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Capital-raising scheme by financially strapped MySpace and also-struggling Billboard? You be the judge…

  9. Rick
    January 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    They should divide the “Uncharted Chart” into broad musical genres rather than as a one size fits all special. If they had one just for “Country and Americana” artists I might check it out.

    Facebook needs to set up music players just like MySpace features so that MySpace can fade completely away.

    As for finding new music I really like, its primarily through listening to radio shows over the air or online. Also I have online music buddies who share great new artists and songs they’ve discovered with me. Eddie Stubbs played the Nora Jane Struther’s song “Cowgirl Yodel # 3″ on his WSM show recently and the song literally knocked me off my chair! That doesn’t happen very often, but I sure like it when it does! (lol)

  10. WAYNOE
    January 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Is this the same thing as the UFL or XFL or whatever ?FL was to NFL? If these artists, many which are very good by the way, do not garner the wherewithall to be mainstream and popular (though I do not like to say it), then where will the following be for the new chart?

    In other words, except for the faithful few, who the heck cares?

  11. Dan Milliken
    January 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Sounds like Billboard got spooked by intelligence of the Ultimate Chart. Rightfully so.

  12. Stormy
    January 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Thomas: Check out Neko’s partners in crime Carolyn Marks and Kelly Hogan.

  13. Jon
    January 23, 2011 at 7:53 am

    At this point I think a You-Tube based chart would be more useful than a Myspace based one.

    Looks like someone didn’t bother to read the description of the new chart before commenting on it.

  14. Vicky Dobbin
    January 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

    It is so hard to find new artists. There aren’t many venues in my area for small acts so I don’t get to see anyone new unless they’re opening for a larger act.

    One of the reasons I love the annual CMA Fest in Nashville is because I get to see so many artists I’ve never heard of. But obviously even the artists playing the smaller stages are already signed and being promoted.

  15. Jonathan
    January 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I usually find out about new country artists from sites like this one and Country Universe. I don’t read Country Weekly anymore which is where I went in the past.

    The other place is Sirius/XM’s The Highway – they play new artists all the time.

    But beyond that, it’s hard to find out about newcomers these days. Especially the really good ones like Ashley Monroe who aren’t rushing up the charts with their singles and albums. In cases like that, year end countdown charts come in handy. If an album or song I hadn’t previously listened to garners high praise, I”m more than likely to check it out.

  16. Amanda
    January 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I’ll definitely use the chart to find new things to listen to. I constantly have music going while I’m at my desk at work, in the car, at night when TV bores me… and it’s so easy to get bored with radio and your usual suspects for artists.

    As far as finding new artists go… I tend to find them by reading blogs, twitter, and word of mouth. Getting lost in the YouTube path of random link clicks also helps occasionally. I will look at iTunes’ lists of recommendations, ‘what we’re listening to’, ‘Rising Stars’ and other things to find names I haven’t heard of.

    Does anybody use iLike? I found it just cumbersome after awhile since I had it linked to my itunes player. it was just taking up too much space on my screen and after awhile it wasn’t giving me any new information I didn’t already have from other sources.

  17. Stormy
    January 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Jon: I was talking about a You-tube based chart, that only uses You-tube.

  18. Fizz
    January 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Haven’t been on there in a while, but if anybody is familiar with CD Baby, that’s a pretty handy source. Basically, they’re a distributor of independent music, and at least used to have a neat little search feature where you could put in the name of a well-known artist and come up with a bunch of results, similar but much less well-known artists. Their song samples used to be two minutes long, so you could get a really good feel for what something sounded like before you bought it, but I think they’ve since trimmed that down to the usual 30 seconds. You can still kill a couple hours fiddling around on that site, though.

  19. Thomas
    January 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    …thanks for pointing out, stormy.

  20. Jon
    January 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    If Stormy had bothered to read the description of this chart, she would have known that it’s not “a MySpace based one”; it is a MySpace AND YouTube AND Facebook AND Twitter AND AND ReverbNation AND SoundCloud AND iLike AND more -based chart. So she’s counterposing her YouTube-only chart to a straw men. A red herring. A figment of her imagination.

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