Rapleaf, a company that specializes in analyzing trends in social media, has an interesting study on the popularity of four artists, namely The Beatles, Elvis, Madonna, and Michael Jackson, across major social networks. They randomly sampled 1.1 million fans, and found some surprising results (the study was done 2 weeks before Michael Jackson's death, which explains some things):
* The Beatles’ dominating popularity online — The Beatles’ online celebrity may be bolstered by both their music’s enduring appeal and the success of their recent compilation album 1 released in 2000, which has become one of the best-selling albums of this decade with over 31 million in worldwide sales. While all the artists in this study are period icons, The Beatles’ prominence on social media may suggest their ability to better transcend generations, which is in part evidenced by them having the second-youngest fans.
* Michael Jackson’s lack of internet prominence — This is particularly bewildering given Michael Jackson’s younger - and presumably more tech- and social media-savvy - fans and his status as one of the most influential entertainers and musicians to ever take center stage. His 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time with over 100 million sales worldwide (more than twice the second best-selling album).
http://blog.rapleaf.com/rapleaf-study-popularity-and-fan-demographics-of-michael-jackson-the-beatles-elvis-and-madonna-across-social-media/ - Thanks Michael Hsu!