Billboard, the weekly magazine that compiles the most vital song charts in the music industry, is tapping Facebook to discover the latest hot tunes.
The publication - a division of Nielsen Business Media - has struck a deal with iLike, an application within Facebook that lets users download and share music, to create a new chart based on the popularity of songs on the social networking site.
Facebook offers an online community in which its 47 million members share information about themselves - including their favorite tunes - with their friends. This partnership is just the latest indication that big companies see the business value in leveraging Facebook's network of interconnected friends.
The new Billboard chart will track the 25 most-added songs that Facebook members include in their personal profiles each week. Billboard will also provide a music newsfeed and create a separate "hot songs" chart based on the music that people download to their iTunes and Windows Media libraries through the iLike software.
"The music industry has known for years that a lot of music consumption is happening on social networks," says iLike CEO Ali Partovi. "This chart is really going to help give artists a barometer of how they're doing."
iLike has 14 million registered users on Facebook and its website. According to Tamara Conniff, group editorial director for Billboard, no money exchanged hands in the deal. Instead, the two companies will benefit from cross-promotion, she says.
Billboard gets to reach potential readers through Facebook, marketers get to use iLike to track how consumers respond to new music, and iLike gets a boost from one of the most recognized names in the music industry.
"Once we started brainstorming, it all came together," Conniff said. "We're a 113-year old magazine and we need to be constantly evolving with the business. It was a natural next step to track music on social networks."