Likely Pop Sensation? The Numbers Behind Dagny [Liv Buli]

4 (1)Can numbers predict the next big pop sensation? Here we look at how a dramatic spike in an artist's popularity across YouTube, Pandora, and social media could predict massive success and the birth of a major pop star.


Guest Post by Liv Buli of Next Big Sound


PALM SPRINGS, CA — APRIL 16: Musician DAGNY performs on stage at the Coachella Republic Records Jaegermeister Party on April 16, 2016 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Universal Music)

She’s one of Republic’s latest bets, and if you run the numbers, odds are in their favor.

Her name is Dagny, and she is a tiny blond Norwegian with a big pop talent and a lot of traction. She has two singles swirling around right now: “Backbeat” and “Fool’s Gold” (the latter a collaboration with BØRNS), both are strong enough to start attracting the attention of listeners.

The official music video for “Backbeat” (a fairly basic pretty-girl-in-cool-clothes-sings-at-camera type of snippet) dropped in May, and has racked up about 250,000 views on YouTube since. The video for “Fool’s Gold” has yet to be announced.

Pop aficionados are starting to take note. This past month, Dagny pulled in more than 100,000 spins on Pandora, compared to only about 5,500 in June. That is an increase of more than 1,700%. Of those spins, 12.3 percent were popular enough with the listener that they chose to give it a thumbs up. The tipping point where activity starts to pick up comes in mid-July, a week or so after the release of “Fool’s Gold.”

New synthpop artist Dagny sees a big jump in spins in mid-july, following the release of her single “Fool’s Gold.” Graphic courtesy of Next Big Sound.

The graph is headed in the right direction on social as well (up and to the right that is). I am not the only one that started following Dagny on Instagram as soon as I heard her music, she now counts 4,300 followers here, another 2,300 on Twitter, and more than 8,000 page likes on Facebook.

The engagement with these followers is also fairly high, and not just for a newcomer, but with Dagny in the 92nd percentile across all artists. Recently she has performed the strongest on Instagram, with roughly 270 likes on average each day over the past month, 11 times what should be expected for a following of that size. All of which bodes well for the young singer.

Her team has her working the underground festival scene this summer, with performances in Europe and at home in Norway. No US dates have been announced, so we’re likely to be waiting a while to catch the artist in person. But with a little development and more catchy tracks like “Backbeat” in her repertoire, Dagny is likely to have a bright future as a pop star. You heard it here first.

Liv Buli: DJ is short for data journalist. Nerd@NextBigSound. Contributor @Forbes. It's pronounced wahrter in Norway. Will write a book on puppies some day.

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