Who REALLY Owns the Throne Between Jay-Z and Kanye West?


Two of the world’s most recognizable hip-hop stars are duking it out on the sales charts this summer. Both Jay-Z and Kanye West recently released new albums, which have a lot of music fans talking across the social web.

Networked Insights took a closer look at the data around Jay-Z and Kanye to discover:

  • + Which albums fans talked about most at launch and overall
  • + Fans favorite songs from each album
  • + The audiences most attracted to each artist
  • + How each artists stacked-up against their peers
  • + Who talked more about Magna Carta – Android Users who could download the album or iPhone users who couldn’t?

Using our analytics platform SocialSense™, we first looked at nearly 50 million conversations across the social web, over the past 90 days, to gauge the reaction to Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” and Kanye West’s “Yeezus.”

While “Yeezus” has had the advantage of being released earlier, “Magna Carta Holy Grail” is quickly catching up, and with far less negative reactions.

As expected, “Yeezus” is winning the numbers game in terms of social conversations due to its two-week head start over “Magna Carta,” yet Kanye’s album has elicited a much larger negative response from the public. “Magna Carta” has drawn a more positive reaction and is on a similar growth rate of social conversations compared to “Yeezus.” The top singles from each album included “New Slaves” and “I Am A God” for Kanye’s album, while “Holy Grail” and “Oceans” led interest on Jay-Z’s album.

Kanye West fans provided two spikes in conversation, when the album was leaked and officially released. Typically, album leaks depress conversations on official album release dates.

Early album leaks typically drive fans to increased word-of-mouth activity, and as a consequence dampen conversation volume for official release dates. This is not the case with Kanye West, who enjoyed two significant spikes in conversations by fans. However, when you look at pure volume in a 24-hour period, “Magna Carta” was the clear winner in driving social engagement.

Kanye struggles to appeal to older demographics and finds stronger advocacy within younger audiences. Jay-Z has less trouble as Gen-Xers find him more approachable.

The numbers of social engagement only tell one aspect of the story, however. Analyzing social data can also identify the key strengths and weaknesses for each hip-hop artist within specific audience segments. Networked Insights looked at millions of conversations across the social web about Kanye West over the past year, which illustrated his clear strength in attracting younger demographics, particularly Millennials and Teens, yet struggles in connecting with older segments. After analyzing millions of conversations about Jay-Z over the past year show a more balanced advocacy with Millennials, Teens, and older Generation-Xers.

Networked Insights also examined social engagement for the hip-hop landscape as a whole, which provided the ranking below. Over the past year, Drake has consistently dominated consumer conversations in social media, driving more than 46 million social conversations. He’s followed by Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and 2Chainz. The chart below also illustrates the biggest drivers of social engagement spikes other than album releases.

Overall, Drake is the most consistently engaged rapper, but major life events such as album releases, music festivals, births, and near-deaths are the moments fans engage most.

Lastly, we wanted to see who talked more about the album during the 72 hours it was made available to Samsung Galaxy Customers. Turns out that iPhone customers talked about the album more than Android users did about Jay-z’s “Magna Carta.”

Download the report to read all the social data analysis from Networked Insights.

Social Media Week