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headphoneThe Billboard charts for music are all well and good, but odds are, you’ve already heard of all of those bands. To sort through the rest to find the good stuff, though, will take you about 39 years. Whatever will you do?

Increasingly, you’ll turn to Twitter. Twitter is rapidly becoming a place for people to share and discuss music, and is a great way to find new and interesting things to listen to. Lots of artists are active on Twitter, as are countless fans. But Twitter presents a new problem: how do you weed through that to find the good stuff?

Well, for a long time, according to The Hype Machine, a tracker of popular music around the Web, there was no good answer. There were answers, sure, but none did what they were supposed to do.

So The Hype Machine created the Twitter Music Chart, a brand-new way of tracking what is the most popular type of music in the Twitterverse. It’s the Billboard Hot 100 meets what you actually care about – a winning combination, in my book.

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The Twitter Music Chart is created based on a very particular formula, simply described on the website: “Each tweet gets points based on the user’s influence, then we add them up to find what’s hot in the past 3 days.”

This is a novel, and smart, way of creating the charts. It’s not just measuring what people are talking about (though it’s certainly doing that) – it’s figuring out how many people are likely to be listening to a song that got tweeted. If Ashton Kutcher tweets a song, odds are some of his 2.5 million followers are going to listen to it – thus, it gets more points from The Hype Machine than if I tweeted it.

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When you go to the Twitter Music Chart, you’ll see the most popular songs on Twitter over the last three days. You can see the title and artist of the song, who originally tweeted it, who else has tweeted it, the number of points it got (the number used by The Hype Machine to figure out where the song belongs), and even gives you a chance to listen to the song.

If you click on a song, it’ll take you to a page that lets you share the song on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, as well as see more of who’s talking about it and how to buy it. If you vote for the track on Twitter, it’ll immediately get added to the votes on the Twitter Music Chart.

The biggest problem is that the list is only pulled from, and The Hype Machine only cares about, links from Twitter to The Hype Machine. Because of that, the list tends to be very niche-heavy, but I’ll say I still loved a lot of the music that came up. Tons of remixes and mashups, as well as some old classics – the music really runs the gamut.

If you’ve got an account with The Hype Machine, you can log in to favorite a particular song to your account, for easy access later. Otherwise, pretty much everything on the page is available to you. Across the bottom of the screen lives the player, where you can play, pause, or even buy a track from a variety of sources.

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If you’re a Twitter user, you can follow the Hype Machine Twitter Account for tweets of the latest popular songs – delivering the popular stuff right into your Twitter stream.

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One other thing I enjoyed about the Twitter Music Chart was the link, on the right side of the page, to check how many points The Hype Machine would give you for a tweeted song. It’s another measure of your Twitter influence, but is fun to cross-check with all the other people promoting songs.

It’s not a perfect chart, and nothing will be until it deals with all the music around Twitter, but it’s a great step in the right direction, and a cool way to find new music online.

What other online music charts are out there?

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