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Katy Perry Beats Bieber, Taylor as Biggest Act on Twitter in 2013

Pop star's 48.5 million followers give her a social-media boost over Lady Gaga, Rihanna and more

December 20, 2013 3:50 PM ET
Katy Perry
Katy Perry performs in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for UNICEF

Katy Perry has yet another victory to roar about these days. According to stats provided by Twitter, she's the reigning champ of of the 140-character social-media service, attracting over 1.5 million followers per month this past year to reach nearly 48.5 million total followers. That places her well above her pop peers Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears and Rihanna. Only Bieber came close to her numbers — he's sitting at 47.7 million Beliebers strong.

Check Out the 50 Best Albums of 2013

Perry wasn't the only pop star to have a major Twitter victory. Not surprisingly, One Direction owned the retweet numbers, with four out of the top five tweets retweeted belonging to the British lads. The biggest RT of them all came from Niall on September 12th: 

But Perry nor One Direction own the distinction of having the album that was most tweeted about. That honor went to Kanye West with Yeezus, which yielded 4.4 million tweets. Drake's Nothing Was the Same came in at second with 2.9 million tweets and Miley Cyrus' Bangerz was third with close to 1.6 million tweets. 

In terms of songs tweeted about, Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" garnered the top slot with 8.1 million mentions. Drake's "Started From the Bottom" followed in at Number Two with 6.2 million mentions and Demi Lovato's "Heart Attack" reached 4.5 million mentions. 

Besides generic hashtag terms like "#music" and "#nowplaying," Eminem faired well in that arena — "#RapGod" was the third most popular hashtag. Other popular ones in the top 10 include #Yeezus, #RapLikeLilWayne and North West. 

The Grammys' may be known as Music's Biggest Night, but they racked up around 3 million fewer tweets than MTV's VMAs in 2013. The twerk-heavy telecast was the most tweeted-about award show, with a staggering 18.5 million tweets, compared to the Grammys' 15.7 million.

Two other music events had a massive Twitter impact this year. South by Southwest 2013 was the biggest music festival in the Twittersphere, with 2.8 million tweets, beating out the combined totals of Coachella and Lollapalooza.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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