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If you want to get a good idea of how many people like a certain artist, it helps to check out their Twitter following. The more people who have chosen to click the "follow" button on your profile page, the more likely it is that websites will cover your music, brands will reach out to you for endorsements, and, most importantly, people will feel less weird about following you, which will in all likelihood lead to more people following you. But because the internet is a thicket of trickery and bullshit, people tend to buy followers in order to convince people that they're more popular than they actually are.
Because the internet exists, there is a tool called Twitter Audit that lets you see (roughly) what percentage of a person's followers are real, and what percentage of a person's followers are fake.
Earlier today, I got bored and decided to run a bunch of our favorite musicians through Twitter Audit to see whose followers were bullshit, and whose followers were real. These results are not necessarily meant to be interpreted maliciously—the more popular an account is, the more likely that a large number of bots—i.e., fake accounts—will automatically follow them. Keep in mind that (A) these results are rough, imprecise estimates that in a few cases are a couple years old, and (B) everybody has a few fake followers—if you have more than a thousand or so followers, some have probably latched onto you as well. However, there are also many services that allow one to buy themselves, or anyone else, fake followers.
Gaze upon my findings, friends, and weep.
In case you were wondering about our own numbers, here's Noisey's breakdown: