Software Predicts Which Songs Will Become Hits

"The versificator, a machine described in George Orwell's novel "1984", automatically generated music for the hapless masses. Today, computer programmers working in a new field called "music intelligence" are developing software capable of predicting which songs will become hits. This surprisingly accurate technology could profoundly change the way pop music is created.

The software uses a process called "spectral deconvolution" to isolate and analyse around 30 parameters that define a piece of music, including such things as sonic brilliance, octave, cadence, frequency range, fullness of sound, chord progression, timbre and "bend" (variations in pitch at the beginning and end of the same note). "Songs conform to a limited number of mathematical equations," says Mike McCready of Platinum Blue, a music-intelligence company based in New York, that he founded last December. Platinum Blue has compiled a database of more than 3m successful musical arrangements, including data on their popularity in different markets.

According to Platinum Blue's software, called Music Science, for example, a number of hit songs by U2 have a close kinship to some of Beethoven' s compositions. If a song written today has parameters similar to those of a number of past hits, it could well be a hit too."

-- Economist

Study: What Makes a Song Catchy?

A somewhat related piece from Guardian (and Independent) about a fake indie band that made it big on MySpace: "Hope Against Hope are a scam, a spoof indie band "with no talent whatsoever" invented by Q magazine in order to prove that the Rupert Murdoch-owned site is now just another cog in the older industry phenomenon of hype."
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