Is it possible to take the guesswork out of writing a hit song? Well a team who met at MIT have contacted Pro Tools Expert and are claiming their new software can do just that. The software 'Hit or Miss' is based on an algorithm that has processed every song released since 1940, when Billboard published their first Music Popularity Chart. The software analyzes the melody, harmony, chords, tempo, and even lyrics and using the algorithm can predict the likelihood of a song being a hit or a miss to within 98% accuracy.
One of the team Will Oakley, Popular Music Actuary, explains more;
"We've been working on this project since 2010 and since 2013 have been running the algorithm on every commercially released song. The software has been able to place the highest chart position in the chart correctly in 98% of cases. The last 2% we can account for as songs that have tried to be original with their arrangements and instrumentation."
Asked about who the software is aimed at they are very clear it's not for record labels. Ben Parker, CTO, says this;
"Streaming services have partly helped small artists with getting their music out there but they often waste their time putting out music that has little commercial potential. One of the strengths of the major record labels is that their A&R teams have that experience they know how to find hits; our software means that independents will be able to create tracks to beat the labels... this is going to change everything."
When pushed for more detail on how the software works Oakley explains;
"The user uploads a song to our servers and within 5 minutes has a report emailed back telling them if the song will be a hit or a miss. Even better it gives pointers on how to improve the song, in a lot of cases it's usually a case of bad lyrics and bad music, so if they can change these then the song can be resubmitted."
The team hope to have the public beta version of the software out before the end of this year when users can start to try it out. Parker is excited about the potential of 'Hit or Miss' saying;
"The charts have been filled with poor quality songs for too long with many people bemoaning the state of the music industry. Our software takes the guesswork out of making hits, it won't be long before every song will be at the number one position every week. Or you can choose the chart position you want, with careful tweaking you can release a song that makes it to say number 27, how cool is that?"
What do you think? We've had automatic mastering, would you trust a computer to tell you if your song was a hit or a miss?