“…you can dance to it” really is a big part of the recipe.
A team of scientists say they’ve discovered an equation that predicts whether a song will be a hit.
Researchers from the University of Bristol claim their “hit potential equation” can predict a Top Five single with 60 per cent accuracy by analysing factors such as volume, tempo, timing and harmonic complexity.
To test the formula, researchers used songs from the last 50 years of the Official UK Singles Charts, taking into account 23 song elements, to determine if the track could climb to the top of the charts or if it’s unlikely to enter the Top 40.
According to Dr Tijl De Bie, senior lecturer in artificial intelligence at Bristol University, “The goal was to find out if we could come up with an equation that distinguishes between a hit and something that dangles at the bottom of the charts.
“We can expect to get it right in about 60 per cent of cases. It’s not perfect.”
The research shows what makes a popular song has evolved over the past 50 years. If a track that was easy to dance to it was much more likely to become a hit from the 1980s onwards, whereas before the 1980s danceability was not relevant to hit potential.
“Musical tastes evolve, which means our ‘hit potential equation’ needs to evolve as well. Indeed, we have found the hit potential of a song depends on the era. This may be due to the varying dominant music style, culture and environment.”
Reported by NME Music News.