Data and music

Another example of how data guides behavior. This time in the music business, where apparently record companies are getting automated help in predicting the likely success of tracks.

The magic ingredient set to revolutionise the pop industry is, simply, a piece of software that can "predict" the chance of a track being a hit or a miss. This computerised equivalent of the television programmer Juke Box Jury is known as Hit Song Science (HSS). It has been developed by a Spanish company, Polyphonic HMI, which used decades of experience developing artificial intelligence technology for the banking and telecoms industries to create a program that analysed the underlying mathematical patterns in music. It isolated and separated 20 aspects of song construction including melody, harmony, chord progression, beat, tempo and pitch and identifies and maps recurrent patterns in a song, before matching it against a database containing 30 years' worth of Billboard hit singles - 3.5m tunes in all. The program then accords the song a score, which registers, in effect, the likelihood of it being a chart success. [Guardian Unlimited | Arts features | Together in electric dreams]

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Jan 17, 2005
Thom Hickey