Computer equation can sum up hit song potential
A COMPUTER programme could soon be challenging music tycoon Simon Cowell's "hitman" reputation.
Scientists at the University of Bristol have come up with a "hit potential equation" that can predict a top-five hit with 60pc accuracy.
The formula brings together musical features such as tempo, timing, song duration and loudness, as well as more detailed information such as chord and harmonic complexity.
Run through a computer, it produces a score that indicates whether a song will reach the top of the UK singles charts or never rise above position 30 or 40.
The researchers used artificial intelligence software to analyse 50 years of top 40 singles, looking for features that distinguish a "hit" from a "miss".
The study generated a list of "weights", attaching levels of importance to 23 song elements.
The research, presented at an international workshop on Machine Learning and Music in Spain, uncovered traits that helped songs become hits in previous decades.