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Music

Is There a Formula For a Hit Song? 243 243

moveoverrover writes "What happens when two Rutgers grad students analyze 50 years of Billboard Top 10 hits with MIT offshoot Echo Nest's API and turn the data into visualizations for an assignment? Great looking visualizations for one, and a fascinating look at 50 years of Pop music at the data level. Posing the question, 'Is there a formula for a hit song?' the students write, 'What if we knew, for example, that 80% of the Billboard Hot 100 number one singles from 1960-2010 are sung in a major key with an average of 135 beats per minute, that they all follow a I-III-IV chord progression in 4/4 time signature, and that they all follow a "verse-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus" sequence structure?' Using data extracted by Echo Nest on tempo, duration, time signature, musical key, as well as subjective criteria like "energy" and "danceability," the pair generated a number of visualizations with Google Motion Charts (warning: slow) and '(some) Tableau Results' for everyone to see and investigate. Curious about tempo and song duration trends in Pop music over 50 years? Correlation between record label and song tempo? Download the core data, the Tableau reader and look at it any way you want."
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Is There a Formula For a Hit Song?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2011 @08:57AM (#36632514)

    R&B has a clearly worked out hit formula:
    http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/4185/rnbcreator2tf9.jpg

    Might be applicable to other styles such as pop, trance, rock...

  • by jonas_haase (149709) on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:01AM (#36632542) Homepage

    Here is the entertaining version of this important discovery:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I [youtube.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:20AM (#36632708)

    Some time back I wrote a lyrics generator inspired by Destiny's Child. It didn't have nearly enough strings to draw from, and I never got around to setting up proper weighting for the various phrases, but it was definitely producing authentic Destiny's child gibberish. Here's an example:

    I gon' trippin'!
    I gon' frontin'?
    you's actin' and you's actin'!
    Nine out of ten cat owners are trippin' as You been doing playin'!
    Why I see you movin'.

    you's trippin' 'n' I gon' actin'?
    Girls be like knowin'?
    I lookin' that to' be braggin' but Keynesian Theory makin' me think You been doing knowin'.
    Shell restated their 2005 financial results cuz they be keepin' it real as We actin'?

    I gon' playin'.
    I gon' frontin' but Keynesian Theory makin' me think Why you thinkin' 'bout playin'.
    I trippin'.
    U frontin'?
    I trippin'.

    you's trippin' 'n' I gon' actin'?
    Girls be like knowin'?
    I lookin' that to' be braggin' but Keynesian Theory makin' me think You been doing knowin'.
    Shell restated their 2005 financial results cuz they be keepin' it real as We actin'?

    better da street if he be actin'?
    Thems knowin'!
    I gon' actin'!
    I actin'.
    I be knowin' U be braggin'!

    you's trippin' 'n' I gon' actin'?
    Girls be like knowin'?
    I lookin' that to' be braggin' but Keynesian Theory makin' me think You been doing knowin'.
    Shell restated their 2005 financial results cuz they be keepin' it real as We actin'?

  • by Creepy (93888) on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:39AM (#36632876) Journal

    As a cellist, I have to point out that this is all a refinement of the Original 1 hit wonder [youtube.com].

    Some of the same songs even ;)

    Technically this is 5 chords, but the 6th is often "skipped" by using a turn.

I know engineers. They love to change things. - Dr. McCoy

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