It appears that a group of students and a professor in the UK have created an algorithm that can analyze the audio file of a song, and spit out a score that indicates the likelihood of that particular song becoming a hit.
Songwriters the world over are always trying to figure out what will produce a hit, because obviously a hit song can make them a lot of money. But can such things be determined mathematically? It’s important to note too that the algorithm is geared towards the UK Top 40; so it may produce very different results in the United States or Canada, but beyond that, can a hit be mathematically defined?
It’s an interesting topic, and as they mention at the end of the video, the algorithm is far from foolproof and can be easily thrown off by other factors in society. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting 4 minute clip.
If you’re interested in songwriting, one thing they do mention in here is harmonic complexity. That’s a fancy way of saying what’s happening in the song from a musical theory standpoint. Many songwriters have told me that my Unlocking I IV V course has really helped them get a better handle on their songwriting, because it gives them the tools they need to come up with the chord progressions they’re looking for. You can find more about that here.
Checkout this analysis of the evolution of musical features and the probability of the song becoming a hit. It’s cool, and only half a minute!