Ah ha!! Check it out: Hit Song Science analyzes your song and compares it to other songs that have been released and give you a bar chart to tell you how “sellable” your crappy tune is.Â and they definitely have all the questions answered here:
Aren’t music labels supposed to be looking for new and fresh sounds that would not be anything like past hit music?
Absolutely. Historically, what is pleasing to the human ear has not changed since man began writing music. What has changed are styles, performances, the instruments used and the way music is produced and recorded, but a compelling melody is still compelling and a series of random notes still sounds random to us. That is not to say everything has been invented, however so far, every new style of music that has come into being: country, rock, punk, grunge etc. have all had similar mathematical patterns and the hits in those genres have all come from the same hit clusters that exist today and anything that has fallen outside of those clusters has rarely been successful for it’s musical qualities. For an explanation of a hit cluster please see our technology section.
Isn’t music supposed to be art?
Yes, and artistic integrity and creativity are the lifeblood of the music industry and are of paramount importance to our business. Literature writing and movie making are also forms of art, however, the art of story development follows certain rules. Georges Polti, 19th century French author, identified 36 possible plots in literature that would hold the attention of the audience with the right amount of tension and subsequent resolution. Those rules existed before Polti identified them but by identifying them he helped writers become creative within guidelines that would help them connect with their audiences. Every story that is written, every movie made, from the blockbusters to the intellectual films generally follow these rules of plot. Even the weekly sitcoms follow these rules of plot because they are the only ones that hold our attention as humans.
All Polyphonic HMI has done is identify parameters in music in much the same way that Polti identified parameters in story lines and because music is more complicated than a story line it takes pattern recognizing computers to do it. Polyphonic did not invent the patterns. Hopefully by identifying them musicians can become better composers and more insightful and music labels can be left scratching their heads less often when a song doesn’t perform in the market the way they expected it to.
Computers have no place in the making of music.
Our computers cannot create music, they can only analyze it. Our computers have not invented anything, rather they’ve only detected patterns and parameters that already existed. The telescope did not create the universe. It only allowed us to see it in a different way and to make better judgments and insights about it, and just like the telescope has its limitations so does our technology. We’re continually finding better and more creative ways to help musicians and songwriters. By revealing some before-unseen scientific information about music we can use that to better understand the art and human’s desire to be engulfed in compelling sound.
Leave it to the music industry to be so desperate as to use this service.
Our customers are the music labels but the real beneficiaries of our work are the people who create, perform and consume music. No matter what music you make you’d like to at least be able to support yourself and have your music enjoyed by a certain audience, and why deny that some of you would like to be tomorrow’s superstars. Our technology does not take into high consideration the actual “sound” of your music, but rather the underlying mathematical patterns that humans have consistently found enjoyable throughout time. There’s not just one hit song formula. There are many and no matter what your song sounds like it may have many attributes that will make it enjoyable to a large audience.
The music industry has taken a beating in the past few years. They are looking for solutions to address the concerns and criticisms they’ve been subject to. Many music label executives have lost their jobs and will never get them back in an industry that is shrinking. Today’s executive know they cannot continue with business-as-usual and keep their jobs. The labels see that Hit Song Science might be a very good tool and they need time to use it, experiment with it and see how it goes. We will strive to make things better for everyone. Give us some time to show some real results. We think our technology could be a wonderful revolution for everyone from the labels to the garage band. We’ll do our very best not to disappoint you.
Doesn’t this technology just ensure that all music will end up sounding the same?
Absolutely not. We are acutely aware that due to the fact that we compare new music to past hits it sounds like we are looking for the same sorts of sounds. While we CAN do that it is not an inherent trait of our technology. We predicted the success of Norah Jones at a time when nothing in our past hit database sounded anything like her.
Patterns in music that are pleasing to the human ear have not changed much, if at all, since the times of the classical composers. For example, the dictionary describes melody as a series of notes strung together in a meaningful sequence. Why are some sequences meaningful to us and make up a beautiful song and other sequences just sound like random notes? While the number of possible melody patterns combined with all of the other variables in recorded music allow for a seemingly infinite number of combinations. The patterns that we find pleasing haven’t changed a lot. What has changed are the instruments used, the styles, the way the music is performed etc. Our technology can actually help music labels gain confidence in promoting music that does not sound formulaic because we can show them that the music in question will be successful and that they will see a return on their investment in it. Keep in mind that most labels liked Norah Jones’ music but did not feel they would make any money promoting it. Our technology can help during those kinds of evaluations.
Basically a computer telling you whether or not a song sounds exactly like the last one that made money… further disenfranchising ourselves from the ability to have an opinion or personal preference. What we need is a massive failure of this technique to “discover” successful artists based on ignorant expectations of the majors and the unpredictability in the purchasing trends of consumers. We need to see the collapse of the traditional roles of the big 5. Now that distribution costs $75, the hard part is advertising.
HEY! WAKE UP! If you listen to commercial radio, Clear Channel 0wnz0rs U! Reject corporate commercial radio! Take back your ability to decide what good music is!
Find good local or underappreciated music and TELL YOUR FRIENDS about it! Word of mouth advertising about unknown artists is golden when the only places you have to learn about new music never give those artists consideration because “they don’t index well against tried and true formulas”! You have a brain, USE IT!!