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Is There a Formula For a Hit Song? 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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