Quick: What's the difference between Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and Iron Maiden's "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter"?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying, oy vey, where do I begin?
How about ... one was an expected hit and the other an unexpected one?
Who expected it? The University of Bristol's Score-a-Hit algorithm. It's the product of intensive pop music research by the Pattern Analysis and Intelligent Systems group.
They wondered if computers could be taught to predict hit songs from such features as tempo, duration, danceability, and loudness. So they wrote an algorithm, then applied it to the past 50 years of UK top 40 singles to see if it correctly predicted the top five hits from every year.
The answer? Yes ... and no. So far, the algorithm has a 60 percent success rate. While it predicted "Crazy" would be a hit, it didn't expect "Daughter to the Slaughter" to be one.
And, really, to be fair, who did? Oh, Iron Maiden, don't ever stop surprising us!
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