Hit Song Science concerns the possibility of predicting whether a song will be a hit, prior to its distribution using automated means such as machine learning software.

Scientific BackgroundEdit

The scientific nature of Hit Song Science is a subject of debate in the music information retrieval (MIR) community. Early studies claimed that using machine learning techniques could capture some information from audio signals and lyrics that would explain popularity. [1] However, a larger-scale evaluation [2] contradicts the claims of “Hit Song Science”, i.e. that the popularity of a music title can be learned effectively from known audio features. Many other reasons, including the well known "cumulative advantage" or preferential attachment effects deeply contradicts the possibility of practical applications. [3] Nevertheless, automatic prediction techniques are the basis of hit counseling businesses (HSS Technology).

Commercial ApplicationsEdit

A technology proposing to exploit Hit Song Science was introduced in 2003 by an artificial intelligence company out of Barcelona, Spain, called Polyphonic HMI. Polyphonic HMI has since spun off a new Delaware C corporation, Music Intelligence Solutions, Inc., which runs uPlaya, found at, a site geared toward music professionals. The company suffered a blow to its credibility in 2006 when one of its founders, Mike McCready left to pursue another direction in the digital music space. The idea of Hit Song Science has generated response from many in the music industry, including Chuck D, Robert Lamm, Stratton Leopold, Gregg Scholl of The Orchard (music label), and officials at The Sync Agency as well as Blue Infinity Music. Hit Song Science has been profiled by NBC, BBC and various major news outlets. The plot line of an episode of "Numb3rs" was inspired by the technology.

Music Intelligence Solutions, Inc., is using Hit Song Science as a basis for several contests done in partnership with organizations such as, Urban Latino and American Songwriter magazine.

According to a case study done by the Harvard Business School, Hit Song Science predicted the commercial success of Norah Jones debut album, Come Away With Me, back when no other artist was creating music that sounded like her. That year, she won a Grammy for Best Album.

Hit Song Science also predicted the commercial success of Ben Novak, whose debut single, Turn Your Car Around, reached the number 12 spot in the UK Top 40 charts after receiving his Hit Song Science report.

Similar technologies are now emerging with companies such as MixCloud, MusicXray, and BandMetrics who are using their technologies. Mix Cloud is working with Queen Mary Technologies.


  1. Dhanaraj, R. and Logan, B. Automatic Prediction of Hit Songs, Proc. of Ismir 2005, London, UK
  2. Pachet, F. and Roy, P. (2008) Hit Song Science is Not Yet a Science. Proceedings of Ismir 2008, pages 355-360, Philadelphia, USA
  3. Pachet, F. (2011) Hit Song Science. In Tao, Tzanetakis & Ogihara, editor, Music Data Mining, CRC Press/Chapman Hall. and Roy, P. (2008) Hit Song Science is Not Yet a Science. Proceedings of Ismir 2008, pages 355-360, Philadelphia, USA

Hit Song Science is Not Yet a Science [1]

BBC News Report [2]

NBC Network News Feature on uPlaya [3]

Episode of "Numb3rs" Inspired by Hit Song Science [4] Chuck D and uPlaya Analyze Hit Songs [5]

Music Intelligence Solutions Launches uPlaya [6]

Music Intelligence Solutions Partners with The Orchard [7]

uPlaya Launches New Service for Record Labels [8]

Stratton Leopold to Advisory Board [9]

Music Intelligence Solutions Partners with The Sync Agency [10]

Ben Novak's debut single enters the UK Top 40 chart at number 12 [11]

Music Intelligence Solutions Receives GSMA Recognition [12]

External linksEdit