Predicting what songs will be a hit can be an inexact science. It seems some songs come out of nowhere to become summer hits like Nico & Vinz "Am I Wrong" or the Robin Schulz remix of Mr. Probz "Waves." Staying ahead of trends and knowing which artists are set to break through, while also paying attention to those already established hit-makers is key, but with music becoming more data driven, we are able to predict with more accuracy the probability of the next big song. One of the main predictors in the music industry is Shazam, since a user Shazaming a song is a strong sign of interest in that one track. Cait O'Riordan, VP of product, Music and Platforms at Shazam spoke at the Strata Hadoop World 2015 Conference in London to discuss how the platform predicts a song's success and showed that the next one might Omi's single "Cheerleader."
The presentation breaks down how they are able to predict how songs will fare, showing that based on the initial Shazams Katy Perry's "Roar" was set to be bigger than Lady Gaga's "Applause," despite similar marketing campaigns.
The big data was used expertly to predict the rise of Clean Bandit's "Rather Be," which first spiked at the end of 2013 in the UK, before crossing over the mainland Europe and getting to the United States at the end of 2014. The track's hook was when the strings kicked in, which resulted in over 14 million Shazams.
Artists have on average 10 seconds to convince artists to Shazam their song.
O'Riodan brings up the Shazam data points for Jamaican singer Omi who has steadily gained momentum since November 2014, when it was remixed by German deep house producer Felix Jaehn. It spiked in Germany, but has risen in Italy, the UK and slowly in the United States.
Does this sound familiar? Mr. Probz "Waves" (though he is Dutch) had a single that was stagnant until another German deep house producer remixed it. Get ready summer 2015.
Several examples more are used, including for which verse was the most popular on Kanye West's "Monster." Nicki Minaj took the cake over West and Jay Z according to Shazam, but that also could have been because she was still relatively new at the time.