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hit songs

Updated on July 15, 2011

So you've written a song and are wondering whether it could be a big hit in the music industry or not.

Who can tell you?

Is songwriting a hit & miss proposition or is it actually possible to predict whether the song you write is going to be a huge success?

In the past no-one would have suggested you could judge a song's potential except by gut instinct and even that was inaccurate.

There are many rejected songs that became No1 hits. More famous examples include:

"Since U Been Gone" passed in by both Pink and Hilary Duff was a hit for Kelly Clarkson, the first American Idol.

"Umbrella" , caste aside by Britney Spears' label exec's went to Number One around the world in the hands (or should that be heart, soul & voice) of Rhianna.

Kylie Minogue apparently declined "Toxic" which subsequently debuted in the UK at number One for Britney Spears.

The list goes on

Given the failure rate, it is little wonder there are now music intelligence companies - most notably Music Intelligence Solutions ( - that have created databases of hits or rather their rhythm, melody, harmony and other patterns (including length & lyrics) which can be grouped together.

These computer designed models of a musical universe of hit patterns are intended to transform the subjective art of predicting hits into an objective science.

A "Harvard Business School found that the software was accurate 8 out of 10 times" according to Laura Sydell on

Grouping hits over the past 50 years by similarity is intended to make it easier to compare an "unkown" and a known hit and hip hop band The Block Scholars went back into the studio to remix after the machine only gave them a 7.1 rating for a song they'd written.

In some ways, songwriters are probably over-supplied with false praise and may need the cold hard rating only a computer (or Simon Cowell of American Idol!) can deliver.

It some how makes things more believable but whether software can ever predict a hit or reject a song..well...?

For more on this see also


If LOW Would You Believe a Computer Rating of Your Song?

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    • profile image
      Author 7 years ago

      let us know how you get on James! Might be a good hub in itself.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for publishing this article about a fasciating subject. The science behind this has been around quite some time. I think I'll send a couple songs in and see what happens. :-)

    • profile image
      Author 7 years ago

      Money Glitch, you've got me thinking why is this and one explanation I came up with was that if another artist redoes a song, it means he or she FEELS pretty strongly about it, relates to it and puts his or her heart and soul into it; which a song needs to be a success. Thanks for your comment.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Interesting read. Isn't it funny how one artist can make a song and it not be popular, another artist can redo the song or put it to a different beat and it becomes number one.

    • profile image
      Author 7 years ago

      Kara DioGuardi is 4th judge and Ellen Degeneres is now also on the panel in my part of the world. I think though there is still room for the computer! @ Misthaven,good point and whydoesn't a hit stay one forever?

      @ladyE,Thanks for dropping in!

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "good idea Nicomp but where would he/she sit on the panel?After Simon?"

      Have they replaced Paula yet?

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      Interesting read. I heard Britney turned down "umbrella" which became a huge hit for Rihanna. :)

    • MistHaven profile image

      MistHaven 7 years ago from New Jersey

      Interesting topic. Personally, I wouldn't give much weight to what a computer decides is a hit song or not. In the end, the listeners are the ones who ultimately determine which songs are popular and which ones are not, are there are a lot of outside forces that can take away from a song's popularity. Just look at how bad Chris Brown is struggling nowadays.

    • profile image
      Author 7 years ago

      good idea Nicomp but where would he/she sit on the panel?After Simon?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Let the computer have a vote on American Idol!