“Quantitative Formalism: An Experiment” and a related thought about pop music

A few years ago I did a lot of reading about algorithms and machine learning as it related to the arts and popular culture. What immediately sprang to mind when I read the opening of “Quantitative Formalism: An Experiment” was an article from WIRED in 2011 about at team from The University of Bristol that worked on developing an equation that could predict a hit song.


At the top of the article you’ll see a video that shows the “evolution of musical features” as they relate to hit songs. Since we will soon be considering ways to display results from our data sets I thought this might be interesting to take a look at.

The short article considers both the Bristol team’s work and other similar projects related to predicting the popularity of new pop music. While this is not scholarly work, I thought it was interesting to share and consider how this type of enquiry is being used outside of the academy.