Scientists Utilizing Artificial Intelligence To Find New Hit Songs And Musicians

According to new research from scientists in California, a robot utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) could be the next step in identifying hit pop songs and artists in the music industry. The scientists said that by utilizing the technology, they’ve been able to identify hit songs with 97% accuracy.  

“By applying machine learning to neurophysiologic data, we could almost perfectly identify hit songs. That the neural activity of 33 people can predict if millions of others listened to new songs is quite amazing. Nothing close to this accuracy has ever been shown before,” says Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University and senior author, in a media release

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The AI itself uses a neural network, which is apparently so straightforward that it can also be utilized for streaming service efficiency, TV shows, and movies in general. 

The music industry today is dominated by streaming services. With billions of songs to choose from, it can become challenging for popular apps such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc. to choose which ones their users will listen to, especially among newer artists. 

Professor Zak claims that his colleagues and himself believe that their method is twice as effective as previous models which only showed a 50% success rate. 

In the study itself, participants listened to a set of 24 songs while wearing a skull-cap brain scanner. Throughout the process, they were asked about their preferences while the scientists measured their neurophysiological responses. 

“The brain signals we’ve collected reflect activity of a brain network associated with mood and energy levels,” Zak stated.

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Based on the responses, the team of scientists were able to use their technology to predict market outcomes for certain songs, including the number of streams a song may receive. This process is referred to as “neuroforecasting,” which essentially means using the brain activity of a select group of people to predict how a larger population will react.

According to reports from Study Finds, who reported on the study, “a statistical model identified potential chart hits 69 percent of the time, but this jumped to 97 percent when machine learning was applied to the data. The team found that even by analyzing neural responses to only the first minute of songs, they achieved a success rate of 82 percent.

“This means that streaming services can readily identify new songs that are likely to be hits for people’s playlists more efficiently, making the streaming services’ jobs easier and delighting listeners,” Zak explains.

“If in the future wearable neuroscience technologies, like the ones we used for this study, become commonplace, the right entertainment could be sent to audiences based on their neurophysiology. Instead of being offered hundreds of choices, they might be given just two or three, making it easier and faster for them to choose music that they will enjoy.

“Our key contribution is the methodology. It is likely that this approach can be used to predict hits for many other kinds of entertainment too, including movies and TV shows,” Zak stated.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift Makes History by Taking Over Entire Top 10 US Singles Chart

Taylor Swift became the first artist in history to claim every slot in the top 10 US singles chart after releasing her album “Midnights.” She overtakes rapper Drake, who held the previous record of taking over 9 of the top 10 singles in September 2021.

Before Drake, the Beatles scored 8 of the top 10 singles back  in 1964. Midnights also became the fastest-selling album of 2022, and all 13 songs on the album made it to the top 15 chart.

Billboard tweeted about Swift’s historic achievement on Monday.

@taylorswift13 scores one of the most historic weeks in @billboardcharts history, as she becomes the first artist to claim the # Hot100’s entire top 10 in a single week.”

Taylor Swift shared her excitement over the news, retweeting Billboard.

“10 out of 10 of the Hot 100??? On my 10th album??? I AM IN SHAMBLES”

The song “Anti-Hero” sits at the top of the list, taking over the number one spot. The track has also become a TikTok trend, with colorful lyrics like “I’m the problem, it’s me.”  

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In August, Swift announced the new album during her acceptance speech at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards after winning video of the year for her short film “All Too Well.”

“You guys. I’m just so proud of what we made. I know with every second of this moment that we wouldn’t have been able to make this short film if it weren’t for you– the fans – because I wouldn’t be able to re-record my albums if it weren’t for you. You embolden me to do that. So, I had sort of made up my mind that if you were going to be this generous and give us this, I thought it might be a fun moment to tell you that my brand-new album comes out Oct. 21.”

After revealing the record’s release date onstage, she took to Instagram to describe the upcoming tracks in more depth.

“This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching – hoping that just maybe when the clock strikes twelve … we’ll meet ourselves.”

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Midnights is Swift’s tenth studio album and fifth release in just over two years

Part of its success is due to its release in multiple formats, such as “moonstone blue marble” vinyl, CD, cassette and digital download. The four vinyl editions can be combined to make a functioning clock using a unique mount available for purchase on Swift’s website. 

Midnights also topped the US album chart, selling 1.58 million copies. More than half a million of those were on vinyl, which is uncommon in the streaming era. Midnights sold 62,000 copies on vinyl in the UK, becoming the highest weekly sale for a vinyl album in the 21st century. 

The rest of the top 10 singles chart includes album tracks like Lavender Haze, Maroon, Snow On The Beach, Bejeweled and Karma.

According to Billboard, streams of the album alone would have taken over the chart, before even counting sales and radio plays, helping Swift break several records. 

Midnights also became the most streamed single album on Spotify, Apple and Amazon Music in one day. Swift now holds the most top 10 hits among female artists with 40 songs in total, surpassing Madonna’s 38. 

Industry’s Top Songwriters Call For An End To ‘Artist Bullying’ Over Royalties

Songwriters for some of music’s biggest artist’s have penned an open letter to everyone within the industry calling on them to stop pressuring these writers to give up their publishing royalties. Writers for artists like Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, and Ariana Grande have all signed the letter in a new collective known as the Pact.

The songwriters themselves don’t name any specific artists within the letter, however, they do claim that pop stars and their teams can “abuse leverage, use bully tactics and threats to prey upon writers who may choose to give up some of their assets rather than lose the opportunity completely.”

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The Pact claims that as a group they “will not give publishing or songwriting credit to anyone who did not create or change the lyric or melody or otherwise contribute to the composition without a reasonably equivalent/meaningful exchange for all the writers on the song.”

Besides the performance royalties, artists generally receive an income for ticket sales, advertising deals, and numerous other revenue streams that have to do with the artist’s image itself. Songwriters, on the other hand, need the publishing royalties as that’s their main source of income when it comes to producing music.

“Over time, the practice of artists taking publishing from songwriters have become normalised.”

Victoria Monét was one of the signatories of the letter. She’s written many of Ariana Grande’s songs, as well as Emily Warren, who wrote the Grammy-nominated track Don’t Start Now. Savan Kotecha has written numerous songs for Ellie Goulding and Grande as well, and Justin Tranter, writer for artists like Britney Spears, also signed the letter.

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“My hope is that new songwriters can operate with a little less fear and [a] little more money.”

These writer statements come after a long debate regarding streaming services and the revenue they provide artists. In the US, streaming services like Spotify had to increase the royalties they gave to songwriters from 11% to 15%.

Crispin Hunt, chair of the Ivors Academy whose yearly Ivor Novello awards reward songwriters, argued in March that “record labels were taking too great a cut of revenues. Record labels are still taking a manufacturing and distributing cut when all they’re doing is a marketing job.”

At the end of the day, songwriters are finally taking a moment to credit themselves for their contributions to the industry, and are demanding that they be treated with the same respect and admiration as the artists that bring their words to life, and wouldn’t have a career without them.

Justin Timberlake Apologizes To Britney Spears Following Conservatorship Exposure

After the New York Times documentary was released last week the public has been scrutinizing the industry, media, and multiple individuals within it that helped lead to the demise of Britney Spears.

Racial Equality

Celebrities Use Blackout Tuesday To Protest Racial Inequality In Entertainment Industry

Amid the multiple Black Lives Matter protests currently occurring in all 50 states, many celebrities have begun using their platforms to speak out against police brutality, racism, and justice for black people in this country who have been abused by the system for the color of their skin. Multiple celebrities are publicly donating and sharing links with their followers as a means of spreading awareness, while others are telling their followers what not to do if they really want to contribute towards the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Most recently, musicians specifically led a call for constructive responses to George Floyd’s death after speaking up against a movement that flooded Instagram feeds with black squares and no real useful information. The social media “event” was titled by the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday, which would be posted under a photo of a black screen. The blank images took over feeds and individuals quickly realized how counterproductive the movement actually was. 

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Originally, the movement was started by Jamila Thomas, a senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, and Brianna Agyemand, a former Atlantic executive, “in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard” under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. 

However, individuals quickly misconstrued the original meaning and began posting the black screens with other hashtags having to do with the movement; such as #BLM, #BlackLivesMatter, etc. This caused all of those hashtag pages to be filled with useless black screens when previously it was filled with useful information and resources to help those fighting for racial equality right now. 

Artists like Lizzo, Lil Nas X, and Kehlani were quick to call out how unproductive and useless it was to post black screens, essentially “silencing” the entire movement for a day. 

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“I just really think this is the time to push as hard as ever, I don’t think the movement has ever been this powerful. We don’t need to slow it down by posting nothing. We need to spread info and be as loud as ever. What if we posted donation and petitions links on Instagram all at the same time instead of pitch-black images,” Nas X tweeted. 

“Please don’t use the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter because it is flooding the hashtag search,” Lizzo, who’s from Minneapolis herself, said in an Instagram video.

“While I do appreciate the idea … don’t y’all think getting off our form of communicating with each other, sharing info, seeing news … for a whole day … in the middle of a war on us … is kinda dangerous? By all means don’t spend. But we need each other on HERE. Anything could go down wit no ability to warn each other/help each other,” California singer Kehlani tweeted. 

Kehlani also continued to bring up the original meaning behind the movement and how the hashtag is really meant to be #TheShowMustBePaused. Thomas and Agyemang then responded by discussing how the music industry itself is a multi-billion dollar industry that has consistently “profited from black art. The mission is to hold the industry at large, including major corporations and their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles, and successes of black people, accountable.” 

Other musicians joined the movement through donation and, including R&B/Hip-Hop star The Weeknd, who recently donated half a million dollars to various organizations fighting for racial equality. Celebrities with a large platform have been called on by their fans, but also their fellow musicians, actors, directors, etc. If you have a voice, now’s the time to use it. 

If you want to know more about the Black Lives Matter movement and how you can directly help from home, click here for access to dozens of petitions, donation pages, and fundraising efforts specifically for those fighting for racial equality right now.

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Billie Eilish Makes Powerful Statement About Body Shaming During Concert Interlude

Billie Eilish has truly had one of the biggest success stories in the music industry. After winning in all four big categories at the Grammy’s and charting number one with her album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Eilish has already had a career most just dream about; and she’s only 18-years-old. 

Eilish started her world tour this week in Miami, Florida, and she kicked it off with a powerful statement about body image, social media, and society’s obsession with how someone looks. Eilish has always been criticized for the way she dresses, often in baggy designer clothes that are five times bigger than her actual clothing size. She’s been very public in the past over why this is; as her entire career so far has occurred while Eilish was still under the age of 18, and she hated the idea of older individuals judging her and objectifying her body, especially as an underage individual. 

During an interlude between songs at the first show, a video clip of Eilish appeared on the massive screens illuminating the stage. The clip showed her in a black sweatshirt as soft lighting illuminated different parts of her body. As the lighting faded in and out, Eilish began taking off her sweatshirt and then shirt, while a powerful monologue from Eilish herself played in the background. 

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“Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching, always. And nothing I do goes unseen. Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips? The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted?” she said.

Eilish has also recently been very public with the fact that it’s impossible to live in the spotlight and not feel like you’re being constantly scrutinized for your choices as an entertainer and individual. At last month’s Brit Awards, she admitted to feeling very hated, and went on to say in a speech, “So while I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move.”

As the interlude concludes, Eilish is heard criticizing society’s obsession with celebrities body types, and leaves the audience with a question before beginning her next set; “Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?” As previously stated, this isn’t the first time Eilish has been public about her anger over the double standard of how the media talks about male artists versus female artists. 

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“I wear what I want to wear, but of course, everyone sees it as ‘she’s saying no to being sexualised’ and ‘she’s saying no to being the stereotypical female’. The positive [comments] about how I dress have this slut-shaming element, and I can’t [overstate how] strongly I do not appreciate that, at all, I don’t like that there’s this weird new world of supporting me by shaming people that [may not] want to [dress like me],”  she said to V magazine in 2019.

Eilish is among many female artists who have always expressed their disappointment in how much the industry still focuses on image and overall aesthetics. Recently, Lizzo took to Tik Tok to criticize the app itself for body shaming her by deleting her posts whenever she poses in a swimsuit. Taylor Swift also recently discussed her past struggles with an eating disorder in her new Netflix documentary Miss Americana. 

Individuals like Eilish, Swift, and Lizzo are using their massive platforms to speak out against outdated patriarchal views of how the typical female artist “should look,” as there is no one way, and the real focus needs to be on the music they create. Eilish has become the youngest individual to clear out all big four categories at the Grammy’s, and is the first artist in general to do so since the 1980’s, but sure, keep judging her baggy designer pants. The full transcript of Eilish’s interlude speech is below: 

“Do you really know me? You have opinions about my opinions, about my music, about my clothes, about my body. Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching … always. And nothing I do goes unseen. So while I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move. Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips? The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted? If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why? You make assumptions about people based on their size. We decide who they are. We decide what they’re worth. If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me? What that means? Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility”