Predicting the Hits

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Five years ago, a new approach was born. Promosquad’s HitPredictor.com has proven to be an unnervingly accurate means of identifying “the next big thing.” This predictive song testing tool was developed by music-industry veterans Guy Zapoleon and Rick Bisceglia, and has been garnering accolades since its debut.

Here is a thumbnail view of the company as presented in the press release found on Yahoo News:

It all started in 2003 when HitPredictor unveiled its Internet based pre-testing music research company to the radio and record community, quietly turning to real music fans’ opinions for the ultimate solution for finding the most viable songs to release. HitPredictor was ultimately ahead of the curve, utilizing the Internet in the wake of the dotcom bust in the development of a powerful online tool for the music industry. Now at 5 years of age, HitPredictor has achieved an impressive batting average in predicting which songs will do well with listeners across the U.S.. HitPredictor has helped a Who’s Who of the music world at every format in finding their hits: Kelly Clarkson, Chris Brown, Daughtry, Kanye West, Brad Paisley, Foo Fighters, and newcomers like Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat just to name a few. HitPredictor remains the #1 research company in guiding record labels, managers, musical artists, and ultimately radio programmers in choosing their strongest music and biggest hits.

It seems that rather than using some arcane computer program to crunch statistics and produce the predictions, these guys have taken a revolutionary approach by asking the fans. You can go to Promosquad.com and join up. Once a member, you have the ability to listen to and rate new music that has not yet hit the airwaves. It is from these ratings done by real people that the hits are predicted.

The HitPredictor website goes into a bit more specific detail about the process if you look at the small print of the about page where it reads:

Songs are blind tested online by Promosquad using multiple listens and a nationwide sample of carefully profiled music consumers. Songs are rated on a 1-5 scale; final results are based on weighted positives. Songs with a score of 65 or more are judged to have Hit potential, although that benchmark number can fluctuate per format based on the strength of available music. Songs are ranked based on airplay detections according to data provided weekly by Broadcast Data Systems.

This is a company founded on the axiom that radio is vibrant when it comes to delivering new music to the listening public, something hard to do with an iPod. One of the great things about radio is the ability to turn it on and get taken on an aural adventure through unfamiliar musical terrain.

Radio, in particular, still remains the biggest factor in the discovery of new music and is a key component in the success of the HitPredictor system. Tim Richards, Clear Channel Regional VP Programming/KRQQ Tucson Program Director says, “Today’s work schedule makes it more difficult to dedicate a lot of time to new music. HitPredictor is great tool for staying on top of music trends.” Memphis’s WHBQ Program Director Karson agrees, “HitPredictor provides valuable “real time” information that allows us to always be a step ahead.” HitPredictor gives radio programmers a “heads up” on songs with hit potential as they come across their desk for the very first time, and radio pays attention.

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