From consumer behaviors to upcoming trends, data can be a wealth of useful information to guide business decisions. But what is there to find when extracting data from a song? According to AI-based music tech company HITLAB, machine learning is revolutionizing the music industry.
“When we created our algorithm, everyone in the music industry thought we were crazy, too ahead of our time, or just trying to get rid of A&R,” the chairman and CEO said. from HITLAB, Michel Zgarka, who has more than 35 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry.
Based in Montreal, HITLAB started out as an R&D company entirely dedicated to using artificial intelligence to analyze the hit potential of songs and the quality of a voice. Today, the digital media and artificial intelligence company uses patented technology to transform the way entertainment content is discovered, produced and consumed.
“Our scientists have determined that any song, in any language and in any musical genre, is made up of 84 mathematical parameters,” Zgarka said.
By studying these metrics, the HITLAB Music Digital Nuance Analysis (DNA) tool is able to rank and predict a song’s potential, leverage current trends and engage consumers.
The company uses historical databases of millions of hit and miss songs from major global charts that are analyzed daily, which in turn allows it to identify and compare region-specific audiences and trends, explained Zgarka.
“HITLAB AI has been digesting and analyzing hits for the past 15 years,” said Julia Kastner, Director of Marketing and Business Development at HITLAB. “Based on this, we can also tell which song is most likely to become a hit in 2022 in that specific genre, language, or region of the world.”
Last year, the company launched a Digital Emerging Artists Showcase, where artists could upload their songs for a chance to be signed to a record label. The platform was initially launched in Africa — a deliberate move, Zgarka explained.
“We wanted to show the typical North American that he’s not the king of the world in music,” he said. “We are called talents without borders, and push to show that talent has absolutely no color. Anyone, anywhere can be talented.
The growing popularity of Latin, African and Crossover styles illustrates that today’s mainstream music scene is becoming an increasingly global environment.
“We are constantly evolving our technologies and seeing machine learning learning on its own and helping us become more efficient in our processes is very exciting. It helps us see the world as one place,” Kastner said.
Therefore, HITLAB’s AI technology is not intended to remove humanity or the human factor from music, Zgarka assured.
“Our AI might give us strike potential, but then we turn to humans,” he said. “Everything else that makes up the music industry is still, and always will be, driven by human taste.”
For example, while an artist may use HITLAB’s tools as a compass for promotional decisions, the artist’s value proposition, which includes an artist’s branding, identity, and merchandise, are elements informed by human values.
Charisma takes on added importance with the shrinking attention span of today’s audiences in the midst of digitalization.
Microsoft’s attention span research report found that the average human attention span, which was 12 seconds in 2000, fell to eight seconds in 2013, less than the average nine seconds of a goldfish.
“Charisma is sometimes more important in getting noticed,” Kastner said. “If artists can go viral [on social media]then the music can be recognized by the masses.
An imminent IPO
For its next step, the company is preparing to enter the public market to increase its technology investments and support its global efforts.
“AI has suddenly become an appropriate word in all kinds of cultures,” Zgarka said. “As we prepare to become a publicly traded company, it will increasingly become a tool for anyone in the music world to use”
HITLAB, from its initial birth as an R&D company, has now evolved into the HITLAB group of companies which includes HITLAB Music Group (the labels), HITLAB Publishing (the music publishing arm), HITLAB Media (radio channels and television) and HITLAB Fintech (NFT). Web 3 and Metaverse are now also part of its corporate DNA.
Stephanie Ricci contributed to this story.