The Pound Of Music

Recent global events have affected all industries – and arguably, no harder than the music industry. Festivals like Glastonbury, Tramlines and Reading & Leeds have  been cancelled, album launch dates have been postponed and more events are now taking place online as the world gets used to ‘the new normal’.

This pause in proceedings has allowed musicians to take stock and focus their time on penning new material to release in the months and years to come.

So, as the first summer of the decade approaches, we crunched the numbers to predict what sort of songs might top the charts once we get to hear these new releases.

What makes a successful chart topper?

The interactive chart from the statisticians at Betway’s Online Casino showcases the 20 songs that have spent the most time at No. 1 in each country, as well as the different characteristics of each track.

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The technical elements of a song

To identify the characteristics of the most successful songs, we decided to look at three specific metrics to create the ultimate formula for each country.

  • Key
    • The key is the major or minor scale around which a piece of music is based, with a major key based on a major scale and vice versa. A song played in the key of C major, for example is based around the seven notes of the C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A and B). The notes determined by the key make up a song’s melody, chords and baseline.
  • Tempo
    • Measured in beats per minute (BPM), the tempo of a track provides the speed of the underlying beat of a song. It is similar to a heartbeat, since tempo provides the ‘pulse’ of the music. For example, one beat per second would equate to 60BPM, with two beats a second being 120BPM. A basic guide to what each speed typically sounds like can be found here.
  • Time Signature
    • Also referred to as metre signature, the time signature of a song specifies how many beats are contained in each bar (measure) of a song and which note value is equivalent to a beat. The most common time signature in popular music is 4/4, which is often used in pop, rock, blues, country and funk tracks.

How do these songs make us feel?

But the technical elements of a song only tell half the story. Equally critical to the success of a track in the way it makes the listeners feel. That is what will ultimately dictate how many sales it delivers.

We therefore also used Tunebat to discover how ‘energetic’ and ‘danceable’ each track was to see if there were any noticeable trends across different countries. Were dance tracks more likely to get you to No. 1 in the UK than the USA, for example?

The definitions for the these two measures are as follows:

  • Energy
    • Measured on a scale from 1 to 100 (with 100 being the most energetic), ‘energy’ represents a perceptual measure of intensity and activity. These types of track feel fast, loud and noisy. For example, death metal music has high energy, while a Bach prelude would score towards the bottom of the scale. For the music experts among you, the features contributing to this score include dynamic range, perceived loudness, onset rage and general entropy.
  • Danceability
    • Measured on a scale from 1 to 100 (with 100 being the most ‘danceable’), ‘danceability’’ depicts how suitable a track is for dancing to based on a combination of musical elements including tempo, rhythm stability, beat strength and overall regularity.

Created by our friends at Betway.

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