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Hit Song Moneyball: Using Songwriting Data to Make Strategic Decisions

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Today’s music industry has become more and more reliant on data for sales, streams, downloads, engagement and other like metrics. Compositional analytics are equally important. Led by Hit Songs Deconstructed Co-Founders Yael and David Penn, this presentation will focus on how compositional data points extracted from hit songs can be strategically used to make songwriting and business decisions. Topics include quantifying gut feelings with factual data, creative approaches to benchmarking, spotting evolving trends, improving communication between executives and creatives, and more.

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Hit Song Moneyball: Using Songwriting Data to Make Strategic Decisions

  1. 1. Hit SongMoneyball: Using Compositional Data to Make Strategic Decisions ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved.
  2. 2. Agenda • Hot 100Top 10Trends&Characteristics (2013-2017+ Q1 2018) • Overall Top10 • Seasonal Trends • Identifyingand Capitalizing on Memes • Creative Benchmarking: CryingInTheClub &Havana
  3. 3. About Hit Songs Deconstructed Hit Songs Deconstructed is a tool to understand today's mainstream music scene at the compositional level
  4. 4. 4 • Songwriters • Producers • Engineers • Labels • Publishers • Universities, educators & students throughout the world Who uses Hit Songs Deconstructed?
  5. 5. Compositional analytics provide insight into the current state of mainstream music at the compositional level. • Leverage seasonal trends • Select a single • Choose the right featured artist • Keep artists, writers and producers ahead of the curve, as the sounds shaping today’s hits continuously evolve • Weave emerging trends into the final mix just prior to a song’s release • Improve communication by referencing factual compositional data • Increase a song’s cross-over potential • Evaluate new artists © 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. 5
  6. 6. They complement craft, talent and tools being used by songwriters, producers, A&Rs and other music industry professionals to make strategic songwriting, production and business decisions. Compositional analytics provide insight into the current state of mainstream music at the compositional level.
  7. 7. Billboard Hot 100 Top 10
  8. 8. Primary Genres
  9. 9. Primary Genres 13© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Top 10: 2013 - 2017 46% Hip Hop in Q1 2018 23% Pop in Q1 2018
  10. 10. Primary Genres 14© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Top 10: 2013 - 2017 Q1 2018 R&B/Soul: 19% Dance/Club/Electronic: 8% Country: 4% Rock: 0% Latin: 0%
  11. 11. Influences
  12. 12. Influences: Hip Hop & Trap 16© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Top 10: 2013 - 2017 85% Hip Hop in Q1 2018 69% Trap in Q1 2018
  13. 13. Influences: R&B/Soul 17© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Top 10: 2013 - 2017 65% Q1 2018
  14. 14. Influences: Electropop 18© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Top 10: 2013 - 2017 38% Electropop Q1 2018
  15. 15. Influences: Retro 19© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (Top 10: 2013 - 2017) 19% Q1 2018
  16. 16. Influences: Retro 20© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (Top 10: 2013 - 2017)
  17. 17. Influences: Tropical 21© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Top 10: 2013 - 2017 12% Q1 2018
  18. 18. Influences: Top 10 Q1 2018 22© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. 85% Hip Hop/Rap, 69% Trap, 65% R&B/Soul , 38% Electropop, 31% Dance/Club, 23% Rock, 19% Retro Influence Types 13 Genres 4 Time Periods 3 Geographic Influences 21 Influences Q1 2018
  19. 19. Seasonal Trends: Top 10 23© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Influences: Dance/Club Vs. Ballads
  20. 20. Lyrical Themes
  21. 21. Lyrical Themes: Top 10 25© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017)
  22. 22. Lyrical Themes: Hip Hop 26© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017)
  23. 23. Lyrical Themes: Hip Hop 27© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017)
  24. 24. Lyrical Themes 28© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (Q1 2018) 11 Lyrical Themes 50% Lifestyle
  25. 25. Seasonal Trends 29© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Lyrical Theme: Inspiration/Empowerment
  26. 26. Seasonal Trends: Top 10 30© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Lyrical Theme: Lifestyle
  27. 27. Lyrical Themes: Hooking Up 31© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Non Hip Hop Genres: Peak in Q2 Hip Hop Genre: Peak in Q4
  28. 28. Instruments
  29. 29. Top 5 Instruments 33© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017)
  30. 30. Instruments 34© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Non Hip Hop Genres
  31. 31. Instruments 35© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Hip Hop
  32. 32. Instruments: Top 10 36© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Acoustic Piano
  33. 33. Tempo
  34. 34. Tempo 38© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017) 87 BPM Average Tempo in Q1 -80: 42% 80-109: 50% 110+: 8%
  35. 35. Tempo: Q1 2018 39© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Non Hip Hop Genre Q1 Average: 97 BPM Hip Hop Genre Q1 Average: 77 BPM
  36. 36. Seasonal Trends 40© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Average Tempo (non-Hip Hop Genres)
  37. 37. Seasonal Trends: Top 10 41© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Average Song Length
  38. 38. Key
  39. 39. Major / Minor 43© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017) 35% Major in Q1 2018 65% Minor in Q1 2018
  40. 40. Major / Minor 44© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Non Hip Hop Genre 57% Minor in Q1 Hip Hop Genre 75% Minor in Q1
  41. 41. Seasonal Trends: Non-Hip Hop 45© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Major vs. Minor
  42. 42. Key: Q1 2018 46© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Non Hip Hop Genre Q1: C Major, C Minor, G Major: 14% of songs, each Hip Hop Genre A Minor: 33% of songs
  43. 43. Key 47© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. A Minor (No Hip Hop) 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 14% 33% 0% 17% 32% 20% 7% 7% 7% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Q3 2016 Q4 2016 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017 Q4 2017 Q1 2018 A Minor Non-Hip Hop Genres Hip Hop
  44. 44. First Chorus Occurrence 48©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved.
  45. 45. First Chorus Occurrence 49© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017) -0:19 & 1:00+ On the rise 0:40 - 0:59 Most Popular in Q1
  46. 46. First Chorus Occurrence 50© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (Q1 2018) 31% 0:01-0:19 23% 0:20-0:39 23% 0:40-0:59 15% 1:00+ Three songs do not contain a chorus: All I Want For Christmas Is You, Diplomatic Immunity, and DNA.
  47. 47. First Chorus Occurrence 51© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (Q2 2017 – Q1 2018) 0:39 0:24 0:17 0:23 0:57 0:45 0:45 0:45 Q2 2017 Q3 2017 Q4 2017 Q1 2018 Hip Hop vs. Non-Hip Hop Genres Hip Hop/Rap Non-Hip Hop Genres
  48. 48. Lead Vocals
  49. 49. Lead Vocal Gender 53© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017) 54% Male Vocals Q1 2018 27% Male/Female Vocals Q1 2018 19% Female Vocals Q1 2018
  50. 50. Seasonal Trends: Top 10 54© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Lead Vocal Gender
  51. 51. Single vs. Multiple Lead Vocalists 55© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017) 54% Q1 2018: Multiple In Q1 2018 multiple lead vocalists surpassed single lead vocalists.
  52. 52. Single vs. Multiple Lead Vocalists 56© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Non Hip Hop Genre Q1 2018 50% featured Multiple Lead Vocalists Hip Hop Genre Q1 2018 58% featured Multiple Lead Vocalists
  53. 53. Lead Vocal Delivery 57© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (2013 - 2017) 46% Q1 2018: Sung & Rapped 42% Q1 2018 Only Sung 12% Q1 2018 Only Rapped
  54. 54. Performing Artists
  55. 55. Single vs. Multiple Credited Artists 59© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (Q1 2018) 54% Q1 2018 54% of the Top 10 had multiple credited artists. (Includes primary and featured artists.) Q1
  56. 56. Featured Artists 60© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. (Q1 2018) 35% Q1 2018
  57. 57. Featured Artist 61© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Non Hip Hop Genre Q1 2018 50% had a featured artist Hip Hop Genre Q1 2018 58% had a featured artist
  58. 58. The Evolution of a Meme
  59. 59. Tropical Influence: Top 10 Reggae, Dancehall, TropHouse, Reggaeton andLatin ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 63
  60. 60. 64© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Entered the Top 10 Rude Cheerleader WhatDoUMean WhereAreUNow,LockedAway Sorry Work OneDance TreatYouBetter,WeDon’tTalk Anymore,Ride,Coldwater, CheapThrills Don’tWannaKnow, LetMeLoveYou,SideToSide ChainedtotheRhythm,Rockabye, ShapeOfYou Despacito,I'mtheOne iSpy,Passionfruit There'sNothingHoldingMeBack, ReadyforIt,WildThoughts,Unforgettable Havana MiGente SaySomething,NewRules ILikeIt #1 Hits Top 10 Hits
  61. 61. Tropical Influences 65© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Rude Cheerleader WhereAreUNow Sorry Despacito WildThoughts MiGente NewRules Reggae Trop House Dancehall Reggeaton Latin LockedAway WhatDoUMean Havana #1 Hits Top 10 Hits
  62. 62. Non-Tropical Influences 66© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Rude WhatDoUMean LockedAway,WhereAreUNow Havana MiGente Reggae Trap House Dancehall Reggeaton Latin Electropop R&BPop/Rock Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Pop Rock Work OneDance TreatYouBetter, WeDon’tTalkAnymore, CheapThrills Don’tWannaKnow ShapeOfYou iSpy Unforgettable ILikeIt R&B Hip Hop Hip Hop #1 Hits Top 10 Hits
  63. 63. Instruments 67© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Rude Cheerleader WhatDoUMean WhereAreUNow,LockedAway Sorry OneDance TreatYouBetter, WeDon’tTalkAnymore Coldwater SideToSide Rockabye, ShapeOfYou Despacito, There'sNothingHoldingMeBack Havana SaySomething ILikeIt Electric Guitar Acoustic Piano Synth Accoustic Guitar Snaps Mallets/ Mallet-esque Electric Guitar Electric Guitar Acoustic Piano Accoustic Guitar Accoustic Guitar Snaps CheapThrills Don’tWannaKnow LetMeLoveYou, I'mtheOne WildThoughts #1 Hits Top 10 Hits
  64. 64. Featured Artists 68© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. WHERE ARE YOU NOW Skrillex featuring Justin Bieber WORK Rihanna featuring Drake LET ME LOVE YOU DJ Snake featuring Justin Bieber DON’T WANNA KNOW Marron 5 featuring Kendrick Lamar CHAINED TO THE RHYTHM Katie Perry featuring Skip Marely ROCKABYE Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie & Sean Paul DESPACITO Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi featuring Justin Bieber I’M THE ONE DJ Khaled featuring Lil Wayne, Chance The Rapper and Quavo MI GENTE J Balvin & Willy Wiliam featuring Beyonce LOCKED AWAY R.City featuring Adam Levine CHEAP THRILLS Sia featuring Sean Paul COLDWATER Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber WILD THOUGHTS DJ Khaled featuring Bryson Tiller & Rihanna I LIKE IT Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny, J Balvin
  65. 65. Lead Vocal Gender 69© 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. Rude Cheerleader WhereAreUNow,LockedAway, WhatDoUMean Sorry Work OneDance CheapThrills,Ride, Coldwater,TreatYouBetter, WeDon’tTalkAnymore LetMeLoveYou,SideTo Side,Don’tWannaKnow ShapeOfYou Rockabye,ChainedtotheRhythm iSpy,Passionfruit, Despacito,I'mtheOne WildThoughts,Unforgettable, There'sNothingHoldingMeBack, ReadyforIt MiGente, Havana NewRules,SaySomething ILikeIt Solo Male D/G Female / Male D/G Male Solo Male D/G Female D/G Female / Male D/G Female / Male D/G Female / Male D/G Male D/G Male D/G Male Solo Female Solo Female #1 Hits Top 10 Hits
  66. 66. Lead Vocal Delivery 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 0 1 4 1 1 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 2 3 3 2 0 1 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Only Sung Sung / Rapped © 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. 70
  67. 67. Key (Major vs. Minor) © 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. 71
  68. 68. Maroon 5
  69. 69. Maroon 5: Electric Guitar,Rock, Reggae & Police Influence & Gospel ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 73 ● Gospel ● World (Tropical-Reggae) Maps
  70. 70. Maroon 5: Retro 1980’s, Funk & Disco ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 74 ● Disco ● Funk ● Retro 80’s
  71. 71. Adam Levine: Reggae &Dancehall ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 75 ● World (Tropical-Dancehall) ● World (Tropical-Reggae) LockedAway
  72. 72. Maroon 5: Dancehall, TropHouse, Hip Hop ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 76 ● Dancehall ● Trop House ● Hip Hop Don’tWannaKnow
  73. 73. Maroon 5: R&B ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 77 ● R&B/Soul WhatLoversDo
  74. 74. Maroon 5: Snaps ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 78 ● Snaps WhatLoversDo
  75. 75. Benchmarking Crying InTheClubvs.Havana
  76. 76. CryingInThe Clubwasreleased inMay 2017(endofQ2) Havana was releasedin September2017(endofQ3) Influences Crying in the Club Despacito • #1 Hit (Q2) • Genre: Latin • 25 Weeks in the Top 10 Wild Thoughts • #2 Hit • Genre: R&B/Soul • 13 Weeks in the Top 10 Havana Enters • #1 Hit • Genre: Pop • 23 Weeks in the Top 10 ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 80 ● Electropop ● Dance/Club ● Dancehall ● Trop House ● Hip Hop ● Trap ● Dancehall ● Latin CryingIn The Club vs. Havana
  77. 77. CryingInThe Clubwasreleased inMay 2017(endofQ2) Havana was releasedin September2017(endofQ3) Instruments ● Bass (Synth) ● Guitar (Electric) ● Mallets ● Synth (Non Bass) ● Bass (Synth) ● Claps (All) ● Piano (Acoustic) ● Wind (Brass Section) ● Wind (Trumpet) Crying In The Club Released Havana Released ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 81 CryingIn The Club vs. Havana
  78. 78. First Chorus © 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. 82 ● Chorus precedes First Verse ● Chorus does not precede First Verse Crying In The Club vs. Havana
  79. 79. First Chorus © 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. 83 ● Chorus precedes First Verse ● Chorus does not precede First Verse Crying In The Club vs. Havana
  80. 80. Vocal Delivery © 2010-2018 Hit Songs Deconstructed. All rights reserved. 84 Crying In The Club Sung ● Only Sung ● Sung / Rapped Havana Sung and Rapped Crying In The Club vs. Havana
  81. 81. Threesong title vocal hooks: • Titlehook (3x chorus) • Nonsense/titlehook (2x postchorus) • Titlehook variation(2x VB3) • Interpolatednonsensevocalhook (Genie InA Bottle) Hook Comparison ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 85 CryingIn The Club
  82. 82. Assorted vocal &instrumentalhooks: • 75 “na’s”featuredindifferenthookpairings,includingthe title • “Oou”melismashowsoff Cabello’s vocalchops • Trumpetreinforcesthe “oou”melismamelodyinafresh manner Hook Comparison ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 86 Havana
  83. 83. CryingInTheClub • Darkvibeconflictswiththe tropicalinfluenceand inspiration/ empowermentthemed lyrics Crying In The Club vs. Havana: Prosody Havana • Latin&HipHopjibewiththe protagonist&antagonist • Vocalseffectivelyaccentuatethelonging& hurtinthe lyrics ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 87 CryingIn The Club vs. Havana
  84. 84. BennyBlanco & Sia aretwo of the co-writers • BennyBlancoco-wroteMaroon5’s2016TropicalHit,Don’tWannaKnow(malletcommonalitywithCryingInThe Club) • Siaco-wroteher2016#1Tropicalhit,CheapThrills(many commonalitieswithCryingInTheClub) Writing Team & Other Artist Commonalities ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 88 CryingIn The Club
  85. 85. CRYING CHEAP THRILLS Influence Dance/Club x x Influence Electropop x x Influence Hip Hop x x Influence R&B x x Influence Tropical x x Vocals Delivery Sung Vocals x x Vocal Gender *Female (Part of F/M duet) x x Vocal Style Both feature a similar vocal style x x Key Key (F# Minor) x x Instruments Mallets x Perc. Synth Tempo 80-109 Tempo x x Lyrics Partying/Living It Up x x CryingIn The Club &Cheap Thrills Commonalities Writing Team & Other Artist Commonalities ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 89
  86. 86. CryingInTheClub (Possible Issues) • Intunewiththesoundof2016 • Similaritiesto Sia’sCheapThrills • Compositionaltrendsindecline • Malletsarebynowfamiliar(helpstoblendinbutnot standout) • Prosody issues • Lackof uniquesoundinghooks Summary Havana (Strengths) • Compositionaltrendsonthe rise • Effectivefeaturedartist • Blendin/standout throughinstrumentation • Familiar/ uniquevocal& instrumentalhooks • EnabledCabellotostandout from thepack • Natural&organic ©2010-2018 HitSongs Deconstructed. Allrightsreserved. 90 CryingIn The Club vs. Havana
  87. 87. What’s Driving the Billboard Hot 100Top 10?

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