Now, software that can spot 'next great music superstar'

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Washington, Dec 9 (ANI): Want to know whether you'll make it big like Madonna, Britney Spears or King of pop Michael Jackson? Well, researchers from Tel Aviv University's School of Electrical Engineering have developed software that, they claim, can predict future hit artists.

Lead researcher Professor Yuval Shavitt, of Tel Aviv University's School of Electrical Engineering, has developed a computer algorithm that can spot an emerging artist several weeks or months before national success hits.

"Until now, talent scouts for record companies used instinct to predict the next rock personality," said Shavitt.

"Our software has an astonishing success rate about 30pct, and in some cases up to 50pct. We've crossed a new frontier in the record business," he added.

For developing the algorithm, the researchers examined a large amount of data from collected from Gnutella, the most popular peer-to-peer file-sharing network in America.

They looked at the user queries for unknown artists over a nine-month period during 2007.

By examining the first 6 months' worth of data, and then using the remaining 3 months' data to track the increasing popularity of those artists, they developed a system to predict which artists would break out of their local markets.

"The key was understanding the role of geography in the rising popularity of these artists," said Shavitt.

They realized that those artists who eventually made it to the national level first had a huge number of user queries in their local region, even when they had zero queries from elsewhere in the United States.

The numbers for new artists started small, often with 5, then 20, then 150 queries within the artist's home city each week, sometimes localized even to a specific urban neighbourhood.

Soulja Boy ("Crank That") and Sean Kingston ("Temperature") were both flagged by Prof. Shavitt's system in April 2007, weeks before they emerged into the national spotlight. Both songs became Billboard hits when they entered the charts in June of that year.

Shavitt hopes that his software could become a profitable tool for music producers and record labels and a boon to young people who want to be in the know. (ANI)

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