OMI's 'Cheerleader' Will Be Billboard's Next No. 1 Hit, According to Shazam
Shazam knows the hits before they happen, according to a recent talk given by the company's VP of product Cait O'Riordan.
Using the data Shazam gathers from its 100 million active users, O'Riordan said that based on previous pop hits, Jamaican singer OMI's quickly rising "Cheerleader" is going to be the next ruler of the Hot 100. In two weeks on the chart, "Cheerleader" has already gone from No. 95 to No. 63 -- so they might just be on to something.
One of the examples used to show Shazam's predictive powers was U.K. group Clean Bandit, whose hit "Rather Be" peaked on Shazam charts prior to taking over European and eventually U.S. radio. "Thirty-three days out, we can predict Billboard No. 1 hits," O'Riordan insists, explaining that the correlation between radio airplay and the initiative people have to take to use Shazam to identify the song -- it's unlikely they'll make the effort if it's not something they like -- can effectively test just how catchy it really is.
The data is powerful enough to predict hits within even a few hours -- comparing Katy Perry's "Roar" and Lady Gaga's "Applause" (released at roughly the same time, with a similar amount of radio play) shows that Perry was far ahead in the number of Shazams "Roar" evoked from the start, and went on to be a much bigger hit. The increasing number of surprise releases also provokes people to pull out their phones as they try to figure out what's playing. Rihanna's "B---- Better Have My Money," for example, was Shazamed over 60,000 times in the first 24 hours after its release.
Another interesting variable is seeing exactly when people try to identify the song. Most pop hits get Shazamed within the first minute, demonstrating the importance of a solid hook -- for others, like O.T. Genasis' "CoCo," the most interesting parts are in the middle of the song ("Baking soda, I got baking soda"). Using that statistic (which part of a song is most Shazamed), Nicki Minaj has the best verse on Kanye West's "Monster" (which most of us knew already), with substantially more people trying to identify the track during her verse.
Watch the full lecture below: