Sparked by academic curiosity, they wanted to show a music audience the potential of the machine learning method. Machine learning is a set of artificial intelligence tools to allow the computer to learn from examples. De Bie explains how, ‘The computer is able to look at the chart to see the songs that are at the top and at the bottom and learns how to distinguish them, based on the examples, so we never have to explain to the computer how to distinguish them. That’s the power of machine learning.’
Extracting a range of features from the audio input, such as the duration of the song, the tempo, how simple the song is from a musical perspective, they then can be turned into a numerical value. Then the machine learning method looks at all those sets of feature values for all the songs in the top 40 charts. As each feature value and chart position is calculated, the equation becomes more refined.