Study: Teens Can Predict Music Stiffs ... And A Few Hits
June 16, 2011 at 11:49 AM (PT)
Teenagers may have the ability to predicting the hits or misses of popular music, according to an admittedly "small study" whose results were printed in the JOURNAL OF CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY. Scientists recruited 27 adolescents, ages 12-17, who listened to 60 15-second clips of songs from largely unknown artists found on MYSPACE -- whose style of music were favored by each respondent.
Each teen listened to a clip of either the hook or chorus of each song while researchers recorded their reactions using brain-imaging scans. The teens also rated how much they liked the music on a scale of one to five stars. Three years after the scanning, the scientists compiled the sales data for each song.
"Although the teens' tastes in music from their likability ratings showed no link to a song's commercial success, their brain scans told another story," MSNBC reports. "Activity in the ventral striatum -- the brain's reward region -- was predictive of future sales figures and popularity."
"We found that when an area of the brain associated with reward and anticipation was active while listening to the song, chances were greater that the song would eventually go on to sell more than 20,000 units," EMORY UNIVERSITY Center for Neuropolicy Director and neuroeconomist DR. GREGORY BERNS told MSNBC..
About one-third of the teens brain images predicted songs that would sell at least 20,000 units, while "nearly 90% of the songs that showed a weak response in the brain's reward region had tepid sales."
Although most of the study's songs weren't hits, but three of the hits went Gold hits -- "Apologize" by ONEREPUBLIC and two Country cuts, "Don't Laugh at Me" by MARK WILLS and "Drink, Swear, Steal, and Lie" by MICHAEL PETERSON. However, none of these three songs made the teens' top 10 in eliciting brain activation.
"The fact that there was any predictive power at all was surprising," BERNS noted. "There are so many songs released each year and so few hits, that the odds were stacked against us."