Tech company HITLAB is shaking up the music industry

HITLAB President and CEO Michel Zgarka, left, and Julia Kastner, HITLAB Director of Marketing and Business Development, right. (Photo: Christina Esteban — courtesy)

GUEST BLOG. From consumer behavior to upcoming trends, data can be a gold mine of useful information to guide business decisions. But what is there to discover when exploring a song’s data? According to AI-based music tech company HITLAB, machine learning is revolutionizing the music industry.

“When we created our algorithm, everyone in the music industry thought we were crazy, too ahead of our time, or just trying to get rid of A&R [Artists and Repertoire, NDLR]says HITLAB President and CEO Michel Zgarka, who has over 35 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry.

Based in Montreal, HITLAB started out as an R&D company entirely dedicated to using artificial intelligence to analyze the hit potential of songs and voice quality. Today, the digital media and AI company uses patented technology to transform the way entertainment content is discovered, produced and consumed.

“Our scientists have determined that any song, in any language and any musical genre, is made up of 84 mathematical parameters”, specifies Michel Zgarka.

By studying these metrics, the HITLAB Music Digital Nuance Analysis (DNA) tool is able to rank and predict a song’s potential, leverage current trends and engage consumers. The company uses historical databases of millions of hits and less successful songs from major global charts analyzed daily, which then allows it to identify and compare audiences and trends specific to each region, explains Michel Zgarka.

“HITLAB AI has integrated and analyzed the greatest hits of the past 15 years,” reports Julia Kastner, Director of Marketing and Business Development at HITLAB. “We can also tell which song is most likely to become a hit in 2022 in a specific genre, language or region of the world.”

Last year, the company launched an emerging artist showcase of digital works, where artists could upload their songs for a chance to sign with a record label. The platform was initially launched in Africa, a deliberate decision, specifies Michel Zgarka.

“We wanted to show the typical North American that he’s not the king of the world when it comes to music,” he says. “We call ourselves Talents Without Borders, and we strive to show that talent has absolutely no color. Anyone, anywhere can be talented.

The growing popularity of Latin, African and crossover illustrates that today’s mainstream music scene is becoming an increasingly global environment.

“We are constantly evolving our technologies and seeing machine learning learning on its own and helping us become more efficient in our processes is very exciting. It helps us see the world as a microcosm,” says Julia Kastner.

Therefore, HITLAB’s AI technology is not intended to remove humanity or the human factor from music, assures Michel Zgarka.

“Our AI might give us potential for success, but then we hand over to humans,” he says. “Everything else that makes up the music industry is still, and always will be, driven by the taste of music lovers.”

For example, while an artist can use HITLAB’s tools as a compass for their promotional decisions, the artist’s value proposition, which includes brand, identity and merchandising, is an evidence-based element. human values.

Charisma is all the more important as the attention span of today’s audiences is reduced in a context of digitization.

A study conducted by Microsoft reveals that the average human attention span, which was 12 seconds in 2000, fell to eight seconds in 2013 — less than a goldfish’s average of nine seconds.

“Sometimes you need to have more charisma to get noticed,” says Julia Kastner. “If artists can go viral [sur les médias sociaux]then the music can be recognized by the masses.”

An imminent IPO

For its next step, the company is preparing to enter the public market in order to increase technology investments and support its global projects.

“AI has suddenly become an accepted term in different cultures,” adds Michel Zgarka. “As we prepare to become a publicly traded company, it will increasingly become a tool for anyone in the music business to use.”

HITLAB, which was originally just an R&D company, has evolved into the HITLAB group of companies, which includes HITLAB Music Group (the labels), HITLAB Publishing (the music publishing arm), HITLAB Media (the radio and television channels) and HITLAB Fintech (NFT). Web3 and the metaverse are now also part of the company’s DNA.

Karl Moore and Stephanie Ricci. Karl is an Associate Professor in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. Stéphanie is a journalism student at Concordia University.

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