Finding an artist’s peak year

Many people have asked us here at the Echo Nest if, given our extensive musical data intelligence, we could potentially predict what artists will be popular in the future.  While we believe that this is certainly within our capabilities, we see it as the final step in a long process.

So what’s the first step?  To properly predict the future, we must first fully understand the past.  To understand what artists will peak in the future, we must first figure out when current or past artists have peaked. Today marks the completion of this first step, culminating in the release of our artist/peak API:

http://developer.echonest.com/api/v4/artist/peak?name=The+Beatles&api_key=N6E4NIOVYMTHNDM8J

With this call you can see that the Beatles’s Peak year would have been 1977.

Given an artist, we will return the specific year in which they peaked:

  • In most cases, though, the peak year will occur within the artist’s active years.
  • In some cases, the year is prior to their active years, which we interpret as meaning that they were simply “late to the party”
  • In other cases, the year is after their active years, which we interpret as meaning that these artists were ahead of their time, and that they ended their career too early.

With this new API call we can find out all sorts of things about music. Bieber peaked before he joined a label, The Beatles, Nirvana and Hendrix all stopped performing too soon, Metallica’s zenith was the Black Album, and Van Halen peaked after David Lee Roth left the band.

Join us in exploring the first concrete step in predictive analysis of popular music. If we’ve piqued your curiosity, take a peek at the peak method.

Shoutout to Mark Stoughton, chief of Q/A at The Echo Nest for  architecting this find addition to our API.

Update – this API method is only available on April 1.

  1. #1 by Arijit Biswas on April 3, 2011 - 10:46 am

    Nice :-)

  2. #2 by Bruce Warila on April 4, 2011 - 4:09 pm

    Ahh.. Popularity potential predicting as a long term plan.. Did I just read that?

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