February 11, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Best Grammy Prediction Data: Shazam or Spotify?

shazam_spotify_grammy_awards

Spotify and Shazam released Grammy predictions before the big awards show last night, based on their music service and music ID apps, respectively. People use Spotify to listen to music, and Shazam to identify songs that are playing, or to show off to their friends that they are hearing that song, according to what Shazam has told us.

So, which one is better at using data to predict which artists will win? In other words, can these services prove that members of the Recording Academy (the ones who vote on the Grammy Awards) are like the rest of us? The short story: Both service”s data correlate pretty strongly to the winners, across a variety of categories. They were both right about two thirds of the time, which is pretty amazing, considering how many nominees there are in each category. In other words, the correlation is way, way better than random.

The Recording Academy, whose members vote to determine the winners, is a building.

Yes, we realize that this is an unfair, sort of weird comparison by its very nature. There are 81 freaking categoriesin the Grammy Awards, although only eight of them were announced live last night. Out of those, Shazam and Spotify made predictions about only some –  and they chose which ones, although of course both wanted to cover the bigger ones like song of the year.

Still, this is interesting, because it shows that not only do the supposedly-qualitative Grammy Awards often correlate to who moved the most units, but also to which artists attracted the most plays on Spotify and tags on Shazam. In other words, members of the Recording Academy are, well, a lot like the rest of us.

Spotify: 4/6 Correct Predictions (67 Percent Accuracy)

Four of the six predictions Spotify made based on its listening data were on the money:

Album of the Year
The Black Keys – El Camino
Fun. – Some Nights
–> Mumford & Sons – Babel
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Jack White – Blunderbuss

Record of the Year
The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy”
Kelly Clarkson – “Stronger”
Fun. feat. Janelle Monae – “We Are Young”
–>  Gotye feat. Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used to Know”
Frank Ocean – “Thinkin Bout You”
Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Best New Artist
Alabama Shakes
Fun.
Hunter Hayes
–>  The Lumineers
Frank Ocean

Best Country Song
–>  Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”
Ronnie Dunn -”Cost of Livin’ ”
Eli Young Band – “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”
Alan Jackson – “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”
Eric Church – “Springsteen”

Best Pop Solo Performance
Adele – “Set Fire to the Rain (Live)”
Kelly Clarkson – “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
–>  Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”
Katy Perry – “Wide Awake”
Rihanna – “Where Have You Been”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Florence and the Machine – “Shake It Out”
Fun. – “We Are Young”
–> Gotye feat. Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used to Know”
LMFAO – “Sexy and I Know It”
Maroon 5 – “Payphone”

Shazam: 11/16 Correct Predictions (69 Percent Accuracy)

Shazam predicted before the Grammy Awards that Fun. would stun Carly Rae Jepsen to claim song of the year and win best new artist, and that Gotye would win record of the year, for starters:

“Shazam’s tagging data accurately predicted the majority of winners at last night’s Grammys ceremony,” emailed a Shazam spokeswoman today, “including a whopping three of the four top awards, three of the five genre performance categories and four of the seven best songs by genre.”

· “For album of the year, Fun’s ‘Some Nights’ (calculated as the sum of the individual tags for each song on the album) received more than six and a half times the number of tags than the second most tagged album in the category, The Black Keys’ ‘El Camino.’ [Mumford & Sons won Album of the Year, so we're not sure how this applies.]

· “The band [Fun.] as a whole received nearly eight times the amount of tags as Hunter Hayes to in the Best New Artist Category. Their hit single, ‘We Are Young,’ has more than double the amount of tags of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ in the Song of the Year Category. ‘We Are Young’ was the second most tagged song on all using Shazam in 2012.

· “For Record Of The Year, Gotye’s viral YouTube sensation and Shazam’s most tagged song in 2012, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know,’ had nearly twice the amount of tags as ‘We Are Young.’

· “Time is on both Gotye and fun.’s side[s]. Both of their hit singles debuted before the Grammy eligibility period (October 1, 2011 to January 16, 2013), but their popularity soared throughout the year, allowing more time for listeners to discover them.

· Alternatively, Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ debuted August 13 2012, giving it a relatively much shorter window of opportunity to accumulate tags.

Shazam also sent over this chart:

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Shazam US Tag Volume for GRAMMY Nominees

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Time period: Oct 1, 2011 to Jan 2013 ( which is the beginning of the eligibility period to the end of the voting period)

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Record Of The Year Tag Volume Indexed to Most Tagged

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Gotye – Someone I used to know (#1 2012 most tagged) 100 Winner

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Fun – We Are Young (#2 2012 most tagged) 56

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Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) 14

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Taylor Swift – We Are Never….. 7

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Black Keys – Lonely Boy 4

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Frank Ocean – Thinkin’ Bout You (2012 to Watch) 4

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Album Of The Year Tag Volume Indexed to Most Tagged

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Fun – Some Nights 100  Pick

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Black Keys – El Camino 15

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Frank Ocean – Channel Orange 5

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Mumford & Sons – Babel 3 Winner

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Jack White – Blunderbuss 2

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Song Of The Year Tag Volume Indexed to Most Tagged

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Fun – We Are Young 100 Winner

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Carley Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe 44

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Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) 25

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Ed Sheeran – The A Team 14

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Miguel – Adorn 10

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Best New Artist Tag Volume Indexed to Most Tagged

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Fun (#2 2012 most tagged) 100 Winner

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Hunter Hayes 13

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The Lumineers (Shazam Spotlight Artist) 12

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Frank Ocean (2012 to Watch) 9

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Alabama Shakes 3

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Genre Performance Categories Most tagged song in each category

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Best Pop Solo Performance #1 is  Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe (It is #3 in 2012 most tagged) Winner is Adele with Set Fire to the Rain

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Best Pop Duo/ Group Performance #1 is Gotye – Someone I used to know (#1 2012 most tagged) Winner

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Best Dance Recording #1 is Calvin Harris Featuring Ne-Yo – Let’s Go Winner is Bangarang by Skrillex Featuring Sirah

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Best R&B Performance #1 is Usher – Climax Winner

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Best Rap Performance #1 is Jay-Z & Kanye West – N***s In Paris Winner

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Best Songs Most tagged song in each category

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Best Rock Song #1 is The Black Keys – Lonely Boy Winner

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Best R&B Song #1 is Trey Songz – Heart Attack Adorn by Miguel

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Best Rap Song #1 is Jay-Z & Kanye West – N***s In Paris Winner

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Best Country Song #1 is Eli Young Band – Even If It Breaks Your Heart Blown Away, Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)

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Best Gospel Song #1 is Mary Mary – Go Get It Winner

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Best Contemporary Christian Music Song #1 is Casting Crowns – Jesus, Friend Of Sinners Tie — 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) and Your Presence is Heaven

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Best Song Written For Visual Media #1 is Taylor Swift Featuring The Civil Wars – Safe & Sound Winner

Conclusion

The Grammy Awards correlate fairly strongly to what people are listening to (Spotify) and curious about or proud to be listening to (Shazam).

Given that one of Shazam’s predictions was of a tie, we score this contest a dead heat.

(Photo courtesy of Grammy.org)