A computer programme could soon be challenging music tycoon Simon Cowell's reputation for picking hits.
Scientists at the University of Bristol have come up with a "hit potential equation" that can predict a top five hit with 60pc accuracy.
The formula brings together musical features such as tempo, timing, song duration, loudness and chord and harmonic complexity.
Run through a computer, it produces a score that indicates whether a song will reach the top of the UK singles charts or never rise above position 30 or 40. Researchers used artificial intelligence software to analyse 50 years of top 40 singles.