Bradley Sroka (PhD, ’14) participates in USC research on popular music

Bradley Sroka (PhD, ’14) led a team of USC Thornton graduate students in a project that analyzed the psychology of music and what makes a “hit song.” The researchers analyzed over a thousand No. 1 songs on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 list between 1958 and 2012, in addition to the 1,451 songs that never climbed above No. 90. Sroka’s team found that “every song featured backup vocals, while the songs at the bottom of the charts all excluded background vocals.” Their research has helped add to the understanding of “how musical properties influence preferences.”