Finally, an Algorithm That Tells You Whether or Not a Song’s a Banger

Of course YOU don’t need it. It’s for other people.

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May 31 2015, 10:00am

Image: claire rowland/Flickr

Let's say you find yourself DJing at a prom or wedding for a sadistic oil plutocrat with no hope of escape, when his son announces that you must play only bangers from here on out, or his falcon will rip your ears off. What do you do? What do you do?

Simple, dude. Just run whatever you're going to play through isitabangr.com and your ears are safe; a 19-year-old developer in Utah named Derek Dapp has, for some reason, made a website for this exact situation.

I emailed Dapp to find out how this all worked and try to figure out why. As for so many, Dapp's muse was Aziz Ansari's character, Tom Haverford, from Parks and Recreation, who boasted that he only downloads bangers. A song's banger status is determined according to a formula which accounts for beats per minute, number and dopeness of drops, and a complete absence of acoustic instruments.

Being a real person in the real world, Dapp decided to cut to the quick and tap an audio fingerprinting service called the Echonest, which "companies like Spotify and Rdio use to generate similar music/station playlists and such," he says.

IsItaBangr makes a call to the Echonest API to check a song's "energy, danceability, tempo, and acousticness," and compares the results to a set of known bangers that Dapp already entered. Apparently that last part was really tedious, but Dapp said, "it was really fun to make and mess with new things like the Echonest and Spotify APIs. 10/10 would do again." If you're the type of person who likes looking at code you've probably already found it here.

Just in case the missing letter "e" didn't clue you in, IsItaBangr isn't Dapp's first rodeo. He also pioneered the—presumably really addictive and popular—Android game "Cat or Dog" which tests one's ability to identify cats or dogs in pictures. He understands the internet.

Another great thing about IsItaBangr is that computers are finally taking self-appointed jobs from those people who feel it's their duty to determine whether or not something's a banger, which is disruption we can all endorse.