"Some people describe a hit song as a brain itch," reads the corporate literature for the Music X-Ray, a new service that mathematically analyzes songs for musicians and record labels (for a fee, of course), to determine how statistically likely it is that they'll be a hit -- and scratch that itch for the masses. The way the X-Ray works is this: most hit songs supposedly conform to a limited number of mathematical patterns -- patterns so subtle that only a computer (and X-Ray's fancy proprietary software) can detect and analyze them. The way it works is this: you submit your song to the X-Ray, and you get back a report that rates your song on a scale from Platinum ("Smash hit sound!") to Copper ("No hit"), and for a cool $100 you can even get a (theoretically less robotic) A&R executive's opinion. A disclaimer on their website counsels that a low grade doesn't mean your song doesn't "sound" like a hit -- just that it would be "seriously challenged to perform well in the market." For those of you who thinking that this all sounds a little absurd and very un-rock, beware: before long you can bet that our already programmed-to-be-popular hits will be X-Rayed, as well.