I couldn’t put it any better.
There is an old adage that to be an expert in any field you need to clock in 10,000 hours.
It took Diane Warren ten years to make her first cut. She writes up to three songs a day.
It normally took Ralph Murphy to write three hundred songs in order to get just one hit.
These guys are “A” list songwriters. If you want to join their ranks, this is what it takes if you are serious about becoming a successful hit songwriter in today’s market.
After all, you do love what you do – creating music – right? So write, write, and write again.
Successful Hit SongWriting 2012
Song Introductions Matter Most
by David Brogan (c) 2012
- A song starts at the beginning – This is the single most important element to consider for today’s potential hit songwriter. Glaringly obvious we might say, but there are still those who would have you thinking otherwise. They would have you believe that the song’s single most important element still remains in either the chorus, the title, or the song’s major hook – (if this is not the title itself). In the past when radio and television ruled the airwaves, this advice was most probably correct. But things have changed recently.
- Write songs that are primarily Internet friendly – not Radio friendly. The rules have changed. Audiences are now primarily searching for and listening to their music online – Youtube, Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, ReverbNation, Myspace, and a variety of other social media platforms. The major difference from traditionally listening to songs on the radio in the past is that internet based songs today all stream from the beginning. This is of huge significance for today’s potential hit songwriters and has a fundamental impact on considering our initial process of writing hit songs. On the radio or television, we can turn on and tune in at any stage of the song – intro, verse, chorus, bridge, et cetera, – not so with the internet – Songs start at the start.
- Seven seconds – to grab the listener’s attention. Initial attention span on Youtube is seven seconds, on Twitter it is two seconds. If we haven’t grabbed our audience’s attention in the first seven seconds, we have lost them. Once they are gone, they stay gone – we don’t get a second chance. Ten years ago the average hit song introduction was 15 seconds, now it is 7.1 seconds. One in four hit songs today don’t have an intro at all. Whilst titles, choruses, and hooks all remain major strategic and organic song elements, if song introductions don’t excel at making those ultra-important first impressions, listeners will not hang around.
- History repeats itself – Hear Ye! Hear Ye! It could be argued that today’s hit songs have their roots way back in the day when travelling minstrels and town criers would announce the current ‘hits’ to their audiences. Their news began with no long introduction, it was the headlines first – maximum impact – and then expansion on the main story. Neither did the news begin on a fade in. Think of how television news programmes today begin on any major network.
- What does this mean for us? – Here are my Rule One suggestions based on today’s current trends and tomorrow’s songs.
- Forget about fade ins completely and long introductions – maximum length is now 7 seconds.
- Consider dropping the song intro completely – one in four hits today do this.
- Begin with the Title itself, the Chorus, or a Major hook (think Dr.Luke‘s Gary Glitter type drums on Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl)
- Go for maximum impact – Headlines first! Forget the softly-softly approach. Introduce contrast when you begin the first verse.
- Keep instrumental only intros to 2 – 4 bars maximum.
- Don’t take my word for it. Please do your own research. Check out the current top 10 pop, rock, or country hits on any search engine (although remember that Country music historically has longer intros than either pop or rock songs).
To recap – RULE ONE – If you are keen to join the ranks of the top commercial hit songwriters today – Start at the start.
How to Write Successful Hit Commercial Songs Video
Please feel free to redistribute this article. I only ask that you acknowledge David Brogan as the author. Email me!
Posted in Songwriting, Uncategorized
Tagged 2012, hits, music, new, pop, songs, songwriter, songwriting, successful, tips