Let’s be real – there’s not really a blueprint to writing a hit record. It’s an extremely tough thing to do. And of the thousands of songs put out every day, an extremely tiny amount manage to rise to the top. To be fair, not everybody wants to make mainstream music that reaches the masses. But if you do, there’s one way to increase the odds of creating that next hit song.
Analyze current hits, and incorporate the same trends into your music. So, in this article, we’re going to dissect modern music to see what makes a hit in 2018. If you’ve never sat and analyzed music, it’s one of the most eye-opening and useful exercises a musician or music producer could do. But it does take a lot of time to do properly. Thankfully, there’s a great service called Hit Songs Deconstructed that analyzes all the hit music out there and boils it all down for you into different reports. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Song Structure and Arrangement
Most songs that really popped in 2018 followed some of the same arrangement “rules” that have been popular in music for a while. In short, the arrangement of a song satisfies our culture of the “quick fix.”. For example, a lot of modern hit songs tend to only be 3 minutes to 3:30 in length. Sure, that could be a hold-over from the “radio era,” but it’s still relevant today. In the age of unlimited distractions and choices, we move fast.
Want more proof of this? Check out song intros.
You won’t hear an intro that lasts more than approximately 15 seconds in music that charts well. And in a lot of cases after the intro you get the first chorus. That’s because you don’t have long to hook a listener nowadays. With so much music out we need to know if we like the song or not, NOW. If a song does start off with a verse instead of a chorus after the intro, you’ll notice that the first chorus will always come in within 60 seconds. And there’s another thing you can blame on our social media addicted lifestyle. Our attention spans are shorter and flakier than ever before.
What does that mean for music? It means you have to give your listeners something new very often to keep them from getting bored.
A good rule of thumb is to change things up (add/remove things, melody/groove changes, additional harmony, etc.) every four bars. This helps keep things interesting. It doesn’t have to be a major change, either. Just something to keep the energy and movement of a song flowing.