Write a hit song in six easy steps? Impossible, you say? Not according to songwriter and musician Orlando Gutierrez. In this article, Orlando breaks down the process of writing a hit song into six easy steps that anyone can follow.
Hit songwriting in pop music has become increasingly easier to predict by music industry insiders and music fans alike. Not too long ago, in pop music, there was a wide variety of musical tastes by major labels, and no one could really put a finger on which song would be a sure hit.
But lately major labels have been settling for nothing but the “sure thing,” a good-looking singer or band with very little musical substance they can mass market and stick down the consumers’ throats! Consequently, pop music has become so poor and watered-down that it’s much easier to spot something original with the potential to rule the music charts!
Top 40 pop songs these days usually have great “hooks” but poorly written lyrics in the verses, rendering the majority of them nothing but “here today gone tomorrow hits.” This is not good practice for songwriters who are in it for the long haul because once these songs run their course, most are rarely played again, and that amounts to less profit for the songwriter over the life of the song!
Pop hit songwriting these days usually consists of nothing but a good beat with pasted-on lyrics to them in the verses with very little focus, and very singable choruses to hook the listeners. Mix in a well-known rapper on some of these songs and voila, a hit! If you’re not into music production or beat making, there are many awesome beat-makers out there willing to either collaborate or sell their beats at a fairly modest price.
Here’s how to write a hit song in today’s pop music market:
1. Focus first on who will be singing the song and what style it’ll be whether it’s in pop, r&b, rock, etc. Decide what you want your song to be about and pick a song title (you don’t have to re-invent the wheel), i.e., “I Need You,” (self-explanatory) “Whatever” (a song about – you’re not going to change your mind about something) “Far Away,” (a song about – I wish you were here with me), etc. Hit songwriting titles these days tend to use one to three words in the title, i.e., “Disturbia,” “Closer.”
2. Create or buy an awesome beat for the song if it’s in r&b or most types of pop, and if it’s a song with a much more “live” feel wait until the next step (3) before proceeding.
3. Create an original strong, singable hook that you can’t get out of your mind after hearing it a few times. If you can’t come up with this, chances are you will not have a hit song. Once you do have a strong hook, proceed to (4).
4. Write decent verses. If you really want to stand out, take the time to craft some awesome verses!
5. Make sure your song has no empty spaces in it. Even if you’re playing it on guitar or piano, create fills and riffs to bracket the vocals. Pop songs today have NO empty spaces. The music is more intense and “in your face” than ever.
6. If you believe your song has the potential to be a hit, test out the song or songs on your friends and family members who listen to pop radio. Their reaction is usually the right one!
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