MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

How to Score a #1 Hit on the Radio (Music Monday)

It’s been a great but short trip back to California.  We’ve been driving around everywhere which means that the radio is on non-stop and we’re able to get a feel for what’s on-and-poppin’ nowadays.  I’ve been realizing a few trends amongst all the popular and over-played tunes and I think I figured out a formula for success.

Here’s how to get a #1 hit on the radio:

1.  Autotune – yup, this is the single most important element and hands down, the most overused.  I think there’s a rule now in the industry that requires you to have auto-tune in your record or it simply won’t get played.  There’s a little bit of a problem with this, in my opinion, because even terrible singers can suddenly release hits.  I can’t help but equate the auto-tune with cheating.  They are like really annoying steroids– except their use in this case benefits nobody.  T-Pain, this is all your fault.

2.  Rihanna sings your hook– remember that kid in your class that would raise their hand for everything?  Who wants to be hall monitor?  “Oh, ME!”  Who wants to erase the chalk board?  “Oh, ME!”  What is the theory of relativity?  “I know!”  Who wants to kiss my butt?  “Yes, ME!”  Well, that person on the radio right now is Rihanna.  She’s EVERYWHERE.  She has her own songs but she’s also singing everyone’s chorus.  OK… maybe it’s just that one Eminem chorus but still, it seems she’s everywhere.  Basically, get her on your song and you’ve got yourself a hit.

3.  Think of the most simple, redundant thing to say – and make that your chorus.  I promise you that 98% of the songs out there would be booed off local open mic nights if they were ever shared in spoken word form.  That’s how shallow, redundant and un-artistic a lot of these songs are.  Lyrical content counts for very little these days and it’s all about . . .

4.  A killer beat – it doesn’t matter what your song is talking about as long as the beat can get people to shake their hips, bob their heads, and make children.  After all, that’s what really sells and that’s how the Black Eyed Peas have made a living for the past decade.

I know this is not a comprehensive breakdown so i could use your help.  What am I missing?


5 responses

  1. controversial music video (perhaps with some lesbian or underage sex overtones)

    March 21, 2011 at 9:59 am

  2. you need a dance move associated with your song.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:00 am

  3. DK

    @Scott – I think you’re right. Sex sells. Sexual videos sell more.
    @Gordon – soulja boy! Macarena! YMCA! You’re so right

    March 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

  4. guess who! haha

    maybe you need to get off of kiis fm.

    and as for the music of today, adele recently had a new cd released, john mayers coming out with new stuff soon, theyve had radio hits, and they never use autotune.

    and simple redundant stuff, making that a chorus, and saying its shallow, redundant, and unartistic? i know you wrote worship songs, sing worship songs written by other christian artists, are those not simple and redundant? and as for lyrical content of today, go to john mayer, adele, and no more kiis fm.

    and a killer beat? im sure its harder than just popping one out of ones butt, and if the artist has a band, theyd have to keep time and sync to that beat, which isn’t always easy. saying a killer beat can sell music is like saying worship music sells if the electric guitar sounds like U2’s the edge. its cant possibly be that black and white.

    sounds like your just dissing todays music and not really seeing how hard people probably work behind the scenes

    March 22, 2011 at 6:51 pm

  5. DK

    Dear “Guess Who! Haha” –

    Thanks for your comments.

    I apologize if you missed the point of this post. It was supposed to be a fun one!

    Next time, please reveal who you are so that we can have a sensible back and forth. When you remain anonymous with comments of this nature, it just seems a bit cantankerous and cutting… not to mention a tad harsh!

    Would you talk to me like this in person?

    Look forward to your future visits!


    March 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm

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