The 8 Huge Things That can Ruin your Chances Of Having A Hit Song
There is a psychology behind why people like things that they do.
Duh! You knew that! Here’s the thing —>
People study human behavior if the behavior has anything to do with people buying anything.
This is how companies (record labels) increase their chances of making money and knowing what will sell and what won’t.
It is stuff that is common sense and has been thoroughly researched by record labels and more.
There is a book I recommend you read called ‘Murphy’s Laws Of Songwriting‘ by Ralph Murphy.
Yes the cover of his book looks corny as fuck but just ignore that haha.
Ralph Murphy was a big guy at ASCAP for the last 15+ years.
If you don’t know what ASCAP is you already have an issue and need to go study songwriting publishing immediately. Because if you have a hit and didn’t understand publishing you are probably losing money to someone fucking you over because of your lack of knowledge and awareness.
Anyways, Ralph Murphy studies every new song that comes onto Billboard to see what makes people like them, what makes them hit songs and why songs stick.
Though I already knew a bunch, I also learned a bunch from studying his stuff and reading his books.
Here is a quick run down of things that will ruin your chances of having a hit song. Some of this is from Ralph and some is other information I have learned along the road to becoming a music super star.
1) Song Length
This is something about the radio that a lot of up and coming rappers don’t know so pay attention to this and make it stick in your brain.
The length of your song is essential. Your song only needs to be 3 Minutes and 30 seconds at the max.
This is taken into consideration with Program Directors at radio stations.
Program Directors aka PDs are the people who choose what gets spun at the major radio stations.
NOT THE DJs. DJs still play a HUGE part but their boss is the PD.
Check it –>
Even if your song is 6 minutes long, a radio DJ will cut it at around 3 minutes because they need to be able to spin the other records they have in rotation to keep people listening.
This is why you hear them cut longer records off ALL THE TIME and skip the 3rd verse if there is one (Unless it’s hugely popular.)
2) Verses Too Long Or Don’t Carry The Song
You can have the most amazing chorus on the planet but if the verses don’t carry the listener from one chorus to another than you have a huge issue.
The verses just need to vibe.
This is why even music with really bad lyrics doesn’t even matter in the commercial world. It just needs to vibe and carry someone to the next verse. It’s really that simple.
If you’re lacking melody or flow type in the verses you definitely hurt your chances at having a hit record.
If all else fails just repeat the best melody or flow pattern you have all the way through the verses.
It’s what most rappers do anyways. That’s why entire verses are just repeating the same melody like “I’m in love with the co co ” which actually repeats the same melody the entire song aside from the pre chorus.
3) Not Pulling In The Listener Within 20 Seconds
I have mentioned this before on Smart Rapper.
You need to immediately pull the listener in with something that makes them laugh, think, or really feel any kind of emotion.
This way they are okay with listening to the next 30 seconds of your song.
Repeat this every 30 seconds at the least so that the music is doing what it is supposed to and entertaining the listener.
The worst thing would be if you spent a ton of time making a song amazing but people turn it off in the first 40 seconds because you never pulled them into the song or gave them a reason to keep listening.
Remember we are in an age where things like Vine exist that only last 6 second. Like a nerd having sex with a hot girl….
People don’t have the attention span to wait so give them something entertaining out the gate.
Didn’t mean for that to rhyme but hopefully it helps you remember it.
4) Too Much Cussing
Yea they will convert entire songs that cuss like “My Nigga My Nigga” all the way through if it’s super catchy and a radio record.
But people behind records like that have a huge label behind them and people pushing the record.
If you try to get a record that cusses a HUGE AMOUNT then the DJs and PDs are already going to see an issue before you even get it to start spinning.
Be conscious of how much you cuss.
I didn’t used to be and then suddenly I realized how important it is that you try NOT to cuss. It is realistically just filler to cuss anyways unless you are emphasizing anger in a line.
Try to tone it down. For your sake and for the kid’s sake.
When I blew up I had so many people request clean versions of my songs because they were parents that wanted to listen to my music around their kids or they were parents who had kids who listened to my music but didn’t want the cuss words in it.
You will come across this issue too when you make it. So be conscious now.
5) Poor Quality Vocals
Something that immediately makes people want to turn off a song is poor quality. It’s something that immediately tells someone if you’re a serious artist or not.
Because anyone serious would have invested in themselves and gotten a quality microphone and quality preamp.
Yes, there have been a few exceptions of artist who have blown up with shitty quality songs.
But what is the first thing the major label does after they snatch up that artist to throw fuel on his already burning fire?
Well they re record the song so it is actually something they feel comfortable putting their money behind.
6) Tuning Your Voice
As you have seen me mention a dozen times times a dozen…. Your voice is the most important tool in your arsenal.
The vocal is just another instrument that layers a song to make it greater.
Imagine if someone is playing the guitar in a song and the guitar sounds like shit because it’s not tuned and the person just can’t play it.
It’s the same thing with your voice. Your instrument needs to sound great!
So take steps towards finding a unique and cool voice that you can use to grow yourself.
My How To Find Your Rap Voice In 15 Minutes Audio Book will help you by finding a staple voice that you can then start evolving in literally the next week.
UPDATE: This now comes with the How To Make Your Voice Deeper And Voice Raspier E-books including training videos.
7) Not Marketing The Song
You may think you know this but there is a psychology behind the reason why we don’t market new songs as artist.
We are artist, we would rather work on music all day than do any of this marketing stuff and trust me I completely understand that.
The big artist have it made!
They just get to sit in a studio all day and make music, acting like that’s a tough job while the label does all the hard work for them.
The hard part about being independent is that we have to market ourselves, mix our own music, shoot our own videos, etc etc etc the list is so long!
And if we don’t do it, we have to spend time and resources finding someone to do it for us.
But we really just want to make music all day long and have people become fans of us, relate to our words and music and love us for it.
So the marketing is an issue.
I know this issue used to happen to me and I know for a fact it happens to musicians across all genres of music.
People work their ass off making a song but by the time they release it they already have a feeling the song is old to them and are ready to move on to the next thing.
Sometimes we as artist make a song a year before it’s released and it’s an AMAZING song but since we know it’s old – even though it is new to the fans – we just don’t have the same feeling about the song and are just focused on moving forward with the next song or project.
The thing is if you have an amazing song you need to promote it or it won’t spread.
It seems like common sense but this is a HUGE issue among artist.
But if you are not marketing a record it will not get heard and 10 years from now you will wonder why you never had a song that got more than 50,000 views on YouTube.
This is just how it is. We need to consciously make an effort to market our music for at least 30 minutes to an hour EVERYDAY in some way shape or form so we are gaining fans every single day and will never have to look back wondering what happened.
I have a list of 136 Smart Music Marketing tactics I have come up with over the last 6 years in my quest as a music superstar.
It has many many MANY MANY Many mAnY ideas that you can implement to your marketing to start gaining fans today.
You can check those ideas out here
8) Lacking Catchy Melody In The Chorus
I would have put this at number one but then you would have thought the entire article was full of “Duh, I knew that” stuff lol
Straight up, if your chorus isn’t catchy, IT WILL NOT BE A HIT SONG.
It’s really really that simple.
And another thing while I’m already talking about it… it’s all about being simple.
The most simple choruses are the best and catchiest choruses.
When you try too hard you are actually fucking yourself over.
Think about any chorus that you like. If you can just simply remember the melody, you like it.
Check out more by seeing my songwriting course here.
Follow these guidelines and you will be on your way to making even better songs that are possibly hit records!
You got this!
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