For every hit song on the radio or topping the Spotify chart, there are thousands more than never reach a widespread audience. Wouldn’t it be helpful if artists had a way to improve a song’s chances of success? Hit Songs Deconstructed is a tool that takes a look at trends so producers can increase the odds their track will be a hit.
“Our mission is to provide cutting-edge tools that help you understand what’s driving today’s hits at the compositional level, giving you an edge for success in a fast-changing musical landscape,” the service says.
By studying and analyzing singles that appear on the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 chart, the service can provide detailed suggestions based on trends, techniques and other, dare we say, fads that shuffle some songs up and other songs to anonymity.
“Because leading music business professionals understand the importance of being in tune with current songwriting trends and view it as a powerful tool that works hand-in-hand with the creative process, our proprietary data and analysis is utilized by some of today’s most successful songwriters, producers, publishers and labels to stay informed, hone their craft, benchmark their songs, and make strategic songwriting, production and business decisions armed with hit songwriting analytics,” Hit Songs Deconstructed says.
A decoder ring for songwriting trends
An analysis conducted by the New York Times with information provided by Hit Songs Deconstructed’s database compared, among other things, hit songs from 1988 and 2010 and created diagrams mapping out ways in which songs are similar or different based on acoustics, energy level, loudness, danceability and how happy the songs sound. Hit songs from 1988 were among the most diverse ever, with a wide range of patterns and musical “fingerprints.”
Compare that with 2010, in which at least three of the year’s top songs — Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” Kesha’s “Your Love is My Drug” and Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” – are nearly identical in all aspects and have very similar fingerprints.
How to make a hit
In the years between 1988 and 2010, songs became increasingly similar, a trend that sped up after 2000 and, at least in the Times’ estimation, is due to a smaller number of people having a hand in the pop songs that hit the charts. The article points to Max Martin, a ubiquitous producer with 22 Number 1 hit songs to his credit.
That trend may have started to reverse in 2018, but it’s going to take a while to shift things to a more creative and diverse range of sound.
If you find something that works, why change it, right?
But will listeners tire of hearing variations on the same theme?
That’s all up to the songwriters and producers. Having a tool like Hit Songs Deconstructed help the music industry understand trends and then decide whether to follow them – and know what’s likely to resonate with listeners – or buck them—and know exactly how to differentiate a song based on what’s currently popular in the landscape.