Radio Lessons #68 – Pop Music
We are all guilty of it.
Humans have become fickle creatures in need of instant gratification. Attention spans are shorter than ever before and living in the new connected world puts information and entertainment at our fingertips. Now or never are true metrics of time and there is seemingly nothing in between.
Music has adapted to the new expectations of its audience. In 1980, the average song intro time was 21 seconds but there were many examples of much longer ones too – Whitney Houston’s ‘How Will I Know’ had a 39-second prelude, U2’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ drags on for a minute and 16 seconds. In 2017, the average song intro length is only 5 seconds.
Another pivot by the music industry is found in the names of songs. In 1980, 14% of songs released that year had only one word in the title; today that number is 42%. Think of hits from this year already ‘Stay’, ‘Believer’, ‘Attention’, ‘Malibu’, ‘Issues’, ‘Closer’ and ‘Cold’. Studies have found modern music fans connect better with songs that hit the hook sooner, have shorter intros and titles that are simple to remember.
Let’s get to the point, since that’s the point.
Your audience is less focused on you than ever. They are busy, distracted and need instant payoff to stay engaged. You should assume they are smarter than you would generally give them credit for, but care about your brand less than you would like them to.
The music industry has stayed on trend and adapted the way songs are presented and produced to play to the wants and needs of fans. You need to as well. Headline stories and grab attention; tease content by giving away more information than you would like to, and inside the break itself use word economy ensuring you get to the climax quickly.
Get to the chorus, and make sure it’s a good one.