Jay Frank just made my day. You see, I love data, analytics, and getting into the nitty gritty when it comes to songwriting. Especially when we’re talking about hit songs. Why songs work, why they resonate, or why they flop, are interesting questions. Thankfully Jay Frank has done a lot of research and brought us his mid-year look at the state of top 50 biggest selling downloads in the US. Check out what you can learn:
THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF INTROS IS 4.88 SECONDS
Intros are getting significantly shorter. Compared to last year, the average intro decreased by 37%. The Top 25 had an average intro length of 2.96 seconds. In fact, there were only two songs with an intro over 7 seconds. …. The chances of a song with a longer intro succeeding continue to decrease every year.
THE AVERAGE SONG LENGTH IS 3 MINUTES 53 SECONDS
..this year, the average song length increased by 6 seconds, a 2.5% increase. That may not seem like a lot, but out of the Top 50 songs there were also two fewer songs exceeding 4 minutes than last year. Therefore, there were less of those to skew the average up. It definitely seems to work in the song’s favor to not cut their songs short.
RELEASE MORE SONGS MORE OFTEN
….many (artists) are, once again, releasing more songs more often….Katy Perry released 5 singles from her album in 13 months. …Her 5 singles collectively have sold 8.6 million singles in 2011 alone. …. Keep fans engaged with multiple singles at any level and they will reward you with increased success.
THE BEAT HAS SLOWED A LITTLE
The average tempo has slowed down a bit to 103.6 BPM. But the real story is that there are more songs this year in the ballad tempo range…. rhythmic music is still more popular (26% have BPMs of 125 or greater), but compared to last year this is a stylistic shift.
ROCK CONTINUES TO BE DEAD
Only 1 song out of the Top 50 sellers is considered a rock song. At least according to Soundscan….one could argue that rock is an album-based format, and indeed rock fares better there with 8 out of the Top 50.
ADELE IS BIG BECAUSE IT’S A FUTUREHIT
…Adele is in, the undeniable category it’s in is a smash hit. …The intro is 5 seconds long, is at a walking tempo (105 BPM), contains repetition of many lyrics with a choral counter-chorus, has a very sly shift in the chord progression at the bridge, and contains many dynamic shifts throughout the song. The subtleties of modern futurehit song structures amidst its retro-soul feel is what takes this song over the top and makes it as undeniable as it is. Artistic credibility and commercial sensibilities can coexist when done right. When they do, they create a massive hit and help lift an entire industry. (More @FutureHitDNA)