Creating the Killer Song
There are a few things to consider before hitting record…
- Streaming has changed music, will it impact yours?
It’s worth bearing in mind that you won’t earn a penny until someone listens beyond 30 seconds. Have a listen to commercial pop and you’ll hear the abrupt start to songs and the race to the chorus. When your listeners do break the 30 second threshold, you’ll earn something like 0.005p per listen. So, for a million listens, you’ll earn £5,000 – make sure you don’t spend it all at once!
To open up the largest market possible, ensure you know what playlists you aim at being heard on. One of our clients regularly gets millions of listens by being on the right playlists. Looking at his statistics, the spikes in plays invariably come from tracks appearing on playlists rather than just his latest releases. If your track doesn’t captivate within the first 30 seconds, or comfortably fit into a playlist – even with tens of thousands in your fan base, you’ll struggle to keep your head above water.
Listen to your tracks, think honestly and objectively about what could be changed to increase your listenership. Make sure you get feedback from others before you commit too much.
- Marginal gains
Zooming into the ‘micro’ of your songs and experimenting with a few small changes could make the difference between success and just another song. Try experimenting with the following seven concepts:
- Key: Try taking it up a key or two – is it easier to sing? Does it have more impact? Try taking it down – is it richer, easier to convey the message?
- Tempo: Take the song up or down a few BPMs. How does it feel? Record it on your phone, listen back a day later and compare. Often, because of adrenalin, in the studio things are recorded too fast and regretted later. Sometimes people overcompensate and the track begins to drag – experiment by taking just the chorus up a few BPMs.
- Arrangements: Are there counter-melodies, riffs, ad libs, backing vocals? Is it linear – ie the same instrumentation throughout, or is there development? Is the instrumentation well balanced? Are there some frequencies that are cluttered and others left underrepresented? Does the song’s sonic-palette represent you and your brand?
- Structures: Would starting with a chorus work? Ditch the intro / take out the link / add a link / add an instrumental hook.
- Instrumentation: Just because you may be a 4-piece band when you play live doesn’t mean the recording has to be that, unless you’re aiming for a live studio project (in any genre).
- Production: How much input from the producer in terms of arrangement, instrumentation, magic, automation, effects will make up the song?
- Duration: Is the song too long? Too short? Does it need a radio edit?
- Does the project hold together?
Whatever your project; do the various components, or tracks, all fit together to make a cohesive whole? It’s important that they do, particularly during the promotion period, here are five ideas to consider:
- Change some elements of your project so the tracks work better together.
- Release two EPs rather than an album
- Consider holding one song back if it doesn’t work as part of the album
- Hold back a selection of tracks for a future project
- Write some material to join tracks – incidental music, spoken word, underscore – to bring sense to an otherwise incohesive project
- The ‘head-and-shoulders-above’ song (aka – the single)
In any collection of tracks, there’s often one song that stands tall against all the others, it’s usually clear which one it is, but not always, so make sure you get external input.
This track will be the one that shapes your release, that promotes you, your brand and whatever plans you have for the release.
With all the digital “noise” online, multiple songs released all at once can get lost completely. It seems one song at a time is the best way for people to consume new music. Crown Lane Studio is where the journey starts for you to create your song and direct it to the platforms that work for you.
- It’s All About Time
Of course, you may have multiple songs you’d like to release from the project. When this is the case, the frequency that you release them is crucially important. Make sure you use all the data at your disposal as you will learn a lot from the first release (or previous releases). “Next Big Sound” is a good place to start – search for some of your favourite or comparable artists and you’ll learn a lot. Once you’re underway yourself, you’ll have even more data from the likes of “Spotify for Artists”. There’s rarely a second peak, unless the song is used in a soundtrack, or gets picked up elsewhere, so your initial release will need everyone’s attention on just one song.
We love producing, editing and recording killer songs – call us on 020 8540 5643 to tell us about your project and get your song released.