Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association
Volume 13, Number 1 (2013)
casual listeners would regard the job of a professional songwriter or producer
as more of an art than a science. Yet some producers and songwriters
consistently create songs that make listeners shout, weep, buy, and even
illegally download the music they are hearing. These types of writers are
typically not available to apprentice hundreds of students so, how do we learn
from their craft? This article attempts to answer several questions about the
concept of hit song science (HSS) as related to the instruction of future music
producers and songwriters. Hit song science is defined as the task that
attempts to predict, prior to its distribution, whether a given song will be a commercial
success solely based on its audio characteristics (De Bie, et al. 2011).
Questions include: 1) What do modern hit songs have in common, and how are they
changing? 2) What techniques can an aspiring producer and songwriter use to
effectively reach a commercial audience? 3) What type of song is reaching the
top of the charts in this new world of social media, digital distribution,
illegal downloading, and radio consolidation?
Keywords: songwriting, hit songs, hit song science, music informatics, music business, music production, music education
Tough, David. “Teaching Modern Production
and Songwriting Techniques: What Makes a Hit Song?” Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 13, no. 1 (2013): 97-124. https://doi.org/10.25101/13.6
What Makes a Hit Song?