So, I have this new concept I’m trying out, and I’m calling it the “20,000 Screaming Fans HIT Song Test.” It’s a little indicator to validate if a song has massive hit potential … or not. Stick with me here : )
I also wrote about and touched upon this concept in the recent “Writing Your 1 Billion Streaming Song” post.
But before we start - time for giving some credit. I actually got this idea from a recent meeting with a record label President.
She simply said the type of hit songs she’s looking for - right now - need to be (this is important) the soundtrack for that artist’s live stadium show.
Wow. What does that mean exactly?
Simply put - the songs that A&R people are looking for - especially this label President - need to EXPLODE in energy. And when I say energy - I mean to equal (or surpass) the energy of those 20,000 fans who came out to see their live stadium tour that night.
Let me explain.
A superstar artist (maybe this is even you, as the artist - or if you’re a songwriter - maybe this is an artist that you’re hoping to get a cut with), is playing the biggest stadium in town. There’s like --- 20,000 fans who bought their tickets 4 months ago. It’s the day of the show and the first two opening artists have just finished ... and now the anticipation is increasing, minute by minute, second by second.
The 20,000 fans start chanting the artist's name.
The anticipation is so high and energy in the room is so great - you can cut the air with a knife. And then…
The lights go down.
The overhead music stops playing and the stage lights come on. PEOPLE ARE GOING CRAZY!! The band members and the artist make their entrance to the stage like gladiator warriors.
And what would that moment sound like - right before the first song? Exactly like this:
Yes! This is the track “Countdown (Live)” from The Scorpions classic and legendary live album, World Wide Live. Now, you very likely do not care about the Scorpions -- and that’s fine if you don’t appreciate the Rolls-Royce of 80s hair metal, as much as I do (LOL, I miss those days).
However, do you hear that MASSIVE AMOUNT of ENERGY?!! That MANIA!? People are going CRRRAAAZZZYYY! They can’t wait for that downbeat of music to start. In fact, I get chills every time I hear these short .44 seconds of “level 10” energy. This is the fan reaction and inspiration you should have in mind as you think about how to compose a song.
The point here is - imagine it’s your song that opens this artists set! Wow!! Would these raving fans go even more crazy?!
Does your song at least equal the energy here to feed these 20,000 raving fans?! (We’re not talking headbanging stuff here - just raw uptempo, jump off the page energy).
Or is that song just going to be a disappointment?
Make sense?! : )
So, take a moment - and look and listen to those last few songs you wrote. You know - that one that’s the snoozer mid tempo with an anti - chorus?
Well, it just ain’t gonna cut it in this scenario.
But the good news is this - you can actually test out your song in this scenario in the comfort of your own home studio and see what you got!
That’s right! Thus, here are the instructions for The 20,000 Screaming Fans HIT Song Test:
I mean - let’s be real - are those 20,000 fans gonna eat up your latest track?
Is your track going to fuel their mania and passion and excitement?
Is this song taking everyone in the audience to the next level of energy?!
Interesting delicious for for thought. Now on the other hand, I have a little homework assignment and / or an interesting songwriting exercise you could do here.
You see, you could actually pull up this Scorpions “Countdown (Live)” track and let it be the songwriting prompt and inspiration for your next writing session!
Yes! Try it out.
At your next session or better yet - to get some ideas going and stockpiling for yourself … cue this sucker up.
Listen to “Countdown (Live)” and stop the song right at the end.
Questions for you:
On that last note, I actually wrote a whole post on this “mind’s eye” view of writing here - “Turning on the Hit Radio Of Your Mind.”
That’s right - consider that there’s no need to “write” as we think of as “writing.”
Maybe this is staring at your computer screen or plunking around some random chords.
Instead just - IMAGINE the song that plays in your “mind’s eye” or in this case your “mind’s ear.”
Just let the song play effortlessly in the hit radio station of your mind.
I often feel I can imagine an amazing song - or ideally a smash hit song - and just let it play in my mind, much better than I can randomly come up with it at the keyboard.
Working this way you have no restraints.
No drum kits. No patches. No lyric concept, etc.
It’s a song that just plays in your mind - and that ideally you can pluck out of the either. Simply have the song play in your mind - and then try to capture it ASAP.
And maybe - just perhaps - those 20,000 raving fans, in that previous songwriting exercise - will inspire your next uptempo hit.
And who knows - you might have just written the opening stadium track to your or another artist’s stadium tour - and if you’ve done that - I want a ticket to that live show - 1st row and center!
In the meantime - compliments of Scorpions - (haha), I’d be remiss not to suggest the full live album from 1985 - the Scorpions World Wide Live. Probably not your thing - but for today - it’s totally going to be mine.
Scorpions World Wide Live (p.s. Please note this is a live video production from 1985. As such, things were not as politically correct back then as they are today - and this is in fact, captures a lot of “rock n roll” lifestyle so - for whatever it’s worth, there’s your trigger warning.)
See you on the charts.
P.s. 2 of my other favorite live albums are below and would 1000% recommend checking them out! Also note! These recordings are both 40 years + old but so much energy here.
John McLauhglin, Paco De Lucia, Al Dimeola’s epic album Friday Night in San Francisco (incredible musicianship, guitar work - everything).
Harry Chapin’s “Greatest Stories Live” (one of the finest singer / songwriters ever … and one of the most enjoyable live concerts ever captured). The entire playlist for the live show can be found here.