The 20,000 Screaming Fans HIT Song Test

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.

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?!

raving fans

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?

Unthinkable! The horror! - Simpsons

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:

The 20,000 Screaming Fans HIT Song Test

  1. On your device (laptop, phone, etc) have your song – the one you just wrote – ready to play in one window (i.e. iTunes, SoundCloud, Box, etc. – whatever you use for a playback audio player).
  2. In another window cue up this track: Scorpion’s “Countdown (Live)” from their World Wide Live Album circa 1985. Here it is again for reference (and hey, if you’re not a “Scorps” fan all good lol – but just trust me on this).
  3. Play “Countdown (Live),” imagine the setting and the energy and those 20,000 fans going wild … and …. just when that track is about to end at .42 ish seconds …
  4. Play YOUR song!
  5. Examine what your objective impression is of your song. Does your song equal, surpass or level down that stadium energy?

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 and delicious food for thought. Now on the other hand, I have a little homework assignment and / or an interesting songwriting exercise you could do here.

20,000 Raving Fans Inspiration for Session

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:

  1. What kind of song do you need to write to equal (or surpass) the energy of these 20,000 raving fans?
  2. Imagine you’re at this concert and it’s your favorite artist hitting the stage … or maybe it’s the artist you’re writing for. What type of song do you need to write for this to be their “stadium” entry song?
  3. Consider this – and this is potentially an epiphany. Instead of “writing” and trying some random chords or pulling up a beat and singing some melodies – instead – just imagine what that song would sound like…close your eyes and imagine in your minds eye – that magical song that will get 20,000 fans jumping to their feet! Just let it play. And then get to your keyboard or your handheld mic and capture it as quickly as possible and then go back and WRITE IT and capture it further and refine! : )

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.”

Turning On The Hit Radio Of Your Mind - excerpt

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.”

man listening with mouth open

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.

people on strings as marionettes

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.

Kermit the frog typing furiously

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. One of my other favorite live albums is below and I would 1000% recommend checking it out! Also note! This recording is 40 years + old but so much energy here.

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.

About the Author

The Author of “How Do I Get A Record Deal? Sign Yourself!”

My career in music publishing extends over 25 years, including BMG Music (bought by Universal) and EMI Music Publishing (bought by Sony), as well as the 1st U.S. employee of Kobalt Music Publishing, where he helped build the roster over 10 years as Executive VP of Creative.

Benjamin is currently heading up his own publishing company, Brill Building, as well as label and music filter, We Are: The Guard. Benjamin’s signings range from Ryan Tedder, Kelly Clarkson, The Lumineers, Grimes, Savan Kotecha, OneRepublic, SOPHIE, Ariel Rechtshaid, Greg Kurstin, Tiesto, Kid Cudi, TOKiMONSTA, TR/ST, Cut Copy, Big Freedia, Lindy Robbins, Peaches and yes, even Steel Panther. His specialty in the music business is early artist, writer and writer/producer development.

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