how to write pop song

The Anatomy of a Hit Pop Song [Infographic]

When you’re learning how to write a song, looking at how other songs are structured can be a great place to start. Like looking at a map before you go on a roadtrip, checking out the basic elements of songs you love gives you a sense of how they were written and what you need to do to write a song of your own.

If analyzing all your favorite songs sounds like a daunting task (it is), you’re in luck. The Billboard Experiment wanted to know if there was a formula that could determine which songs would be hits and which songs were destined to flop. They ran the numbers on the top songs on the Billboard Charts since the 1950s, plus information from the Million Song Dataset, to get a high-level look at what goes into a hit pop song.

Of course, this study isn’t the ultimate guide to how to write a song. If everyone followed these rules, we wouldn’t have “Stairway to Heaven” or “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Standing out from the crowd can make you more memorable as a songwriter, so you might choose to avoid the things you see these popular songs doing.

If you’re just getting started as a songwriter, try writing something simple along the lines of the famous pop songs The Billboard Experiment studied. You don’t have to write a hit on your first try, and you probably won’t. Most songwriting teachers agree that the best way to learn how to write better songs is to start writing now, and keep writing as much as you can. Through dedication and practice, you will find your unique voice as a songwriter, and you’ll only get better from there!

If someone asked you how to write a song, what advice would you give them? Let us know in the comments below!


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What Does Your Favorite Music Say About You

What Does Your Favorite Music Say About You?

If you have ever accused someone of not understanding you because they don’t like your favorite music, or judged someone harshly for liking your least favorite, you might actually be on to something.

According to research done by Prof. Adrian North at Heriot-Watt University, there is some correlation between personality and preferred musical genre. Over 36,000 people in more than 60 countries participated in surveys about personality and musical preference, and the results show interesting trends in personality types among fans of each genre.

This infographic designed by Tom Arne Heldal Bakkemoen breaks down the results:


We’ve talked about the link between music and personality before, and now we want to hear from you. Do you think the music you listen to says a lot about who you are? Tell us all about it in the comments below!


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Celebrating the World’s Most Famous Guitar | Infographic

The Fender Stratocaster turned 60 this year, and she’s still rocking out! Many classic songs have been played on this great guitar and in the years to come, we’re likely to hear many more.

To honor the Stratocaster’s legacy, Alberto Lucas Lopez created this great infographic. Learn more about the Strat’s distinctive features and see famous Strats in history!


Now we want to hear from you: Have you ever played a Stratocaster? What would be your dream guitar? Tell us all about it in the comments below!


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10 Mind-Blowing Facts About the Cost of College Tuition

Do Americans owe more in student loan debt or on our credit cards? Can students actually afford their first choice colleges? It’s that time of year when students are choosing their colleges and applying for undergraduate scholarships, and many students and parents are realizing that they have more questions than answers when it comes to the costs of college.

For even more perspective on the costs of college and how scholarship money can be enormously helpful to students, we put together an infographic representing the 10 most mind-blowing facts we uncovered in our research on college tuition and undergraduate scholarships 2014.

10 Mind Blowing Facts About the Cost of College

At TakeLessons we are passionate about education, so we wanted to dig a little deeper into the costs of college to see if there are ways students can pay less for a great education. We found that although the cost of college has risen 400% over the last 30 years, there are now more scholarship opportunities available than ever. And scholarships are great news for students, even if you don’t have straight A’s.

Because only a small percentage of students receive full-ride scholarships, many students feel that they are not eligible for any scholarship money at all. However, there are  scholarships available for all types of students at many different award levels. A simple search for “undergraduate scholarships 2014” will show the incredible wealth of opportunity out there, waiting for you to apply. It doesn’t take long to apply for a scholarship, and winning scholarship money certainly beats working to pay off a loan for the same amount.

Don’t put off applying for scholarships! You can get started today by entering the 2014 TakeLessons Scholarship Essay Contest. Just submit a 250 word essay on how you will change the world by doing your dream job, and you could win $5000, $2000, or $1000 for college. Learn more and enter today!

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Online lessons

Is Google Making You More Forgetful? [Infographic]

Quick – name five close friends or family members. Now, recite their phone numbers, without looking at your smartphone.

Can’t do it? You’re not alone. These days, it’s rare to find someone who still memorizes phone numbers, when all you have to do is tap on a name in your contact list. We’re living in an age where everything is available at our fingertips, from your friends’ birthdays (Facebook will remind you) to upcoming events (set an iCal reminder), or even the last thing you purchased (Amazon tracks your last shopping spree, whether you like it or not). And researchers say our brains are getting lazy because of it.

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What Music Should You Listen to at Work? [Infographic]

Music is a powerful thing. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of playing an instrument, but it goes even deeper than that. Even simply listening to music can affect your emotions, help improve your memory, boost your immune system, and increase your concentration.

Of course, different types of music can affect your productivity in different ways. Just as you might choose an energetic pop song over a slow classical overture to get you through a tough workout, you’ll want to figure out the best music for your particular profession. Take a look at this cool infographic from Sonos to determine the right music for work:

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Infographic: What Makes 54% of us Buy New Music?

According to the 2013 Music Industry Report, music sales were up in 2012 for the first time since 1999. Could this be due to the fact that there are now more ways to find new music than ever? The Internet has opened up many avenues for how to find new music, from thousands of music blogs to streaming services like Spotify and recommendation apps like Twitter’s #music.

Surprisingly, a recent survey found that 54% of people are likely to buy music because of a recommendation from a friend, a much higher percentage than those who will buy based on a blog or YouTube video. It seems that even as the Internet creates more spaces to find new music, social connections and trusted friends continue to  have a big impact on actual purchases. Learn more about the survey’s findings in this infographic via Hypebot: Read more

Music To Money [Infographic]

Forget the “starving artist” cliche – with the right skills and network, it is possible to make money in the music industry! Whether you want to write your own compositions or get the party started as a DJ, there are tons of career options to consider. A strong music background can help, no matter what your preferred instrument is – so signing up with a private instructor for guitar, piano or singing lessons, for example, can give you a great head start.

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