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!

Want to get  your songs heard? Music Gorilla is a leading commercial marketplace for independent musicians worldwide.
They showcase artists from all over the globe and help them get their songs heard and licensed by key players in the television, film, advertising, web, and gaming industries. They’re happy to offer you 10 free credits when you sign up for Artist Membership (which is free!) Credits can be used to submit your material to films, TV shows, commercials and other platforms looking for music.
All you have to do is sign up and send an email to telling them you came from Take Lessons and they’ll add the credits to your account.

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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1 reply
  1. Tricia Greenwood
    Tricia Greenwood says:

    Take a class from Pat Pattison – Berklee Music College in Boston –
    thee is more to learn than one thinks….
    Much Love to all the songwriters out there….
    If you love what you do it is all that matters.
    If writing songs rocks your world it just might rock mine.


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