Music Business

Three Surprising Trends in Hit Songs and How to Make Them Your Own

Specific traits usually come to mind when people think of pop music, yet these growing trends contradict conventional wisdom.

by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

Analytics platform ChartCipher, which focuses on hit songs, recently unveiled three key trends that its measured on Billboard’s Radio Songs charts for the year 2023. All three are surprising in that they bucked the status quo, but that’s something that frequently happens with hit song trends. Let’s take a look at them.

Songs Are Slower

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the report is that song tempos of recent hits were much slower than usual, as there was a big increase of songs with tempos below 100bpm. In fact, there was a big increase of songs below 79bpm! This is something that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago, especially during the era of dance music.

Pop Songs Market Share Hit A New Low

Pop songs have dominated radio for decades, and in 2024 they still do, just not as much. According to the report, pop songs suffered a significant decline last year, down from 54% of available chart slots the year before, to 37%. In the meantime, Country music hits jumped from 27% to 31% and hip hop went from 13% to 23%. 

Pop music will always dominate the radio charts as radio stations play it safe so they don’t alienate listeners, and because most are owned by conglomerates and programmed from a central location. What’s interesting here is that Country music continues to be as popular as it is, a trend that many predicted would not last only a few years ago. That said, Country music closely resembles pop music these days except for the vocal twang and steel guitar.

How Much Do You Rhyme

The last trend reported is the increase of rhyme density in songs. Rhyme density is the number of rhymed syllables divided by the total number of syllables. While this mostly applies to hip hop, a song with a high rhyme density can apply to all songwriting. 

For instance, a higher rhyme density is often associated with greater artistic quality and creativity. That said, it’s more often used in Rap music as it measures the technical rhyming skill and complexity of a rapper’s flow.

It pays to understand works working in current hit songs, although it’s probably not a good idea to chase the trends. Usually by the time you incorporate hit song trends into your songs, a whole new set of trends are already happening.

Bobby Owsinski is a producer/engineer, author, blogger, podcaster, and coach. He has authored 24 books on recording, music, the music business and social media.

Read more: 
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Share on: