4 Tips to Hook a Listener in 30 Seconds of Your Song
We live in a very fast-paced society and the average attention span seems to be consistently shrinking. With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, people aren't willing to give as much time to new music or artists.
Consider the streaming world we live in now. With so many options at a listener's disposal, they can switch from song to song in a heartbeat.
That is why it is essential that your song hooks a listener in the first 30 seconds. Keep reading below for 4 tips to accomplish this.
How Can Musicians Catch a Listener's Ear Quickly?
- Make a Great First Impression
- Have an Early Hook
- Have an Early Chorus
- Keep it Simple
1. First Impression
It’s important to start your song with something unexpected or slightly out of the ordinary. This can include items such as Foley recordings (which are recordings of the reproduction of everyday sounds), soundscapes, or even mic feedback.
Having these items included in the intro of a song can grasp the listener’s ears immediately and bring them to a different headspace. Some examples of these audio snippets would be birds, water, or synth drones.
It all depends on what tone you are going for in your song.
People are used to hearing the start of music immediately, but when you insert something different like birds tweeting, the listener is already intrigued and you’ve set the stage for the rest of the song.
This being said, it can be a make or break moment. There is a fine line between gimmick and creative touch, so choose wisely.
2. Early Hook
Incorporating a quick melody from your hook in the intro can also be beneficial. Generally, the hook is the section of the song that people will indefinitely remember or be singing throughout their day.
Knowing this, you will likely have spent a fair amount of time coming up with a catchy melody to make sure the listener remembers that portion of the song. This is why introducing that section early in the song can retrieve the attention of the listener very quickly.
Now, this doesn’t mean you copy and paste the full section of the song into the intro. This can just incorporate the melody on its own with no other elements before the first verse. Get creative with it!
There are no rules so you can structure songs however you think fits the track nicely.
3. Early Chorus
Similar to the hook, choruses can often be one of the most memorable parts of a song, so why not place it at the beginning to quickly snag the listener's attention?
Look at a song like Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name. The song begins with a vocal chorus tease before driving into an awesome guitar solo. That's how you hook a listener.
How long does it take you to start singing along when the lyrics, "I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend," start playing from the beginning of Third Eye Blind's Jumper?
More recent examples of using this tactic are Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass and Wiz Khalifa's See You Again.
4. Keep it Simple
Sometimes a track will immediately start off with all the instruments involved in the song. This isn’t wrong by any means, but have you thought about keeping the intro extremely simple? Or building the intro by adding each instrument in one at a time?
Having space and dynamics in a song can be intriguing to many listeners. This open space in the song can be used in order to hear each small detail with clarity.
Leaving the space open will draw the listener in even closer and let them connect to each instrument being played.
This concept can also pertain to the whole track. It’s easy to get carried away and add unnecessary elements when writing music. Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple.
Learn the Best Music Techniques
Now that you have an idea on how to hook the listener within the first 30 seconds of a song, it’s your turn to try this in your production. Take these tips and put your own twist on them!
By making a great first impression, incorporating an early hook or making sure you keep it simple, you are bound to have the listener finish the entirety of your track.
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