Does YouråÊSong HAVE To Have A Chorus?
By: Marty Dodson
I often get questions about different song forms with the BIG question being “Does my song HAVE to have a chorus.” I always respond, “It’s your song – do what you want.”. The REAL question they are asking is if their song has to have a chorus in order to be commercially viable. That’s a different question altogether. If you are just writing for you, then you get to do whatever you want. If you’re writing for the radio (or for artists which are trying to be on the radio), then you do have to pay attention to the form of your song. The AABA song is one of my favorite forms. That form has 3 verses with a bridge between verses 2 and 3. I love the simplicity and beauty of this form for certain types of songs. However, there are almost literally NO songs on the radio with this form? “Why?” you ask. The answer is really very simple. Advertising. Advertising drives everything that is on the radio. Advertisers don’t like sad, slow songs. People who are sad and depressed are less likely to buy whatever is being sold. People who are excited and happy are MORE likely to buy. So, radio favors uptempo, positive songs. That’s true in every major genre that is widely played on radio. The stations are trying to make advertisers happy. So, they play songs that get people in the mood to buy. Think about the songs that make you drive faster, drum on the dashboard and sing along. That is the feeling advertisers want consumers to have. Songs that do that are almost always ABAB type songs. They have verses followed by BIG choruses. Big choruses are what people sing along with. AABA type songs don’t have much repetition. That makes the songs harder to sing along with. So, the answer to the BIG questions is – If you want your song to have a chance at being on the radio, it almost has to have a chorus. We’re talking, it has 99.9% LESS chance of being on the radio without a chorus. Sooooo, if you want to be on the radio, you’d better write a chorus. That’s just the way the world of radio works. Write those AABA songs for your own enjoyment and write the big chorus songs to share with he world! Marty Dodson
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