How to make a hit record

I’m currently making ends meet by working a job sitting at a computer in a room where the radio is on all day. Having sat through a whole month of Radio 1, Kiss and Heart’s combined output, I now feel qualified to list the distilled ingredients that make up a hit record in the current radio airplay climate. So here they are, in no particular order:

1. 808 drums

No current chart hit seems to need a proper drum track. Just let your child loose on a software sampler full of Roland TR808 samples and repeat the simplest pattern they come up with.

2. Bad autotune

Just strap it on, set Retune Speed to zero and leave it. Don’t worry about setting a key or anything. Easy.

3. Major chords

Three of these should be all you need, the more hackneyed and generic the progression the better. Ideally, get the same child who programmed the beat to play these too.

4. Split vocal

Get a rapper to do the verse parts, so the kids can relate. It’s essential to turn the backing track off in his cans while recording his takes. If you do not do this, the rap may end up being in time with the beat, which is the last thing you want. Then let someone who can sing do the chorus bit, so regular folk have something nice to listen to too.

5. Vocal slowdown

The technology behind this effect has been with us for approximately 15 years. Will-I-Am discovered it last year though, so you’ll need to add one of these for your track to make it onto radio.

6. Really bright synths

Turn up the resonance and frequency knobs until your eyes water. Then turn them up a bit more.

7. ID yourself

Record yourself saying your own name during the intro of your song, then detune it with a computer. This is essential, or no-one will be able to tell your record from any of the others played in the last two hours.

Congratulations! You are the new Jason Derulo! Or maybe the actual Jason Derulo!


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