The secrets behind making a hit song revealing that songs become hit because of back-up singers, reveals a new research.
The study conducted at the University of Southern California analyzed 55 years of hit singles of Billboard and suggested that adding background vocals can help a song to top the charts.
Joseph Nunes, professor of marketing at the USC Marshall School of Business, said that using background vocals in one song increases their chances of reaching the top of the charts.
The researchers analyzed all 1,029 No. 1 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 between 1958 and 2012 and each of the 1,451 songs that never climbed above No. 90. They secured audio recordings of as many of those 2,480 songs as possible and employed a team of graduate students, led by Ph.D. candidate Brad Sroka, at USC Thornton to code the types of instruments and vocals audible on each.
Nunes said that their results suggested that songs that did not follow conventional instrumentation had the best chance of becoming No. 1 hits and the average song had three to five instruments, but songs that featured a surprisingly low or high number of instruments at specific points in time tended to stand out.
The study is published in "I Like the Way It Sounds: The Influence of Instrumentation on a Pop Song's Place in the Charts" in Musicae Scientiae, the Journal of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music.