The Anatomy of a Hit Song: What Makes a Song a Success

The Anatomy of a Hit Song: What Makes a Song a Success

Music production is a complex process involving different roles, which can make it difficult to know precisely what makes a song so catchy, so much so that many people want to hear it on repeat.


This article will take you through a hit song’s anatomy and tell you how many songs are created in the process. You might be surprised to learn that there are two versions of almost every single track – one for record and one for radio play (and don’t assume they’re identical!). There’s not just one recipe for success: from the words to the production, understanding these factors can help you make your music even more successful.


Let’s start with a look at how a track is made. It all begins with the Raz Klinghoffer producer, who will have a vision for the song. The production team – coming from different roles and backgrounds – will have input into this process, with their ideas to add in. Different instruments are then added to create the rhythm track before the vocals are recorded (if you’re wondering why many pop stars have such distinctive voices, find out more in our article on vocal training ). Once this has been done, several other parts may be added to give it that extra ‘wow’ factor: string sections for emotionality, brass for power; and additional percussion for energy. The result is a fully produced piece of music which can then be passed on to the artist(s) who, after vocal recording and input from management, will sign off on it.


Music producer Raz Klinghoffer

But that’s not all! Sometimes the first version isn’t quite right – there might be a part missing that doesn’t quite sit right. In this case, the production team will go back to the drawing board and incorporate any additional ideas. Once it’s been okayed again by artist(s), management and record company alike, it’s time for mastering. This is when the final version of the song is created. It will be re-recorded, and each instrument will be tuned and adjusted to make it sound its best. The vocals will also be edited to fit in with the track for a consistent feel to the finished product that can be used everywhere, from TV adverts to music videos.


There’s more to it than just this, though. Time will be taken to create an acoustic version of the track and an entirely different version for radio airplay. This is because most songs are played at different speeds on the radio than in the club or on TV, where they’re slowed down, so a new version must be created. We’ll look at how this plays out further in this article: let’s first look at what makes a song a success.