I read yet another so-called entertainment thinkpiece mourning the passing of the ‘great epic song intro‘.
The story goes that no pop songs have intros any more. Everyone starts off by singing rather than instrumental crashing-cum-noodling. With the listener all the poorer for it.
‘Stats’ even trot out to ‘prove’ this sad demise. The 80s (surely a pinnacle) averaged 20secs per hit intro. Today we seem down to just a mere five. Then the modals. 12 of 2017’s UK Number One singles so far have intros of just one second. One Second.
Streaming gets the blame. Allowing those pesky teens to quickly flick to a real fix for their absent attention span tolerance on anything not 100 percent on their wavelength.
Here, a doctoral student, no less, gets wheeled out to nail why vocals are instant. In the context of studying 303 American pop hits where (I’m not making this figure up) ‘intro lengths dropped by 78% between 1986 and 2015’;
“The voice is one of the most attention-grabbing things there is in music.
It’s survival of the fittest – songs that manage to grab and sustain listeners’ attention get played and others get skipped. There’s always another song.
If people can skip so easily and at no cost, you have to do something to grab their attention.”
One particular loon journalist cites the driver of “immediate gratification”. Yet does not allude to what makes up said sought pleasure.
Is it a carbon copy track to the last one? An appreciably different sound? Or a case of ‘don’t bore us, get to the chorus’?
This kind of analysis is flawed. Over the past two years we’ve been subjected to similar, relating to fully-instrumental tracks, non-English vocals and quasi-acapella songs all being the new future.
I recall a documentary on this very topic. Many years ago. Would you believe it, in a decade that ‘swung’, a four-piece boy band from England’s North West enjoyed yet another worldwide smash in Penny Lane. A song deliberately recorded with no intro, to get straight into the song itself, no messing. Fifty years on, plus ça change?
Leaving the mysteries of pop chart success aside, is the exact same principle having an effect on solution selling pitches?
Is what you think of as your repeated four bars of a killer guitar lick up front actually allowing the prospect’s mind to drift elsewhere?
Should you ditch said ostinato and begin with your vocal hook?
If so, what must this entail?
If you treated a kind of “elevator pitch” like a hit song, then what would your chorus be which starts off proceedings?
Why you get out of bed á la Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle?
Your “3-word mantra” giving a shortest of possible sentence about what you do that doesn’t use traditional, tired feature-based or transactional labels?
Pavlovian recitation of the problem you uniquely resolve for your deliriously happy-now clients, perhaps even with a bit of the Heath Brothers Made To Stick mystery setting to tantalise a tad?
There’s plenty of choice to help set you apart. Whilst you tap in to the supposed contemporary need to instantly grab attention. By which we mean you want the prospect to trigger a genuine conversation with you.
I’m not a big Beatles fan, but as I mentioned the McCartney autobiog-tune, here it is, in all its no-intro resplendence;