Why all pop music sounds the same.

Ever been listening to the radio to a new pop song and thought ‘This sounds familiar’? Well, I hate to break it to you but you’re probably right. There are many aspects that contribute to a lot of modern pop music sounding extremely similar and today I am going to be explaining a few.

Firstly let’s talk about what makes a lot of mainstream pop songs sound the same.

Chords: A lot of the songs you will hear on the radio are made up of 4 simple chords, these are E, B, C#mi and A. When you hear these over and over again your brain becomes familiar with it, therefore, drawing you to towards them in the future.

writers/producers: if you look on the Wikipedia pages for the songs in the chart you will be sure to recognise that a lot of the credited songwriter’s crossover. Songwriter and producer Max Martin is pretty popular as well as the rise of Ed Sheeran’s featuring as a writer.

Millennial Whoop: Nicely named by musician Patrick Metzger, The Millennial Whoop is a melodic sequence of notes that alternate between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, before quickly returning to the fifth note. The use of this vocal technique has most likely always been around however it has become extensively popular over the last 20 years or so. The combination both the chords and the millennial whoop makes for a very distinctive and recognisable sound. Below is a millennial whoop compilation video, have a listen below.

So now you know how a lot of pop songs sound the same, let’s talk about why record labels do it.

You may not notice it but your brain is naturally drawn to things that are familiar to you, meaning you are likely to be drawn to music that is similar to what you know best. Record labels know this, so by keeping certain aspects the same from song to song you become familiar.

Now the formula has been found for the perfect hit, record labels constantly churn out track after track that they know are going to have chart success.This results in a lot less risk-taking which is actually pretty sad because it means that artists trying to break into the pop scene aren’t encouraged to have any individuality.

So what do you think of all this, did you even notice? Let me know by answering in the poll below!

2 thoughts on “Why all pop music sounds the same.

  1. There are plenty of artists that step out of the comfort zone… they don’t have the money behind them that the big names do. They have smaller labels, they maybe have one or two hits, they are putting out challenging art. The problem is most people are lazy listeners. Pop artists are backed by big money and marketing because they know most people will respond to what is right in front of them and not bother seeking out better options. It’s not run by artists. It’s run by business people and marketing teams. It’s not run by soul. It’s run by money.
    How do we fix that? Vote with our dollars. Buy good music, share good music, spread the word about good artists, go to see good artists, support smaller labels that are putting out good music, support independant radio stations that promote good artists, encourage others to do the same.

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