'How to Write a Pop Hit in 7 Days': A Sure-Fire Formula for a Chart-Topping Smash in Today's Music Business

Jul 29, 2013 | Updated Sep 28, 2013

Are you a struggling band/singer-songwriter trying to make it in today's music scene?

Have you got what you feel is a unique sound and look that you believe will, "one day," catapult you to the top of the charts? Is one day not coming fast enough? Well then, why waste precious days, weeks, even years of your life cultivating a sound or an image, that, in the end, may never amount to anything? Why not stop all that nonsense and put out a record that, by this time next week, will be a smash with the kids and critics, as well?

"How the heck do I do that," you ask? Well, have no fear my eager, little troubadours. Your uncle David has spent the past several months in his underground lab analyzing hours upon hours of Grammy-winning songs, iTunes playlists, and recent Youtube videos from the likes of Mumford and Sons, Phillip Phillips, Of Monsters and Men, Gavin Degraw, F.U.N., The Lumineers, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Anna Kendrick -- to name just a few-, and has cracked the secret formula for a hit song in today's music biz. And, best of all, he's about to share his findings with you in this easy-to-follow, three-step guide:

Step 1. Drop the bass and/or electric guitar and pick up a banjo

Let's face it, guitars are over. They've been around in one form or another since Jesus was a baby. And that incessant "boom! boom! boom!" of the bass just gives everyone a headache. It's time for something new. The banjo. Pick yourself up one of these crazy-looking, Deliverance-sounding instruments and the girls will take to you like bees to honey. Because, the only people on the planet who know how to play one will be you and Steve Martin. How cool is that?!

Step 2. Ditch everything in your drum set except the kick drum

The bad news: No matter how hard you try, you'll never be Neal Peart. So, do your mom and the rest of us a favor and toss that heap of metal into the trash.
The good news: Even a monkey can stomp on a kick drum pedal! And, remember that "boom! boom! boom!" you lost when you dumped the bass? Now you can get it back in spades using only the kick drum! You're welcome!

Step 3. Fire your lead singer and call up 500 of your closest friends

Why have one whiney vocalist when you can have a chorus of five-hundred whiney voices?! The "gang vocal" is more popular now than it was back in the days of Pope Gregory. Suggestion: If you don't have 500 friends, a Craigslist ad mentioning instant fame, fortune, and a world tour should do the trick.

(Bonus Hint:) Whether you're male or female, you may want to seriously think of doing a duet, ala Diamond and Streisand. According to my calculations, regardless of merit, a single featuring both a boy and girl trading verses in today's music business will bring in at least six times more -- and climb the charts 3x faster, than a boring solo vocal will.

Armed with this invaluable information, the only thing that remains is the melody -- which, unfortunately, you need to come up with on your own; but which, fortunately, is the least important part of the equation.

From here, all that remains is to combine the banjo, kick drum and gang vocal and blast it into cyberspace. If your face isn't on the cover of Rolling Stone by this time next week, I'll refund 100% of your money. No questions asked.

Fine print: This formula expires next Sunday. As, by the end of the month, all artists mentioned above will, no doubt, be has-beens, and another unique artist -- perhaps one like the amazing Kristy Kruger - will be everywhere, and will soon be copied endlessly for their "vintage-yet-new" sound. 'Til then, best of luck!

Next week: How to write a sure-fire Dance hit in five minutes.