Pop music is a terribly confusing concept for the uninitiated. The use of the word 'pop', being an abbreviation of 'popular', would suggest that any record which has sold more than, say, 50 copies must be 'pop music'. This is not necessarily the case, as will be made violently obvious should you ever encounter Lemmy from Motorhead and refer to him as a 'pop star'.
- Popular records are not necessarily pop.
- Pop records are not necessarily popular.
As a rule, pop music is music which is less rocky than 'Rock', less danceable than 'Dance', less heavy and metallic than 'Heavy Metal', less easy to listen to than 'Easy Listening', less blue than the 'Blues', less jazzy than 'Jazz', less funky than 'Funk', less jazzy and funky than 'Jazz-Funk', more musical than 'Spoken Word', and less likely to make you slit your wrists than 'Country & Western'.
Anyone wishing to make a pop record which stands a chance of selling more than 8 copies should bear the following points in mind:
Lyrics are important.
Keep them simple, to match your target audience. It is a well-documented fact that songs about love sell more copies than songs about nuclear physics.
Always include a key change some time after the second chorus.
This will fool your audience into thinking the song has changed, while sparing you the inconvenience of having to write more notes.
Above all, remember to be as derivative as possible.
People are suspicious of music they don't know, and would quite happily buy the same record over and over again if people didn't keep making new ones.
The forms of Pop Music are constantly changing. One form will be popular for awhile, then another form will gain popularity at the former's expense; while yet another form will lurk in the background at small nightclubs struggling to survive, perhaps to vanish when the nightclub disappears, only later to emerge as something exciting and new. Music abides by the law of natural selection, as interpreted by music executives and lawyers. Though some wish to embrace and listen to all kinds of music, most people are sane enough to realise that there can be only one 'in crowd' at a time.
The search for better music has gradually changed into something much more civilized: the search for more money. Record companies look for the exact sound that will not only make an impression on the minds of its listeners, young and younger alike, but will also convince them to purchase compact discs, concert tickets, and even articles of clothing advertising the music.
The search for more money has refined the search for good music. Whereas the search for good music originally involved the manipulation of rhythm, harmony, and melody, most new music has dispensed with at least one of the three.