Top 10 Attributes that Make Songs Radio Unfriendly

Note that none of these totally rules a song out of being a hit but they reduce it's chances. Feel free to add any characteristics I missed but please only add objective features not things like a song being good or bad. Also only add something that relates to the song itself not anything like it isn't promoted.

The Top Ten

1 Unusual Melody

Generally makes the song less catchy. More important than the lyrics in general. - Powell

That is probably why you seldom listen to radio hits. To be fair though often I do find weird examples I rarely find rap songs catchy but they are obviously often huge hits. - Powell

I have tried to find a song that violates every single item on this list (that's phsically impossible because of foreign language/no vocals) but I have to be satisfied with Thy Catafalque - Vashegyek that has 8 of the 10 features listed (it has vocals and does not have controversial lyrics, other than that everything here is true for it) - Alkadikce

2 Overly Complex Structure

For example a changing time signature or other things that make it hard for an untrained ear to follow. - Powell

What about no structure at all? - Alkadikce

3 Unconventional Vocals

For example Death Growls. - Powell

4 Heavy Instrumentals

Probably self explanatory not many people have the will to listen to really heavy music. - Powell

5 Lack of Vocals

A lot of people like to sing along to songs or listen for the lyrics which isn't possible here. - Powell

6 Very Long

Tool last year managed to get the first song over 10 minutes to chart on the hot 100. In general hit songs are generally much shorter of course. - Powell

Yes but November Rain is still the longest song to reach the top 10. The previous record was actually David Bowie in 2016 though. - Powell

Normally long songs will have a Radio Edit, in which they are shortened so they can make radio airwaves. - micahisthebest

True but I would think you can only shorten it so much and still have it make sense. - Powell

7 In a Foreign Language

Obviously different around the world but many people are reluctant to listen to music in a language they can't speak. Those that do become hits in a foreign market seem to primarily be gimmicky songs that people don't care about the lyrics.

except Despacito

None of the attributes here completely rule a song out of being a hit. - Powell

8 Lack of a Chorus

Similar to overly complex structure this makes it harder to follow for some people. - Powell

Judging from the amount of repetition I hear on the radio sometimes I get the feeling that those songs don't have VERSES - Alkadikce

9 Controversial Lyrics

Varies overtime and place though. Songs that are completely normal in Sweden might be controversial in US and would be more so in say Iran. - Powell

10 Swearing

I kind of considered this under controversial lyrics. However swearing is not controversial everywhere in Scandinavia it would not be considered not playing a song on the radio because it had such words. - Powell

The Contenders

11 Distorted Instrumental

Ranked lower because this wasn't as big a deal in say the 1970s. - Powell

12 High Tempo
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