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 Overly Complex Structure

This and several other reasons explain why half of all Phil Collins-era Genesis songs are more popular than Supper's Ready.

For example, a changing time signature or other complexities that make it hard for an untrained ear to follow.

Genesis' "Supper's Ready" is an awesome song, yet it's obvious why it gets no airplay.

2 Unusual Melody

Generally, an unusual melody makes the song less catchy. More important than the lyrics in general.

3 Unconventional Vocals
4 Very Long

Which song is the most radio friendly? Karn Evil 9 by ELP, Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull, Lizard by King Crimson, or Baby by Justin Bieber?

I think a better question would have been which one doesn't belong? We should all know that.

Last year, Tool managed to get the first song over 10 minutes to chart on the Hot 100. In general, hit songs are usually much shorter.

Normally, long songs will have a Radio Edit, which shortens them so they can be played on the radio.

5 Heavy Instrumentals

In 1973 - Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2 by King Crimson
In 1984 - The Call of Ktulu by Metallica
In 1999 - The Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater
In 2020 - ? probably some post-progressive deathcore jazz fusion electronic song.

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

6 Lack of Vocals

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

7 Lack of a Chorus

Similar to overly complex structures, this makes it harder to follow for some people.

8 In a Foreign Language

Obviously, preferences differ 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 where the lyrics are not the main focus.

9 Swearing

I had previously considered this under controversial lyrics. However, swearing is not controversial everywhere. For example, in Scandinavia it would not be a reason to avoid playing a song on the radio just because it contains such words.

A radio station in Australia called Triple J allows swearing in songs. It's probably more of an adult radio station as opposed to the charts.

10 Controversial Lyrics

Varies over time and place. Songs that are completely normal in Sweden might be controversial in the US and would be more so in say Iran.

The Contenders
11 High Tempo

Especially in the early 2010s, the average tempo of songs was considerably higher.

12 Siren Sounds
13 Distorted Instrumental

Ranked lower because distorted instrumentals weren't as big a deal in the 1970s.

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