The TLP Network

Psycho-Acoustic Connections & Popular Consciousness

by on Aug.18, 2007, under Articles, Geek Out

In a slight departure from the technology driven “Geek Outs”, today I will discuss the concepts of Psychological Imprints. There are two main methods of the psychological imprint, Situational Timing and Repetition. Both are very useful in making a lasting, (aka popular) song. Some things you can control, some things you can’t, but providing some guiding force may help your success.

One of the topics, that I bring up occasionally, is that of getting your songs in a multimedia platform, such as video and interactive media (video games). Some may downplay this, but really, it is probably the most effective way to implement the methods here.

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the Simple Minds song “Don’t You (forget about me)”. This one is a double whammy, because they wrote the song for the soundtrack of “The Breakfast Club”, AND that is probably the most over-played movie in existence.

But, perhaps its not fair to take a song written specifically for a movie. How about a song that wasn’t even in the movie proper, but during the credits? Do you recall the song that starts at the very end of the first Matrix movie? When you hear that song now, do you think of the album it came off of, or the Matrix?

For these mere two examples, I am giving only a basic demonstration of Situational Timing. In this case, we are tying, in our minds, a song with an image or scene. What about the first time you asked that special someone to dance. Do you remember the song? What about your first moshpit? (I am avoiding the trite examples here purposefully)

The point is, that songs get fixed in our minds various ways, and “product placement” is certainly one of them. The other is coincidence. But that leads to the next method. Repetition, repetition, and…rinse, lather, and repeat.

There have probably been songs you have heard and thought, “This sucks”, only to come back a year later loving it because, “it grows on you”. WTF! Why did your mind change? The song didn’t? That is the secret of repetition.

Sixty two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth.
-Aldus Huxley, Brave New World

What I find funny are the people who love the single, go buy the cd. The industry must love those people, because they are the same ones that when the next single comes out say, “I love this song, who is it? I should get their CD”. No lie, I had to tell a (former) friend, “Go to track 4″…

Ever wonder why typical broadcast radio sucks, and why so many people love it?

For the most part, its people who see the simplicity of the system that think radio sucks. Leo mentioned this simplicity back in June. Radio stations play the same 13 songs day after day, 4-5 times a day. Similar stations play the same music, same line up, just different city. Don’t believe me, try tuning into rock stations while driving across the U.S. I can almost guarantee you will hear the same 4 songs repeating constantly.

Quiz Time:

How many of you remember basic stoichiometry from chemistry class? What about the quadratic equation?

Now tell me who’s slogan is “Have it your way”?

Disclosure time, I had trouble coming up with a slogan that most of you would know because I have avoided most advertisements in the traditional mediums by not using them altogether. But you get the point.

There is a reason companies don’t change their slogans, or even catch phrases. Because it sticks with you. Sure they may have different commercials, but they always comeback to “the phrase that pays”. Its the same with your music.

The more you can have it played in various places, the more people will learn to recognize it, and like it. Regardless of whether it is good or bad.

Now the big trick here is, how do you get your music out there to be played? The answer is easy. Give it away.

No not all of it, but you probably have heard me mention Creative Commons. That is one way. The other is to make some contacts in the Film industry. Big secret: They all started as students.

Find film school people and give them your music. For films with a budget, license it. But give them a cd to sample. The world is your oyster, and with a little tabasco, you can eat it up!

I am going to end on a quote from Douglas R. Hofstadter’s book Godel, Escher Bach:

“It is an inherent property of intelligence that it can jump out of the task which it is performing, and survey what it has done; it is always looking for, and often finding, patterns. Now I said that an intelligence can jump out of its task, but that does not mean that it always will. […] suppose person A is watching television when person B comes in the room, and shows displeasure with the situation. Person A may think he understands the problem, and try to remedy it by exiting the present system (that television program), and flipping the channel knob, looking for a better show. Person B may have a more radical concept of what it is to ‘exit the system’–namely to turn the television off!

Of course there are cases where only a rare individual will have the vision to perceive a system which governs many peoples’ lives, a system which had never before even been recognized as a system; then such people often devote their lives to convincing other people that the system really is there, and that it ought to be exited from!”

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