The legendary guitarists and former Megadeth member adressed recently a new statistics about music listeners who skip the songs when the guitar solo kicks in.
Marty posted on his Facebook page the following:
OK friends, strap yourselves in, this should be a good one.
So “GUITAR SOLO” is trending in Japan right now. Why, you ask? Its because it has been reported (true or not, who knows) that in Japan it seems that data shows that on music subscription apps, many people are skipping to the next song when the guitar solo comes on. This makes sense and it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true. Here is my theory on why I think this is happening. After you read it, definitely share your thoughts with me in the comments.
First of all, I believe that this data must be referring to the mainstream hit music, not heavy metal bands and rock bands. I’m talking about what the vast majority of people listen to, pop artists who are on the top of the charts,. The journey of an actual hit song from creation to the end user, is incredibly long and a laundry list of professional people are involved. Aside from the artist himself, you have the songwriter(s), lyricist(s), producer, arranger, studio musicians for the demo, studio musicians for the master, label people, recording engineers and technicians, music video creators, directors and tech staff, and more. At this point we still don’t know if the song will even be popular or not, but one thing is for sure there is a lot of money and time being gambled.
For the above reasons, guitar solos have all but vanished in the top levels of the US mainstream.
Other countries too. Luckily for us in Japan, Japanese people are accustomed to having guitar solos in all genres of music in Japan. They are so ingrained in the consciousness of the Japanese listener that many producers, artists and people in the music business may feel that the guitar solo is an important part of the song, a break for the vocalist, and a necessary “sound” of familiarity that is a must for any great song. The problem is, it can sometimes take on an obligatory existence, where as long as there is some kind of distorted guitar solo for 8 bars somewhere in the song, the quota is met and all is well. That just don’t cut it, people! No wonder people skip the guitar solos when they listen. Even I skip them sometimes. I can tell in the first opening phrase whether or not I will give a rat’s behind what the rest of the solo will be like. I bet you can too.
With all of the above listed people and tasks involved in making that hit song, the guitar solo is the first thing that some producers feel they can save time, energy, commitment and money on. “Oh the solo is fine, the player is great, sounds good to me”. This is the problem. In heavy rock, the fans care a lot about nuances of guitar solos and love them, even more than the rest of the song, But in the mainstream pop world, that solo better have just as much care, magic, and reason for being there going for it as the vocal that preceded it does. Imagine any Queen song with some decent random guitar solo coming in directly after Freddie`s performance. Those solos would be skipped for sure. So instead of having a guitar solo in the song just for the sake of familiarity, or because a guitar solo sounds cool (they usually do) it must be there for a deeper reason. In the song creation stage, ideally the solo`s content, performance and even unique magic that fits that one particular song should be committed to and given a lot of thought. As a fan I would wish that, and as a guitarist I always strive to do that.
What do you guys think?