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Beginnings matter a lot

During the 1980s, the average chart-topping song had 21 seconds of introductory instrumentals before the vocals kicked in.

As streaming services took the place of physical music, the music industry realized that a big, catchy lyrical hook was important to grab the attention of streaming listeners. so the time devoted to instrumental introduction has declined significantly among the top-charting songs, down to 12 seconds for songs topping the charts today.

That’s a 42% decrease from music being written and performed a generation ago.

As I’ve argued many times, beginnings are important.

In storytelling, speeches, lesson plans, and even marketing and sales decks.

Apparently, music, too.

Beginnings are important. They are the signal to our audience that we have something important to say, that we know what we are doing, and that the time you are about to commit to us will be well spent.

Beginnings are your opportunity to grab the attention of an audience or lose it forever.

Beginnings are your chance to create excitement and wonder in the minds of your audience or bore them to tears.

Focus on the first thing you write, say, or sing. Spend time making the absolute best decision about those first few things you are going to express. Never forget their importance to everything that will come after.

You’ll live or die by those first words.