It’s tough deciding on what songs to play for a lot of reasons. There’s always going to be somebody in the band that absolutely loves a song. They’ll bring it to practice and say something like “We HAVE to play this song”. More often than not, somebody else in the band will hate the song or be very ho-hum about playing the song.
Another problem I’ve run into with song selection throughout my career is choosing songs that our target audience will love. I’ve created a whole set list of songs that I love, the band loves, and that we play perfectly only to have the audience bored stiff.
So how do you choose guaranteed winners when it comes to selecting songs? One of the ways is to watch the charts for the top selling songs. For instance, you can check the Billboard Top 40 every week. Billboard compiles total sales from all retailers and lists the top songs. So if you pick from these charts, at least you’ll know that millions of people have purchased these songs so there’s a really good chance that you’re going to have people in your audience that are familiar with them.
It’s really important to play songs that people are familiar with. It can be a real struggle to pick current songs and now there’s another great way to pick new music. Just watch the iTunes top selling songs. iTunes is now the number one music retailer in the USA so if you watch the top selling songs there’s a really good chance that a lot of people will know those songs when they come to your shows. It’s a great way to avoid wasting time learning songs that won’t go over with a large audience.
I’ve created an RSS feed to iTunes Top 10 Songs so you can view the top songs right here on Live Musician Central. Just look on the right side of this page to see the current iTunes top 10. If you see a song you want, just click on it and download it.