Understanding the Fadeout and Its History
If you’re a fan of Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) or Hot Adult Contemporary (Hot AC) you probably notice that certain songs have fadeouts instead of cold endings. In the world of popular music, there are two reasons producers choose to end songs this way.
First: they are making the songs “radio friendly.” The same tune with the fade ending may also have an eight bar (or more) instrumental intro. And often, that intro contains an instrumental “hook” that appears throughout the song.
With an instrumental intro, the DJ can talk over and provide artist information, local weather, request line number, etc. Disk jockeys love nothing more than hitting the “post” (vocal).
The fade ending allows the DJ to “back sell” the song as the music fades or drop in a radio ID jingle or pre-produced station ID sweeper to set up the next song. And the record producer uses that fade ending to reinforce the song’s hook over and over again.
Unless you as the music editor/supervisor are featuring the CSS Music song under a scene sans dialog, chances of using a fade ending are pretty remote. In fact, the current trend in reality television is to use button endings from one track into the next! We figure that if you want to have a fade ending, you can easily do it yourself.
CSS Music also recommends to its composers to write hard, cold endings AND to keep the tune in the same key. Sometimes a track just wants to modulate up, but we like for the first part of track to key match the button ending.
We hope you enjoyed a little bit of “inside radio.” You’ll probably be more aware now when your teen daughter insists on taking over the radio next time you’re driving to her dance class. J