1 If a part is substandard, then layer it lots and lots and lots of times. The quickest way to make sure people don’t notice a putrid part is to layer it so many times it turns into a kind of sludge that’s so repellent, people don’t listen to it at all. Not listening = not knowing it’s bad. Problem solved!
2 Presets rule. Got keyboards? Use presets! Even if your listeners don’t specifically remember hearing those sounds in commercials about erectile dysfunction and as bumper music for Nancy Grace, the familiarity will give them a warm, fuzzy feeling as it triggers those memories. Or then again, maybe not. Hmmm . . . on second thought, forget it. Don’t use presets. Never mind.
3 Record at 192kHz. Hardcore gear geeks say it doesn’t make a difference. Hogwash! If ad copy written by some marketing dude who can’t tell the difference between Britney and Beethoven says it’s better, well duh . . . then obviously, it’s better.
4 Snap all your music to the beat. That’s why sooo many people like to turn on a metronome and just listen to it for hours on end: They love things that are boring and predictable. Don’t believe me? Well, isn’t American Idol in like its 56th season or something?
5 Record everything using tubes. Once a radio station called me and said, “We were going to play your CD, but didn’t you use a solid-state preamp on the vocal mic? I tearfully confessed that yes, I had. They slammed down the phone, took the song out of rotation, it never became a hit, my tour tanked, Oprah canceled my appearance, and I ended up as Executive Editor at a magazine. You’ve been warned.