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  • Are songs getting shorter?

    I thought we had a topic somewhere on track length changes, but can't find it, anyway I've noticed a pattern lately for more and more songs coming in nearer to the 2 minute mark rather than 3-4. I was wondering what the reason for this is, perhaps it's to register that stream before people get the chance to skip the song?
    1 Victoria|2 Destiny |3 Vasil |4 Little Big|5 The Mamas |

  • #2
    It's to get more stream numbers. You can listen to a 2.5 min song 8 times in 20 minutes, something you can only do 5 times for a song of 4 minute length.
    I have received many gifts from God,
    but this is the first time I have ever received a gift from a goddess
    .

    Don McLean on Madonna's version of American Pie

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    • #3
      It seems like attention spans are all-around shorter as well. I've heard songs longer than 3 minutes referred to as "long"
      The sands of time fade into dark
      Feel your pulse it's groove o'clock
      A message to madness
      Feel music that's realness

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      • #4
        Wasn't it common back in the 50s and 60s for songs in general to be 3 minutes or shorter?

        Streaming has definitely encouraged shorter songs which must be down to short attention spans with many teenagers i'd guess. Though when you consider what's popular these days, its no wonder they have short attention spans (short enough to forget how the song goes once its finished ).

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        • #5
          ^ Yes, back in the 50s and 60s songs were also short.

          Nowadays it is probably because a stream only counts if you've played at least half of the song. If someone skips the song, you've got more chance they have come to half the song if it is short.
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          • #6
            ^ Yes, back in the 50s and 60s songs were also short.

            Nowadays it is probably because a stream only counts if you've played at least half of the song. If someone skips the song, you've got more chance they have come to half the song if it is short.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by RayRay View Post
              ^ Yes, back in the 50s and 60s songs were also short.
              Yes, but that was essentially down to the limitations of the sound carrier(s) at the time.
              The "modern" ( ) microgroove vinyl 45's allowed sound to be mastered up to approx. 4 1/2 minutes per side but usually they were cut around the 3 minute mark to allow a better fade in and fade out.
              trebor's - 2016 in Country Music
              trebor's - 2015 in Country Music

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              • #8
                Can't that make a song the length that it feels right organically when creating it? Rather than specifically making it to benefit streaming? Though I guess this is the music industry I'm talking about...
                1 Victoria|2 Destiny |3 Vasil |4 Little Big|5 The Mamas |

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                • #9
                  Yes and I think that's sad.
                  I am not trying to seduce you... Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SholasBoy View Post
                    Can't that make a song the length that it feels right organically when creating it? Rather than specifically making it to benefit streaming? Though I guess this is the music industry I'm talking about...
                    I think it depends purely on the song. The new single from Harry Styles is just under 3 minutes long and for me personally it could've done with an extra chorus before the final slower chorus as the song ends. Perfect illusion was also about 3 minutes long and i always thought the final result sounded rushed - with an extra 30 seconds it could've built up so much better.

                    However, with a song like Old town road i'd say the length is perfect for that type of track.

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                    • #11
                      Some actually make short songs for streaming but others are just short.
                      Taylor Swift - Colbie Caillat - Carrie Underwood - Miranda Lambert

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Erotica View Post
                        Yes and I think that's sad.
                        "Is Stalin on your shoulder..."
                        https://soundcloud.com/jaspervanbeveren-1/jasper-russia
                        "..as he was with his composers?"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Erotica View Post
                          Yes and I think that's sad.
                          Why? It depends on the song IMO.
                          Some songs go on and on forever, repeating the chorus over and over again, without adding something new. Or some have an extremely long instrumental break. Some of those songs would benefit from an edited version. Longer is not always better.
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                          • #14
                            It used to be quite rare for a song to be under 3 and a half minutes, I remember if I bought a single in the “olden days” and it lasted 3 minutes or less I felt cheated!

                            It’s a fact that songs are being shortened purposely for Spotify. Ironically, there are more songwriters involved in most songs than there has been in decades.

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                            • #15
                              It's definitely shortening a song for Spotify profits, but I also think as a society we're getting a lowered attention span with social media. My son doesn't even play an entire song half the time. He just listens to the part he thinks is fire and then moves on to something else. Or he'll lose interest 90 seconds in.

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                              • #16
                                There are several recent cases when I feel like the song would've profitted significantly by an additional chorus or a c-part. I have to say that I'm not really a fan of the 'chorus-verse1-chorus-verse2-chorus' -structure because those songs usually feel incomplete to me. My personal song writing results in songs that usually last for 4 to 5 minutes, but a good song doesn't necessarily have to be long and a bad song isn't necessarily short. 'Wannabe' by the Spice Girls lasts 2 minutes 52 seconds and includes everything a good pop song needs - it's without a doubt a 10/10 for me. More recent examples, I was a bit uncertain when I ordered Jonas Brothers' new album due to the short length of the songs (no song lasts longer than 4 minutes and 5 songs are shorter than 3 minutes), but they are neither rushed nor messy but spot on focused - and that's totally fine for a pop record. Jake Bugg's debut album also includes many songs with a length of less than 3 minutes, and the album flows well for me ;) .
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                                • #17
                                  For some reason I totally lose interest whenever I see a song that is below 3:00 for any artist I like to listen to. I don't know, I feel like they are unbothered and disrespectful lol.
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by NoAngels View Post
                                    For some reason I totally lose interest whenever I see a song that is below 3:00 for any artist I like to listen to. I don't know, I feel like they are unbothered and disrespectful lol.
                                    I feel the other way round. When I see songs are over 6 minutes long, I always wonder: "Do they really think they can just sing the chorus over and over and we won't get bored?!"
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by RayRay View Post
                                      I feel the other way round. When I see songs are over 6 minutes long, I always wonder: "Do they really think they can just sing the chorus over and over and we won't get bored?!"
                                      Some amazing epic songs that I know can last about 20 minutes and there's nothing repetitive about them. It's a misconception that long songs just repeat a verse/chorus pattern. It's all about storytelling through music without a specific time formula just so radio will play it.

                                      Why wouldn't you sit and settle for a nice long song the way you'd do when watching a movie?
                                      I listen to these songs as movies. There's a beginning middle and end and it feels like an adventure getting through them.


                                      "Is Stalin on your shoulder..."
                                      https://soundcloud.com/jaspervanbeveren-1/jasper-russia
                                      "..as he was with his composers?"

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                                      • #20
                                        The longest song on my playlist is probably Celine Dion's It's All Coming Back To Me Now (7:36). It's one of the few songs that stays epic till the end despite being that long.
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                                        • #21
                                          Originally posted by RayRay View Post
                                          I feel the other way round. When I see songs are over 6 minutes long, I always wonder: "Do they really think they can just sing the chorus over and over and we won't get bored?!"
                                          This just shows you have a very narrow view of what a song can sound like. I guess it's because you probably only listen to Pop music. But there are songs without choruses you know..
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                                          • #22
                                            Originally posted by DnBLover View Post
                                            This just shows you have a very narrow view of what a song can sound like. I guess it's because you probably only listen to Pop music. But there are songs without choruses you know..
                                            Who has the narrow view here? You claim you know I only listen to pop music. My playlist has over 3000 songs. Trust me, they're not all pop songs.
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                                            • #23
                                              I wrote probably... And in 3000 songs you think that a 6 min+ song is the artist singing the chorus over and over again?
                                              I am the maniac, I am the ghoul
                                              I'm in the shadows in the corners of my room

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                                              • #24
                                                Originally posted by DnBLover View Post
                                                I wrote probably... And in 3000 songs you think that a 6 min+ song is the artist singing the chorus over and over again?
                                                Of course not always. But as you may not know, lots of album tracks have long chorus endings.
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                                                • #25
                                                  Originally posted by DnBLover View Post
                                                  This just shows you have a very narrow view of what a song can sound like. I guess it's because you probably only listen to Pop music. But there are songs without choruses you know..
                                                  LOL! How is he narrow minded? Of course, there is a repeated structure in songs, it's not necessarily the chorus as well.

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