Music fans have noticed a growing trend in song lengths in recent years: they have become shorter and shorter. The average song length has decreased over the years, from 15-minute-long Afrobeat songs by legends like Fela Kuti to 2-minute Afropop songs. This trend has sparked discussion among music fans, industry professionals, and artistes themselves. This article will look at the reasons for the trend of shorter song lengths.
Evolution of Music Consumption:
The way people consume music has changed dramatically over the years. People now have access to millions of records thanks to the rise of digital platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. Listeners can create playlists based on their mood, genre preference, and amount of time spent listening. Listeners’ attention spans are shorter in this age of on-demand streaming, and they are more likely to skip songs that do not immediately pique their interest. As a result, artistes and record labels are under pressure to write shorter songs that can capture the listener’s attention and keep them engaged throughout the track’s duration.
Radio airplay has had a significant impact on the song length trend. Radio stations have limited airtime and prefer shorter songs because they can play more music in a shorter amount of time. Furthermore, shorter songs allow radio DJs to insert more advertisements between songs, generating revenue for the station. As a result, record labels and artistes are encouraged to write shorter songs in order to increase their chances of receiving radio airplay.
The music industry has progressed from selling physical albums to generating revenue via digital platforms such as streaming services. Streaming services compensate artistes based on the number of streams received by their songs. Because streaming revenue is proportional to the number of streams, artistes and labels are encouraged to create shorter songs that can be listened to multiple times in a short period of time. This increases their chances of receiving more streams, thereby increasing their revenue.
TikTok and Social Media:
The rise of TikTok and other social media platforms has also contributed to the trend of shorter song lengths. TikTok is a video app that began by allowing users to create and share 15-second videos with music in the background. Although the length of TikTok videos has increased over time, the songs that go viral on TikTok frequently have a memorable hook or beat that can be used in a short video. As a result, artistes and labels are producing shorter songs that have the potential to go viral on TikTok, increasing their visibility and popularity.
The trend of shorter song lengths has been shaped by a variety of factors such as digital music consumption, radio airplay, streaming revenue, and social media. While this trend has alarmed music fans, it has also provided new opportunities for artistes and record labels to experiment with various song structures and styles. The music industry is always changing, and it remains to be seen how this trend will shape music’s future.