Recently, Billboard released an article about how the average length of songs in the Top 10 went from 3:49 to 3:42 from 2016 to 2017, highlighted by Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” becoming the shortest song in the Top 10 since 1975 at 2:04.
Seven seconds may not seem like a big deal, but it keeps up with a noticeable trend that music seems to be getting shorter today.
Another popular example was XXXTentacion’s debut album, 17, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 with a tracklist of 11 songs that only came out to 22 minutes.
And while it has been most relevant in Hip Hop, which is also partly because it’s now the most popular genre in the country, there are even other genres who seem to be following along with this trend, with Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” and Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still,” two other top 10 songs last year, both under 2:45.
Billboard isn’t the only publication that’s recognized the trend.
NME released an article earlier last year mentioning how the average #1 song from the complete history of the Hot 100 is about 3.8 minutes long, but since 2009, the length of the songs has been steadily going down and is now at 3.5 minutes long.
There was even a study by an Ohio State student about how the emergence of streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music, has made songs become shorter by reducing the intro, which historically posited around 23 seconds for the average Top 10 song back in 1986 before a vocal presence, to around five seconds back in 2015.
One of the ideas behind that student is that “it makes sense that if the environment is so competitive, artists would want to try to grab your attention as quickly as possible.”
Other reasons, which fall back on that point, is the fact that not only does streaming make it possible to skip songs fairly easily by just pressing skip and going on to next song, but technology has increasingly reduced most people attention spans in general.
A writer from Psychology Today even mentioned how he “…found myself getting bored with songs quickly and compulsively looking for something more engaging. Oftentimes on a run, I could easily skip through the beginning of 10 songs in rapid succession if the intro didn’t grab me.”
Personally, I’ve noticed how songs have gotten shorter especially with the newer age artists like XXX, Lil Pump, and most of the other Florida rappers, especially, seeming to never make a song that hits three minutes long.
I definitely don’t think that it’s a bad thing.
When I tend to listen to music, I generally look to see whether I like a song somewhere between the first 10-30 seconds, so when artists are getting to the point quicker, it makes it easier to decide whether I want to continue listening to it or not.
Also, sometimes a shorter song could be better because maybe the artist just doesn’t have anything else left to say, and an extra verse could sound forced.
How do you guys feel about the fact that songs are getting shorter?
Let us know in the comments below!