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Why Are Songs About The Same Length?

Posted by - 11:07 AM on 07/11/14
Wired looks at why songs on the radio are all around the same length:
What about now? Since 1990, it seems that the average song length has sort of stabilized around 250 seconds (over 4 minutes). Maybe thatís because humans prefer 4 minute songs. Clearly there is no technological limit to song length anymore, right?
 
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11:31 AM on 07/11/14
#2
11:11
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My own hypothesis is that having large amounts of information at our fingertips has given people shorter attention spans - they'll get bored if it's longer than 4 minutes.
11:32 AM on 07/11/14
#3
Ryan Dennehy
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David Byrne wrote about this in his book and it was really interesting
11:40 AM on 07/11/14
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beachdude42
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Funny, it seems like alt rock radio is even worse... I swear to God I've heard songs that are about 4 minutes get cut down to around 3.
11:40 AM on 07/11/14
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raptorz44
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I would assume the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure has an influence too.
11:40 AM on 07/11/14
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chewbacca110
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It has to do with tempo and most pop music being based around phrases of 4 or 8 measures. It's all math, baby.
11:42 AM on 07/11/14
#7
amorning_ofsleep
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My Swans/Pig Destroyer playlist says otherwise.
12:46 PM on 07/11/14
#8
OldSchoolReason
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Funny, Billy Joel sang about this in the 70's on The Entertainer.

'It was a beautiful song but it ran too long, if you want to have a hit, you gotta make it fit. So they cut it down to 3:05'
12:52 PM on 07/11/14
#9
Swerve City
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"Pop" music is awesome. Verse- catchy chorus- second verse is always ehhh- catchy chorus again with slightly changed lyrics- "the slow pretty part-" ending/chorus = HIT/4 mins.
02:33 PM on 07/11/14
SteveD
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I would assume the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure has an influence too.
I came here to say this. Most of the songs I listen to fall around the 3 minute 30 second mark.

I'm a Pop-Punk/Post-Hardcore kind of guy so it's very formulaic.
04:53 PM on 07/11/14
priceofsilver
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My own hypothesis is that having large amounts of information at our fingertips has given people shorter attention spans - they'll get bored if it's longer than 4 minutes.
Pop songs in the 50s were like 2 1/2 minutes long...
09:34 PM on 07/11/14
Grub
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Blame it on ADD
11:14 PM on 07/11/14
TomAce
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Obama
10:49 AM on 07/12/14
bowbzzz
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My own hypothesis is that having large amounts of information at our fingertips has given people shorter attention spans - they'll get bored if it's longer than 4 minutes.
I'm refuting this argument with the fact that most Beatles songs are like 2 minutes long, and that was before our "ADHD generation"
10:49 AM on 07/12/14
bowbzzz
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It has to do with tempo and most pop music being based around phrases of 4 or 8 measures. It's all math, baby.
bingoooo

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