Opinion: Does Song Length Matter?
For the past couple years, song length has been getting shorter and shorter. In fact, “the average song length on the Billboard Hot 100 chart is now 20 seconds shorter than it was five years ago, clocking in at three minutes, 30 seconds.” (Fortune) Why is this you might ask? Could we attribute this to the TikTok’s of the world? Overall human attention spans? There’s a number of factors that could attribute to the decline in song length but in our opinion, streaming services pay on per-play payout structure is the real driving force for shorter song length
On average, to be considered a stream, a song has to be listened to a minimum of 30 seconds. To paint you a picture, if the length of a song was one minute, the artist and songwriters payout would be exactly the same as if a song was four minutes. Additionally, the chances of that song being repeated is far more likely than a song that lasts 4 minutes, hence the artist and songwriters will receive greater payouts. Now, to you as an artist, what seems like the financially responsible thing to do? Make a shorter song, correct. But on the flip side, you’ll most likely be jeopardizing the creative process and musical vision in order to accomplish the shorter song.
Either way, whichever side of the ~time~table you choose, it’s up to you and your team to efficiently market the song to your target audience. Certainly, social media has had a major effect on the streaming industry and has changed the game in terms of song discovery. Being able to catch your audience’s eye, much less ear nowadays is a tough task with all the noise around. It’s important to note that when you’re putting a decent budget behind song releases, it’s important to use the strongest part of songs paired with engaging visuals in order to capture your audience's attention quickly and prevent them from swiping to the next piece of content.
In summary, there is no right or wrong answer to what the length of your song should be. At the end of the day, people will enjoy great songs no matter the length they are but getting the song in front of them is something that we at L1NEUP DIGITAL specialize in and can help with.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to help with your next release!