Tuesday April 11, 2017

As Streaming Booms, Songs Are Getting Faster

Creatives already have enough to worry about thanks to corporate interests, but now they have to deal with the effects of technology and how it is killing attention spans. Some suggest that the massive catalogs and immediacy of streaming services is resulting in music that is deliberately condensed to hit the best notes as quickly possible. Vocals, for instance, seem to come in a lot earlier. As someone who only listens to movie scores, which are instrumentals basically immune to commercial bastardization, I can’t say whether this phenomenon is actually true.

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In 1986, it took roughly 23 seconds before the voice began on the average hit song. In 2015, vocals came in after about five seconds, a drop of 78%, [Hubert Leveille Gauvin] found. [He] linked the trend to the rapid rise of Spotify and other streaming sites that give listeners instant access to millions of songs. A 2014 study of Spotify listening habits found that 21% of songs get skipped over in the first five seconds. As an example of the shift, Leveille Gauvin pointed to Starship’s 1987 hit "Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now," which takes 22 seconds for the vocals to begin and more than a minute for the chorus. On the 2015 hit "Sugar" by Maroon 5, Adam Levine gets to the point within seven seconds with the lines, "I’m hurting baby / I’m broken down."