Is Music Shrinking?

The cover to Tyler, the Creator’s album, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.

‘It’s eight o’ clock in the morning…’ 

This seven-word phrase is almost immediately recognizable by 13 to 18-year-old internet users around the globe. Constituting the beginning of PinkPantheress’s January pop track entitled “Pain,” this mere sentence has skyrocketed the small artist to fame, gaining prevalence on the meme-infested social media app known as TikTok. 

As it grows in popularity, “Pain” continues to engrave a pop-punk infused beat into the minds of millions of teens. But totaling 1 minute and 38 seconds, the song’s especially short duration leaves its audience hopeful for more. Pausing listeners mid-head bop, such a brief length found throughout PinkPantheress’ discography prompts many to play her tunes over and over— making it no surprise that the song has over 69,000,000 streams to date. 

But why is it that artists like PinkPantheress choose to release such short length tunes? More importantly, why are these quick tracks becoming increasingly popular? 

As time progresses, young adults are beginning to feel the adverse effects of technology, with one of the most notable relating to their ability to focus (or lack thereof). In 2000, the average attention span within teens and young adults was approximately 12 seconds. By 2016, that time had dropped to eight. But this emergence of a shorter attention span has infiltrated other aspects of living, extending beyond individuals and moving onto something bigger: the music industry. 

Have you ever noticed that today’s trending songs conclude quickly? From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to 3 minutes and 30 seconds, proving that music is now being shortened to be more successful and palatable to teens with reduced attention spans. 

To further explore this phenomenon, take a look at the Spotify streaming stats from the shortest and longest songs (excluding interludes and singular tracks composed of multiple songs) on albums by Tyler, the Creator, and Kendrick Lamar– showcasing the stronger performance of shorter tracks.  

Entitled CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, alternative rap artist Tyler, the Creator’s sixth studio album opens with “Sir Baudelaire,” totaling 1 minute and 38 seconds and garnering 20,804,159 streams. The album’s second to last track, entitled “Wilshire,” comes in at a whopping 8 minutes and 35 seconds, receiving a much lesser 15,264,743 streams. 

“Backseat Freestyle,” the third track on rapper Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, boasts 276,273,285 streams, coming in as the album’s shortest track at 3 minutes and 32 seconds. Conversely, “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” takes the title as the album’s longest song. Totaling 12 minutes and 3 seconds, this track enjoys 92,874,894 streams–significantly less than the album’s shortest track. 

All that is to say, music may be shrinking. But regardless of whether you choose to stream endless tracks or embrace quick-paced songs, one thing remains true: a Spotify premium plan would probably be useful. Convenient streaming isn’t free, people.

Categories: Entertainment

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