Music Streaming Services Are Killing Instrumental Intros
A new study reveals that songs are getting shorter to accommodate people's diminishing attention spans, and music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora may be to blame Hubert Léveillé Gauvin, a doctoral student in music theory at The Ohio State University, spent months listening to and analyzing songs that reached the top 10 from 1986 to 2015 and found "a dramatic shift away from long intros" and a "marked increase in tempo," according to a strudy from the school. In the mid-80s, song intros averaged more than 20 seconds. Today?
Artists are taking just 5 seconds, on average, to get to the lyrics. At the same time, the average song tempo has increased by about 8 percent Léveillé Gauvin also found that song titles themselves are shorter than they used to be, often just a single word. The researcher believes that Spotify and Pandora, both of which make it easy to abandon a track and skip to something new, are fueling this shift.
His theory: Artists today are getting straight to the point to grab your attention before you skip to something else. "It's survival-of-the-fittest: Songs that manage to grab and sustain listeners' attention get played and others get skipped," Léveillé Gauvin said in a statement. "
There's always another song. If people can skip so easily and at no cost, you have to do something to grab their attention." These days, he says, artists and producers are more concerned about packing concert venues than creating "cultural products" with their jams. "Your product isn't necessarily your song, it's your personal brand," he said. "We're operating in an attention economy, and attention is scarce and valuable."