Spotify rewards short songs and artists adjust

Spotify rewards shorter songs that are offered more often to listeners. Bands and singers are adapting. Here's how the music world will change

When it comes to streaming music, one of the first platforms that pops into mind is Spotify. The service was founded in 2008 and in ten years has reached about 220 million users worldwide. With such a large community, the service is now able to dictate the rules of music. Artists and bands are adapting.

How? Billboard tried to answer this question by analyzing a group of one hundred hit songs that characterized 2018. The analysis conducted by the platform revealed that the hits have an average duration of three and a half minutes. This trend would be determined by the digital evolution, not least because in 2000, songs lasted more than four minutes. Pieces under two minutes went from 1% in 2015 to 6% in 2018. In short, songs are getting shorter. Many are asking: but what does Spotify and, in general, music streaming sites have to do with it?

Why does Spotify dictate the rules of music?

Music is changing, and according to several studies, there is a hand in it from Spotify and other streaming music services. These platforms are the main revenue channel for bands and singers. To take advantage of their potential, you need to understand how they work. Music streaming sites are governed by algorithms that select which songs to send into rotation based on various parameters. One of the trends is to choose short tracks, because advertising (a profitable source of these services) can be played more often in this way.

This determines that on music sites the songs that are heard most often are usually the shortest ones. The Billboard report determined that the preferred length is no more than three and a half minutes. Longer songs are cut off from radio stations and playlists in high rotation. This trend has been discovered by record companies who are gradually adapting to this feature. But the reason related to the progressive shortening of tracks is also another. Artists are also paid based on streams, i.e. song starts. So there's no need for a user to listen to the whole song, just start it. Each play corresponds to a revenue. It is therefore very important to be part of the weekly playlists in order to collect more money.

On YouTube the same rules apply

And this is also true for YouTube: it doesn't matter if you make long videos, because the platform doesn't pay according to the complete visualizations, the important thing is that the user clicks on play and starts the film. Then it doesn't matter if the user watches the whole thing or not. That's why YouTubers' videos aren't super long, that would be unproductive. These are just a few of the rules that online platforms are based on. YouTubers and singers can only adapt to receive millions of views.