Why You Should Make More Short Songs

Since the 1990s, the average song length has been going down, settling at about 3:15 today, according to The Washington Post. And it may continue to decrease because “social media is nudging song lengths downward.”

In the insightful article titled “Why You Should Make More Short Songs” by Caleb J. Murphy, published on February 19, 2024, on Digital Music News, the focus is on the burgeoning trend of crafting shorter musical pieces. The piece begins by liberating musicians with the affirmation that creative freedom reigns supreme, yet it delves into the practical and artistic merits of embracing brevity in songwriting.

Defining “Short Songs” The article sets the parameters for what constitutes a “short song” – specifically, tunes ranging from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. This definition is not arbitrary; it aligns with Spotify’s minimum streaming length for monetization and sits comfortably below the average song length, which has been on a decline since the 1990s and now hovers around 3 minutes and 15 seconds. The influence of social media on shrinking attention spans is highlighted as a significant factor nudging song lengths downwards.

The Creative Dilemma Murphy touches on a common creative conundrum faced by songwriters: distinguishing between a song that’s stuck in development and one that’s succinctly complete. He challenges the conventional structure of a song, suggesting that not all pieces need adhere to the traditional verse-chorus-bridge format. This perspective encourages songwriters to reconsider the essence of their work and embrace the possibility that brevity might just be a form of completion.

The Pros and Cons The article thoughtfully weighs the advantages and disadvantages of short songs. On the downside, shorter tracks offer less room for storytelling and musical development, potentially limiting the depth and dynamism of the experience. However, the benefits seem to outweigh these concerns, with short songs potentially leading to more creative fulfillment, increased replay value, better alignment with contemporary attention spans, and enhanced memorability.

Success Stories Murphy doesn’t just theorize about the potential of short songs; he cites examples of artists who have found success with this approach across various genres, from indie and rap to grindcore and beyond. These artists demonstrate that short songs can resonate deeply with audiences and stand the test of time.

Timeless Short Classics The article concludes with a nod to several classic short songs that have left an indelible mark on the music landscape, proving that length does not dictate a song’s impact or enduring appeal.

Takeaway The overarching message of Murphy’s piece is an encouragement for artists to experiment with short songs as a means of creative expression. He posits that focusing on the emotional resonance of a piece rather than its duration can lead to meaningful and memorable music, urging musicians to prioritize feeling over form.

This exploration of short songs not only reflects a shift in listening habits but also offers a fresh perspective on songwriting as a craft, challenging artists to distil their expressions into more concentrated, impactful forms.

Source: Why You Should Make More Short Songs

Previous Post
how to write songs faster
Songwriting Process

How to Write Songs Faster: 7 Tips for Better Writing

Next Post
studio, songwriting, music

Songwriting Glossary – Song Chops

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *